Best hospital marketing ideas to grow despite diverse challenges
A hospital undeniably faces mounting challenges like cutthroat competition, finite resources, cost cutting pressures, complying ever-increasing regulation standards. Yet, they need to handle them and fend off competition to survive, sustain and achieve staggering growth. It is an unenviable task, but hospitals are not alone in their quest to grow big. With a proper marketing plan and engaging professionals to implement it considerably ease the burden on the management.
How market helps your hospital?
Hospital marketing allows a hospital to increase patient connections and nurture them to form long-term, loyal patients who are the brand ambassadors by which more patients are connected to the hospital. A successful healthcare marketing strategy leads to successful patient engagement, which in turn makes for to a booming practice.
What is a marketing plan and how to create an effective plan?
A marketing plan involves documenting specific business goals and objectives to be achieved within a specific period of time.
To be effective, your marketing plan needs to satisfy numerous internal as well as external demands. It is certainly a tall order fitting in institution branding and messaging professional reputation, patient satisfaction, wellness initiatives, and government regulations.
A comprehensive hospital marketing plan should provide you with the insights and tools needed to assess, anticipate, prepare and build a roadmap that cover your bases, construct requisite support systems, creating a niche for your product and services using traditional and modern marketing rules, protect your brand in the healthcare marketspace, win consensus of the major and minor stakeholders including administrators, directors, medical staff, employees and many others, set up an inspiring culture in the organization, inculcate a winning attitude among the staff, and measurable marketing success.
Best hospital marketing strategies
After crafting an effective marketing plan, break it into effective marketing strategies. Consider this scenario. In your area or in any given area there are multiple hospitals and healthcare practices that offer same or similar services. Then how a patient chooses you over others? There comes the role of healthcare marketing. Effective marketing by branding your services across online and offline media shows your practice different from others to the potential patients and their decision makers.
1. Design a good patient experience
The number one strategy to grow your practice is to design a positive experience for your patients under your care that should translate into positive reviews for you on influential social media platforms.
2. Strong physician liaison
It is essential for business development and organizational to create and maintain a strong doctor referral program that leads to constant inflow of patients.
3. Focus on channels that drive maximum response
Use both traditional and modern ways of communicating your brand value. Find out which channels are driving more response leading to increased footfall. Focus on those ways to market your practice. All your communications including websites should contain benefit-based language, informative content, patient-oriented copy, redirection to reviews, direct calls to action etc.
4. Design your personal branding
There are multiple hospitals offering similar services to people in your area. How would you entice patients to your practice? An effective way is highlighting the special features which are unique to you such as niche specialists, equipment with latest technology, and attractive value-added packages. Build your brand online by creating healthcare content regularly on industry specific topics, and publish it in industry-related journals. And also self-publish patient-centric informative content through LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms. This will enhance your visibility in the Google search results, people will turn to your profiles for information, increasing your authority and credibility.
5. After discharge patient follow-up
Of course, it is skilful marketing that leads patients to your doorstep. What is much more important is to retain them, for which genuine follow-up after patient discharge regularly is of great value. Despite the modern ways of digital marketing, word of mouth still has great traction. Potential patients not only look up online but also ask friends and family to know about your hospital. They not just want to know what happened at the hospital, what happens after you are discharged equally weights on their mind while making treatment choices. So, it is vital for you to map your marketing strategy against each point of care across the patient’s journey. Taking feedback after a consultation or discharge will motivate them to share their story which will bring in more leads.
6, Prioritizing budget allocation
In this era of cost cutting, marketing budget is sure to have limits. It is better to allocate more funds for areas that get patient visibility. For example, if you are getting more patients via PPC you need to maximize your efforts there and allocate more funds for paid ad. This way you can beat the budget constraint while optimizing the foot traffic.
7. Patient engagement with brand
The best way to engage patients with your brand is giving them unforgettable positive experience. Your service will lead to patient loyalty and patient returns and referrals. Craft a strategy that make your services known to as many people as possible. Engage them with useful information that improves their health and well-being.
8. Clear internal communication
Few in healthcare has given the importance due for marketing. More often than not, the concept is misunderstood and undervalued by decision makers and opinion leaders in the hospital. As a marketer you can dispel this notion by regularly communicating internally your planning, execution and the positive outcome. This will create value for your work internally and also bring more funds for your marketing campaigns.
9. Create content that adds value to patients
Have you thought about whether the content you are posting in social media or your website is really helpful to your patients and prospective clients? There is information overload on the internet, but you need to provide content that means something to the patients and potentials that will differentiate you from the crowd. The focus should be more on patients’ symptoms, struggles and solutions for them, rather on your credentials. Always answer their questions promptly, in detail that creates a good impression.
10. Organic and paid ad strategy
Divide your resources between organic and paid strategy. Combining organic, that is Search engine optimization with paid, pay per click (PPC) will enhance your chances of getting noticed by users who search for your specialty services. The purpose of driving visitor traffic to the landing page on your site, or in some instances to your social media profiles will be achieved only when you employ the combined strategy.
11. Leveraging Patient Base
Your best mode of advertisement is always satisfied patients. Find ways to communicate with your patients regularly and extend your services to their family and friends, such as offering attractive packages, informing new services and including loyal patients in your advertisements. Regular email campaigns will do wonders for your growth.
12. Strengthen your content marketing
Content is the king today. As according to a survey, 80% of the people turn to internet for their health queries, it’s smart to create and publish content that is useful and valuable for your patients and public alike. In addition to pitching your practice, you need to give informative content that creates traction in the form of latest news, health tips, blogs and Q&As by specialists. Although potential clients want to know your services and capabilities to provide them par excellence, they can easily differentiate between promotional content and informative content, hence blending them in right proportions would put you in a positive light. Your website and social profiles should have high-quality, custom content to drive traffic to your doorstep.
It is surprising but true, research insights reveal that a more effective marketing strategy is listening to people instead of telling them what you want to convey. People want their voices and piece of mind to be heard, answered and concerns assuaged. The more you listen and reply to them more engagement thus loyalty you earn. One more benefit is when you listen to more people you will understand their needs better and tailor your services to the trending needs. Your engagement with the visitors and patients need not be with promotional agenda, instead build interpersonal relationships that could generate more leads.
14. Give equal importance to traditional, offline media
Traditional marketing via print media, TV ads and outdoor media still very much works, especially for healthcare industry. The main reason being elderly people who are a potential pool of patients are not as computer savvy as the Gen Y. Second, different people have different preferences. Third, you can target the geographically nearer to you. So offline media holds equally huge potential with a right approach as digital media.