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Using Groupon to Attract Lifelong Patients

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2012

Social spending websites such as Groupon, LivingSocial, and BuyWithMe are now a mainstay in hundreds of cities across the country, connecting businesses with deal-savvy consumers. For companies offering traditional goods and services—sushi restaurants, yoga studios, beauty salons, and so on—sites like Groupon can be an easy way to attract customers who may have never otherwise visited the establishment.

But can social spending site work for hospital marketers? The answer is unequivocally yes—if they are used cautiously and strategically to help hospitals attract new lifelong patients.

Since Groupon was founded in 2008, healthcare organizations have been offering daily deals for services through the site. Now, about one of every 11 deals offered online is for a healthcare service, according to Dealradar.com. And healthcare deals are selling well, largely due to uninsured or underinsured patients, according to MSNBC.

About 9% of all social spending site offerings in November 2011 were for dental work or medical treatment, up 4.5% in the beginning of 2011, MSNBC reports.

Proceed strategically

This faction of daily deal purchasers is why laying out a detailed strategy is critical if you're considering delving into social spending. Offering a discount to attract new patients is really beneficial only if the patient comes back to your hospital again and again.

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