When operating a medical practice, your mission and vision are to make quality healthcare more accessible and affordable to all members of your community. But, alone, these remarkable values are not enough to help you establish a solid client base and succeed as a business in the long term.
For all that, you’ll need an ad hoc marketing campaign designed to attract your target audience. But what if you wish to look beyond the native population?
Here’s how to become a beacon for expats and immigrants in an increasingly complex healthcare market.
Just like in the case of other businesses, your marketing strategy will be only as effective as your understanding of the audience you are targeting. And, if your target demographic consists of expats and immigrants, you’ll have to be prepared to analyze an extremely diverse market.
For example, in Dubai – which has one of the strongest expat communities globally – over 85% of the population is composed of non-UAE-born residents including 240,000 Britons, 10,000 Germans, 50,000 United States nationals, and 100,000 Russian.
For local clinics wishing to target such a diverse market, it’s essential to understand how to provide tailored and expat-friendly health insurance in the UAE, understand each community’s pain points and needs and deliver accessible care to individuals from all social classes.
For expats and immigrants, finding a healthcare provider they can trust in their new place of residence can be unsettling. That’s because of the challenges of navigating a different healthcare system, comparing pricing plans, and connecting with providers.
Luckily, there are some international certifications and awards that are immediately recognizable by locals and immigrants alike. For example, obtaining a Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation is a mark of patient safety and care quality.
Being ill in a foreign country is, for most, an overwhelming experience – and the lack or inaccessibility of English-speaking medical professionals can make it even more so.
But while seeking care from a doctor who does not speak the same language can seem frustrating at first, miscommunication can have even more severe consequences. For example, language barriers can lead to wrong diagnosis, treatments, and medications, and become a threat to the patient’s health.
You can eliminate this unnecessary stress and provide a more professional service to foreign-born residents simply by hiring a team of English-speaking medical providers and specialists.
Once you have taken all the steps to make your clinic more accessible for expats and immigrants, consider enlisting in directories like the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) to help the members of your community find trusted doctors abroad.
With a predicted 50% growth in the number of expats over the next ten years, targeting expats is certainly a worthwhile investment for any clinic or practice. Nonetheless, pinpointing the right channels to reach such a diverse target market can be challenging.
For example, advertising your practice in local newspapers, magazines, and websites might be a great strategy to attract a local customer base, but it might not reach the non-native population. Instead, consider using digital marketing to grow your medical practice and tapping into the platforms expats use most, including Facebook and Instagram.
Additionally, taking part in local expat-led events and partnering with the employers of foreign professionals can help.
When putting yourself in the shoes of an expatriate looking for medical information they can trust in a foreign country, it is easy to see how this could be all but easy. Having to translate local articles using Google Translate, falling for unreliable sources, and not finding answers to simple questions are just some of the most common challenges for immigrants.
If you are targeting expats, it might be worth asking what your clinic can do to boost its own reputation and provide added value to potential patients. For example, you might provide expert guides to access local health insurance, make available a directory of emergency numbers, or answer common questions.
Unsure where to start? Ask your local expat community what they wish to see in their ideal healthcare provider!