Your Health Care Marketing Plan Must Build a Consumer-Centric Brand
These days, your hospital’s patients are likely to spend more time online learning about your institution than they spend in it, interacting with staff — which makes your health care marketing plan critically important.
Medical staff scheduling is often stretched to the limit, on both the professional and paraprofessional levels. As a result, many patient touch points with your hospital may lack a certain personal touch. A lack of capacity, staffing and clear understanding of patient needs may well be at the heart of major health care issues like the VA waiting list scandal.
With US scheduled inpatient admissions up by 10.5 percent and outpatient visits up by 13 million in 2013, per Becker's and the IMS Institute, covering the market will remain a challenge and an opportunity.
Careful, targeted marketing can help address such obstacles to a successful continuum of care.
Health Care Marketing Extends Your Reach
Luckily, you have the means at your disposal to build and maintain a strong virtual presence online.
With a well-structured health care marketing plan, you can access convenient and cost-effective means to establish patient relationships, maintain loyalty and improve health care outcomes through health care marketing. But which channels should you use to reach your audience of existing and potential patients? Which type of information should you provide and when? How can you motivate your audience to act and take part?
1. Create a Consistent Voice in the Health Care Community
In today’s world of the empowered health care consumer, it can be a challenge for a hospital to develop a message that cuts through the barrage of information that patients see and seek online. You want to attract the new patients while maintaining a clear and efficient avenue of communication with your current patients and providing top-level care to your community.
It’s a tall order, but by using market insights and carefully targeted messaging, you can augment your staff’s time with patients in a way that enhances your hospital’s reputation and provides excellent care.
2. Bring Together Content, Technology and Marketing
As a foundation for your online presence, you need to offer content to educate information seekers on common health conditions and how to stay healthy in addition to information about your hospital’s facilities, focus, accomplishments, technology and areas of staff expertise. Provide consumer friendly ways for potential patients to contact you for specific questions and activities like appointment scheduling and more.
Most importantly, however, is the need to ensure that all these resources appeal to your potential patients and the community.
3. Learn What Your Niches Need by Segmenting Consumer Markets
For any type of successful health care marketing plan, you need to customize your communications and content to appeal to each audience in a personal way that really makes a connection with them.
To maximize effectiveness, go beyond the typical surface segmentation to gain a deeper understanding of your audience. With expert psychographic insights, you’ll be able to tailor your content and messages to essentially “speak the language” of your various constituencies and motivate them to act.
You’ll learn much more than which particular social media networks, online forums and online publications your audiences frequent — you’ll be able to uncover, and track over time, what your audience's interests and concerns are. This will allow you to design new processes, services and outreach that fit your disparate community needs. At the same time, you’ll establish a trusted presence that your future patients, staff and community members can easily find.
Better Communication Is the Bottom Line
Even in today’s information economy, a personal touch is still important. Segmentation helps make your messages more personal and more powerful. Customization and personalization are more achievable (and more expected and appreciated) than ever, so make sure your health care marketing plan takes advantage of essentially detailed consumer insight.
No matter which segments of the community you’re seeking to reach, deeper psychographic segmentation and personalization are key. A targeted marketing effort saves you staff time and money — and it makes the most impact on your community’s life.