Medical tourism product development is more than the sum total of elements to make the product. It must first be designed and produced, and ready for sale.
Too often, we encounter new clients who truly believe they are actively in the business of medical tourism. They rarely have all the elements to pull together a product, are devoid of a product strategy, have no idea where the targeted source market of clients is or might be, cannot describe their “ideal customer”, and only have a selling strategy to sell off excess capacity of surgical theatre time, doctor visits availability, extra hotel or spa resort room inventory, and a comparable price to some alleged price for a similar service elsewhere.
From there, they take their elements to the market through a website, social media, and perhaps reach out to medical tourism facilitators or spend money on listings on medical tourism e-commerce websites such as Treatment Abroad, Placidway or WhatClinic (or their many competitors) and list their undeveloped product so that the whole world can witness exactly how unprepared they are to engage in medical tourism. Then, they scratch their heads and wonder why their medical tourism business has not skyrocketed to the extent echoed in all the media hyperbole and bog box consulting reports claim.
Change your approach to change your outcome
Start with a product strategy that differentiates your brand of medical tourism from all the rest. The same pile of raw steel, rubber and glass can make any kind of a vehicle you desire. That’s totally irrelevant. What creates brand relevance is when you make the kind of car that your medical tourism customer needs or wants to buy.
If you aren’t what your medical tourism customer needs or wants to buy, then it is obvious you haven’t done adequate market research. You must first invest the effort to determine who is your ideal customer, what they want or need to buy, how much they can or will pay, if they are even likely to shop through medical tourism e-commerce websites, seek help from medical tourism facilitators, or if they will be interested in visiting your destination.
If your marketing team does not have the wherewithall or you have no “team” to perform the market research, aren’t sure where to begin, or how to analyze your findings, a health tourism strategy expert may be your answer. You might benefit from an expert with global insights and the ability to bring lessons learned from past projects, critical insights you lack, and “fast track” guidance to your medical tourism program.
An competent expert can perform a critique of your website design, content, translation quality, search engine optimization (SEO) treatments, and provide you with pointers that can make a big difference in Google searches, consumer awareness, brand messaging, and comparative advantages you can leverage to leapfrog over your competition and meet the objectives you planned for your medical tourism product.
Depending on your level of commitment, budget, and objectives, social media marketing can become a bedrock medium for medical tourism providers to instantly engage with potential and existing patients and referring medical and dental professionals. Just remember, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp, FourSquare and other social media channels are all free to be listed or create a page. Medical tourism product marketing is not about having a page or collecting “Likes” or “Follows”.
Your expert can help you start your entrance into social media marketing by creating a strategy, help you appoint and train someone who will be responsible for execution and oversight and allocation of time and financial resources.
To execute on your strategy, you must engage with the market. While the channel listings are free, using them to your best and highest advantage takes time, money and people. Someone must produce timely, relevant, branded content about your product and post it in the language of your potental source market consumers. They must also monitor statistics about visitors, where they went on your website, how long they remained engaged and if they converted by performing on a call-to-action (CTA).. The analysis of these statistics will inform you if what you post actually engages visitors and pushes them through your sales funnel to become customers, the patients who are satisfied, and finally brand cheerleaders.
If you are a surgeon or dentist working alone, within a matter of days, you will soon realize that certain aspects of social marketing reach peak efficiency when automated. It’s okay if you aren’t ready to hire an agency, you can start slowly. But eventually, you will resign yourself to a cold hard fact: you will not be able to do this yourself. Most hospitals and clinics and almost all hotels hire this out. You can do some of this internally to have your brand personality shine through. The rest will require that you hire help for social media marketing management that should be outsourced to a professional. Your growth will depend on your product strategy, your marketing strategy, its effective execution, and a continuous quality improvement in tactics deployed to reach your goals. One last thing: Don’t be afraid or shy to shop around for this automation assistance. Unless your professional work time has no value whatsoever, it is less expensive than doing it yourself!
An expert can also help you build your infrastructure to manage international patient logistics, customer service, medical records transfers, meet local and foreign regulatory compliance requirements, arrange proper workflows, prepare for accreditation surveys, and measure patient satisfaction. They can also help you to negotiate collaboration contracts with appropriate hotels, ground transfer services, restaurants, pharmacies that offer hotel delivery service, tour operators, and other local and external value chain partners.