If patients are traveling from other cities, states, or even countries for your unique treatment approaches and expertise, there is an opportunity to market to this group of patients and potentially attract more of those who are willing to travel for the right surgeon or specialist.
When patients are considering traveling for surgery, they will likely have different questions for you than local patients might. Providing the right resources on your website to answer those questions makes it easier for patients to decide if surgical travel is the right choice for them. You can also provide information for out-of-town patients who have opted for surgery at your practice, which alleviates some of the burden on your staff.
Let’s take a look at how your practice can help out-of-town patients, and how you can tailor marketing campaigns to this group.
Creating Content for Out-of-Town Patients
If you regularly have patients come in from out-of-town, we recommend adding some content to your website to help patients understand your processes and plan their trip. This content can also help you market your practice to patients who are considering this option.
“Traveling for Surgery” Page
The first step in marketing to out-of-town patients is creating what we call a “Traveling for Surgery” page for your website. (However, you can title it with whatever makes sense for your practice, such as “Information for Traveling Patients,” “Out-of-Town Patient Resources,” etc.)
This page should cover all of the processes and information that patients would need to know before scheduling a consultation for surgery, including:
- How they can schedule a consultation
- Whether or not you offer virtual consultation options
- How to send medical records for review
- When in-office visits are necessary
- What information your office needs from out-of-town patients
- What types of services and support you offer for patients who are traveling in
This gives patients an idea of what to expect before they set up that initial consultation.
Travel Resources for Patients
Travel resources can be added to your Traveling for Surgery page, or a separate page on your website. This should be a collection of resources to guide people through everything they might need to know during their stay in your city, including:
- Travel directions
- A campus map of your surgery center/hospital
- Hotels close to the surgery location, and information on how to get special rates if available
- Nearby pharmacies
- Local transportation options, like car rentals and cab companies
- Local restaurants and food delivery options (try to include a variety of cuisine options if possible)
Essentially, think of the things your out-of-town patients might ask for recommendations on, and supply that information in your Travel Resources content. You can even get your staff involved and have them give their picks on their favorite local places.
We also recommend adding links to the websites and/or map listings of any of the local businesses you recommend so it’s easy for the patient and their travel partner(s) to find, as well as the address and phone number of the business. Then, you can create a PDF version of the content so it’s easy for patients to save on their phone or tablet, and printable for patients who prefer a physical copy.
A travel guide might not be a necessary component of successfully completing a surgical procedure for an out-of-town patient, but it shows that you care about making their stay as comfortable as possible. Often, these are the little touches that make the difference between just a satisfied patient and an overjoyed patient who will recommend you to others.
Marketing Campaigns for Out-of-Town Patients
If you are interested in getting more out-of-town patients, you can try a paid search campaign.
First, you’ll need to create the right landing page for your campaign. In some cases, your Traveling for Surgery page might work. However, if you are targeting a specific region, you might want to make a more tailored landing page for your campaign.
For example, if you are wanting to target patients outside of the United States, that’s a different conversation than targeting patients from a couple counties or states over. You need to tailor the content to the audience.
Another important consideration is your targeting location. Sure, if you have a large enough budget, you can target all of the United States and even other countries. But we encourage you to think strategically about where you target your ads. You don’t want your ad targeting to be so close to your physical location that local patients start getting the ads, but going too far out could be expensive, and a harder “sell” for patients who live really far away. Try to find that sweet spot in between and see what that gets you. You can gradually expand outward if the return on investment is worth it.
There are a lot of patients who aren’t pleased with their local healthcare options and have the resources and ability to travel to get better care. However, if a patient is willing to travel that far and pay that much to have you do their procedure, you’d better make sure you take great care of them every step of the way. The right content and resources can help you do that.