Want to Grow Your Business? Start with Branding

If you don’t have a brand for your medical business, you’re already behind the competition. Here’s how to get started. 

6 min read

The nature of today’s online world means that medical businesses aren’t just being judged against each other, they’re being held up to companies, influencers, and other professionals from an array of industries. In a data-saturated world, your lab or radiology center is fighting for attention next to cute cats and delicious new recipes. 

That’s important to know because your online reputation matters more than ever. One study found that more than 70% of consumers read online reviews when considering a new doctor. And that doesn’t factor in the number of consumers who look to a practice’s website — or even social media sites — before booking. 

Medical businesses, especially labs and radiology centers, may be unaccustomed to marketing themselves. After all, for years, getting direct referrals was enough. Now, the landscape is more competitive. Branding can take your business to the next level in terms of acquiring new patients and referrals, building loyalty, and even attracting new employees.

Figure out what you do well and solidify your mission

Look through current reviews from patients and employees with a critical eye. What do they say you do well? What could be improved? If a reviewer seems particularly vengeful, take that information with a grain of salt. But remain open minded. Nobody likes getting negative feedback, but it’s only by discovering pain points that you can begin to make improvements.

If you already have a tagline or mission statement, reexamine it. Are there a few words that describe your value to patients? Those can help you define your brand as you move forward. Kaiser Permanente, for example, rebranded several years ago with a new website, logo, social media strategy, and other digital assets. “The idea was to bring greater clarity about what we represent,” a representative told Medical, Marketing & Media. Kaiser wanted to focus on patient care, compassion, dignity, respect, and humanity. That’s conveyed through things as simple as their choice of blue as their brand color, a color which projects reliability and professionalism in a shade which exudes ease and peacefulness.

The key is authenticity. Perhaps you want to be a partner in patients’ health and, therefore, want to deliver a sense of security and care. Maybe you’re hoping to better engage patients and make the medical system seem friendly, rather than intimidating. Remember: Your business has to live the values that become part of your branding — otherwise, there will be a noticeable dissonance and those attracted to your messaging may get turned off.

Hire help

Even if you enjoy writing or get a lot of likes on your dog’s Instagram page, outsource marketing if you have the resources to do so.

Not only is your time valuable, but marketing is a distinct skillset. Hire or contract an individual or team who has the experience to form your brand identity, generate content, and review the data so they can iterate on successes and learn from failures. Consider needs for copywriting, design, and monitoring the success of these efforts. And remember: Marketing is an iterative process, and growth doesn’t happen overnight.

Identify where you can project your brand

Look beyond traditional marketing. Television, radio, newspaper, and billboard ads likely won’t reach your target audience. 

It may seem obvious, but your business needs a website — and it can’t look like it was designed in 2005. Websites don’t need to be fancy, but they do need to be clean, project your image, and convey necessary information to consumers. 

Marketing on social media is a must in the digital age. This is where consumers often get their first impression of what your business does and how they’ll be treated as a patient. The pharmaceutical company Novartis, for example, maintains an Instagram with a robust presence. They project an image to both potential employees and consumers, posting vivid, hi-def photographs and videos which relate back to their mission. That includes patient stories, employee career journeys, and material about campaigns.

Hologic, on the other hand, creates technology and testing tools focused around women’s health. Their website focuses on helpful product information for the testing centers and providers that might use their products. Hologic’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, on the other hand, is all about the consumer. Their social channels encourage a mix of serious as well as fun and friendly conversation around women’s health, with heartfelt patient stories as well as media mentions and light-hearted “boob tips.”

Boosting paid ads can be as thrifty or as costly as you like, with adjustments made as you go depending on how your marketing material is received, and can target specific audiences. Reviews are also huge on platforms like Yelp and Google; if patients are happy with their experience, encourage them to write a review. 

Optimize services like LabFinder

Yes, LabFinder is an online scheduling tool for labs and radiology centers. However, our white-label platform also allows labs and radiology centers to create robust profile pages which accumulate patient reviews. What’s more, your business can be discovered by people using the platform who weren’t even referred directly to you. Directories like LabFinder’s can be a wonderful tool for boosting your brand — no huge marketing lift necessary.

Be consistent

Be consistent in the voice and tone of your social media posts. Unify brand colors and fonts, for example, and identify how you’ll communicate to different audiences. 

But brand also goes beyond advertising. Brand values should encompass every touch point and be consistent across that experience. That includes patient emails, appointment reminders, interactions with staff, and follow ups. Kaiser Permanente, for example, humanizes their services with their email system, which lets patients directly message providers through the Kaiser portal. This makes the interactions feel more personal, yet it’s also digitally secure and HIPAA compliant. If your brand is authentic, this should come naturally, but can be emphasized and refined over time.

Continue to solicit reviews and feedback

Branding is a journey, not a destination. Data about email opens and social media interactions can help you figure out where you’re doing well in terms of digital branding. For in-person aspects of branding—such as experiences with call centers, waiting rooms, and other aspects of patient experience—solicit feedback. Giving feedback can be onerous, so help patients feel more engaged in the process. Make the survey process as brief as possible and help build it into the natural flow of your services. Inquire for reviews in follow-up emails, at the end of phone calls, or on social media, for example. And be sure to ask new patients or consumers how they discovered you, which can surface what’s working about your marketing methods.

Once you get that information, utilize it. Making good on the information you gather goes a long way. Patients will respond well when they see that you’ve absorbed their feedback and are working to improve your business.