One of the most important aspects of marketing urgent care services to specific demographic groups is to make sure the target population feels valued.
It’s always going to be easiest to reach a group that someone on staff already has a connection with, so explore opportunities through your employees’ affiliations with churches, religious organizations, and ethnic groups. Many in these specific demographic groups have frequent urgent care needs, such as:
- Faith-based nonprofits in the area may provide job assistance programs, which could include new immigrants or those temporarily uninsured who could benefit from urgent care services.
- Travel medicine could be used by church groups doing mission trips. Also, depending on the congregation, there may be immigrants or U.S.-born children of immigrants who need vaccinations to return to a native country or complete a residency physical.
- Religious-affiliated school students and staff could use urgent care for sports or other physicals, possibly travel medicine, and occupational medicine services.
Grassroots outreach to churches and other organizations can pay dividends. You should start by exploring opportunities within a 10-12 minute zone of the urgent care center, keeping in mind the positioning of competition and traffic. Locate targets by driving this area and looking in conventional outlets (Google, Yellow Pages, and the local chamber of commerce).
Establish a point of contact in the church or organization—this could be the pastor, a human resources director, a school nurse, or activities coordinator—and set up a face-to-face meeting to discuss services. Ask about programs they run, age and demographics of the church or organization, mission work, language or ethnic considerations, and any other special health considerations.
Then—possibly the most important part—follow up with your contact person after a set period of time, usually around 30 days, to continue building the relationship.
Consider taking extra steps to reach ethnic groups, which are growing rapidly across the U.S. and have historically had poorer access to healthcare. Language barriers in healthcare are associated with decreases in quality care and safety, according to research from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
You can build a bridge to many of these demographic groups by educating them on the on-demand and cash-pay services offered in urgent care. You also need to be prepared—with language services, extended hours, and possibly extra cash-pay options—to serve this population.
A good first step when targeting a group is to determine the “level of ethnicity,” which refers to the degree to which they identify with a native ethnicity through traditions, language, and even healthcare practices. Some groups can be reached through more mainstream marketing techniques, but for some you should consider the “Three I’s” approach.
- Identify Group: Which communities does the group comprise?
- Identify Values: Consider how the values of the group’s cultural heritage shape their current views of the world and medical care.
- Identify Personal Marketing Strategies: Develop a personalized approach to match the values and beliefs of the community you will address. There is no one-size-fits-all approach in this sector.
Grassroots marketing to any of these groups can be achieved through community event sponsorship, literature drops in facilities frequented by this population, and clinic referrals from building a relationship with area social service agencies.
Check back all this month for marketing tips and strategies we’re offering for Urgent Care Awareness Month. And send any specific marketing questions or topics you’d like to see addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.