Marketing for a healthcare system is totally different thing. You can’t do lots of things so do things carefully that they will not backfire on you.
We have developed a number of health & wellness marketing strategies over the years to help our clients achieve the goals they set. We’ve learned a number of things that you should do in your marketing planning & implementation, and things you should do your best to avoid.
Before defining any marketing strategy for a healthcare system, do these things
Define your Vision and Strategy: Where do you want your business to be in three years? How can marketing help you realize this vision? Write this out as if you are living that moment right now.
Define your goals: It sounds so obvious, but so many companies fail to do this. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you will never know if you got there. Set SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. We recommend setting 1-3 annual goals, and all of those shouldn’t compete, but rather work synergistically. A bad example would be: we want to increase sales. A good example would be: we want to increase sales by 15% by July through our social media influencer program.
Assessment: Consider marketing dynamics such as seasonality, shifting alliances between healthcare practices, and other “political” issues. Consult previously created business plans, patient satisfaction surveys, community surveys, and other information you have access to for insights into your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Comparative/Competitive Analysis: Study your competitors, know their weaknesses and what they do well. Read through their online reviews for additional insight. Use these insights not to copy what they’re doing, but to really develop your own unique differentiators and positioning. What makes you different from & better than your competition?
Some Do’s of Healthcare Marketing
Networking/Relationships—go where your market is and exchange information between you and others. Get to know the needs and wants of other providers, and try to find an avenue to help each other.
Direct Marketing—just like email, print is not dead. The key to doing this effectively is really knowing your audience and honing your message. Use personalized letters, flyers, brochures, postcards to get your message in front of your ideal audience.
Advertising—consider both digital and offline advertising opportunities. To avoid wasting money, only spend your ad dollars where you are confident your audience will be. Digital advertising is easier to monitor and adjust on a daily basis, while print ads are difficult to monitor.
Training Programs—increase awareness of your services by offering free online or offline training or educational programs for your customers.
Free Media—write articles for news media and blogs with similar audiences to increase the authority and credibility of your brand and practitioners. Enhance patient communication with a professional e-newsletter and leave printed copies in the office for patients to take home or share with family and friends.
Public Relations—consider sponsorships that align with your services and audience, host events, offer tours, or hold open houses for prospective patients to get to know you and your facility.
Website—nearly all consumers are using the internet to gather information on their health care options and support them in their decision-making process. Ensure your brand has a professional, updated, and engaging website.
Inbound Marketing—there are many ways to start the conversation with prospects online and offer value before they even connect with you directly. Inbound marketing is a way to attract your audience, without forcing information on them. The best way to attract organic visitors is by creating valuable, helpful, interesting content on your website
Some Don’t of Healthcare Marketing
- Don’t use too much humor—while humor or light heartedness can certainly be an element of your brand voice, use humor strategically & sparingly when discussing health & wellness topics that may be sensitive subjects to many of your readers.
- Do not overly self-promote—Keep the self-promotion to a minimum and instead, use your content to inform and educate your readers.
- Not to violate any HIPAA guidelines when using social media. Remember not to mention patient names or post photos without clear guidelines and releases in place.