As we cover common hospital marketing challenges, identifying and building an effective strategy is one we couldn’t miss.
Creating an effective hospital marketing strategy is extremely complex. You may get bogged down organizing your strategy by service line, doctor, specialty, location, and more. But, at the end of the day, your hospital marketing strategy should really boil down to one thing: Your patients.
By keeping your prospective and current patients at the center of your strategy, you have a better chance at connecting with them and helping them choose you when the time comes.
Here are some facets of a successful hospital marketing strategy.
Content that Connects
We talked about the fact that emotion drives healthcare consumers’ decisions. In a sea of hospital brand advertisements that can start to bleed together, a strong content marketing strategy can create connections between your brand and prospective patients.
There a few different ways you can think about your hospital marketing content.
- Content that answers common questions: When it comes to understanding the modern patient, it’s important to know the life events they’ll experience and be there for them. One way you can do this is through content that answers their common healthcare concerns.
- Content that promotes curiosity: This is similar to the bucket above but focuses on less common questions. You can position your hospital brand as an expert by addressing questions people may be hesitant to ask or don’t have clear answers to now.
One way you can take your content marketing strategy to the next level is through branded content. Branded content can help you position your brand and specific doctors as industry leaders and gives added credibility to your brand by placing sponsored content on community or national news publication sites.
Look for Ways to Create Experiences for Your Prospective Patients
While you shouldn’t ignore foundational marketing tactics, the truth is that most healthcare brands have already incorporated social media marketing, print ads, PPC, and more into their hospital marketing strategies.
So, you want to stand out.
This means that while you need to continue running these tried and true marketing tactics, you also need to introduce new and emerging tactics into your strategy.
Branded content gives you a way to do this through augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or gamification. If you can give a prospective patient an augmented reality experience that answers one of their healthcare-related questions in an interactive way or an in-app game that teaches them about specific healthcare ailments, you can create a real connection as well as a lasting impression.
Consider St. Jude’s recent campaign in partnership with Oculus: St. Jude’s Hall of Heroes. This VR experience celebrates real St. Jude patients and allows Oculus wearers to interact with the Hall of Heroes, hear real patient stories, and get a glimpse into what goes on at St. Jude.
St. Jude also released an AR app you can download and point at patient artwork to learn more about them. This interactive app literally brings their art to life and builds a connection between the user and the artist that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
Prepare for the Future of Consumer Behavior
As consumers evolve, the way they search for healthcare brands will evolve as well, and your hospital needs to be at the forefront.
We’ve seen that already with the rise in voice search. Researchers estimate that more than half of all smartphone owners will use voice search this year. And, one study shows that more than 50% of consumers are interested in using voice search to help with healthcare queries.
I recently asked Alexa to call the nearest ER when my husband sliced open his finger to ask about the wait. I was helping him put pressure on the cut, grabbing my purse, and ready to run out the door — asking Alexa to give me the answer was the most efficient and easiest use of my time.
Getting your hospital brand found and called out by a digital assistant requires a multifaceted approach including local and organic SEO. Because digital assistants provide one answer at a time and take into account a number of factors, including location, query intent, and more, it’s important that your SEO strategy is optimizing your site and your content for voice search.
Bring it All Together
Hospital marketing requires a multi-faceted and multichannel approach to ensure you’re reaching the right prospective patients at the right point in their patient journey. Many hospitals are also expected to be cutting edge in more than just their treatments and technology, but also in the way they’re marketing themselves to patients. You can’t be expected to be seen as a technologically advanced hospital if you’re relying on outdated marketing tactics. The way you market your brand contributes to the overall impression prospective patients have about your hospital system.
If you’re looking for a partner to help you take your hospital marketing to the next level, LOCALiQ is here to help. Our healthcare marketing experts have access to data and insights from the USA TODAY NETWORK plus a wealth of proprietary data on hospital marketing we use to craft the most effective strategy for your unique goals. Reach out today to learn more.