18 Jul Ofer Eitan Convey: Remaining A Niche Provider Organization Requires New Market…
One of the big questions right now for the executive teams of smaller specialty provider organizations is how to remain financially viable. Prior to the pandemic crisis, the payer preference for “integrated care” and increasing price competition challenged the viability of smaller organizations. Then came the current crisis, adding to the financial sustainability challenges.
For most specialty provider organizations, there are two paths to sustainability. One is to find a “fit” in the integrated delivery systems in their geography by adding primary care, by strategically merging or collaborating with complementary provider organizations, and/or by developing referral relationships and technology tools to participate in integrated care delivery systems. The other is to find a sustainable market niche—a high value service for a specific group of consumers. But to generate enough revenue for that niche service requires a marketing-oriented executive team and a significant investment in marketing, particularly online marketing. That online marketing expertise was the focus of the recent web briefing, Is Your Web Site Designed To Get Referrals?, by my colleague and OPEN MINDS Vice President, David Forbes.
In his presentation, Mr. Forbes introduced the concept of a “unique selling proposition” (USP)—the factor that differentiates a service from the customer perspective and from all other competitive offerings in the market. How to think about it? I ask management teams to answer the following questions: Why would a family go out of their way to pay cash for your service? Or why would a health plan develop an out-of-network contract for your service? How is your service unique? What niche does it fill?
A clear USP is the first step in creating a sustainability strategy for a specialty provider organization and it is the cornerstone of the marketing plan. But these market niches and their USPs are hard to maintain for two reasons. On the service side, fending off competitive services and maintaining competitive advantage takes work. Your service needs to be “the best” of its type that customers can buy, which requires constant service line improvements.
The other side of maintaining a market niche is marketing. Even the best service cannot be financially sustainable without great marketing. If consumers and referral sources don’t know about the service, the revenue won’t follow. Marketing for awareness and referral generation takes a good tactical plan, expert implementation, and funding. And your web site is a central tactic to almost every marketing plan.
So, how does your web site stack up? There are two elements to assessing your web site—design and content. For design, start with a clear purpose and go with a clean design. Ensure that visitors to the site can easily scan the information and know what to do next. A good visual hierarchy demands that the elements on your web site are arranged in order of importance.
The content should be engaging, relevant, and appropriate for the audience. Keep it clear and concise and be sure to include consumer testimonials as well as all the basics like contact information and services available. If you can offer online appointment scheduling, even better. Your site’s content also must be actionable and geared to search engine optimization (SEO)—which means that people doing Google searches for the relevant terms should be able to find your organization first. And think multimedia—your site is not a brochure, as Mr. Forbes noted. Videos, graphics, and podcasts are engaging formats to consider adding.
As we look to a market with more competition for consumers in the post-pandemic health care landscape (see The Amazons Of Health Care, Fire Up Your Hybrid For The Recovery Race, and Ready For The Digital Health Revolution? Note: It’s Not Just Telehealth), expertise with marketing in general and web site design in particular will be critical for referrals and financial success.
For more on online marketing and referral generation, check out these resources from The OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
For assistance with assessing your web site, our Elite-level members can get a one-hour QuickConsult with one of the OPEN MINDS senior advisors (call 855-559-6827 to schedule). And for a deeper dive on web site optimization, join OPEN MINDS Executive Vice President Rob Hickernell on September 3 at 1:00 p.m. EDT for his webinar, Can Consumers & Referral Sources Find You? Best Practice Search Engine Optimization.