What does your hospital’s 2015 marketing strategy look like? Umm… you don’t have one? Well, it’s time to get serious about developing a strategy to improve your hospital’s marketing plan!
As someone who spends a lot of time working with hospitals and rural health clinics and physicians offices, I can tell you that you are not alone. In fact most hospitals often don’t have an overall marketing strategy. That’s understandable. Most healthcare professionals aren’t marketing experts, but that doesn’t relieve you of the need to have a plan for your communications program.
But with just a little bit of planning, I’ve seen hospitals greatly improve their patient outreach and their ability to build more top-of-mind awareness and form important new relationships with the community.
Define your audience
The first step to creating a marketing plan is realizing who you are trying to reach. That means first defining the care and values that make your hospital what it is. Once you have an outline of your services and what sets your clinic or hospital apart from others, you can start making assumptions about those you are trying to reach.
Defining your audience is one of the most important steps in developing a targeted marketing strategy – even for hospitals. Targeting and narrowing your strategy is crucial. Hospitals too often fall for the idea that marketing to everyone is the best way to maximize patient numbers. In reality, if you try to reach everyone, you are more likely to end up reaching no one.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Where does your hospital shine? Do you offer outstanding customer service? Are you an active member of your local community? Do you have specialized care that no one else offers? These are the points you need to emphasize in your marketing strategy.
Weaknesses are often linked to financial constraints, especially when it comes to small hospitals. But they can also be things like inefficiencies and lack of name recognition. These are the areas that need time and planning to manage and mitigate.
Write down realistic goals
When I ask new managers what their goal for their company is, I often here something like, “We are going to be the best and most successful company in our field!” That’s great, but it doesn’t say anything about what that person plans on actually doing!
Goals should be concrete and attainable. Think along the lines of patient volume and improving feedback scores. Setting idyllic goals is good for morale, but it doesn’t give your strategy any real direction.
Focus on content
Content is your greatest asset. Focus on ways to provide better content that is relevant to your target audience. How can you add value to the patient experience outside the hospital walls?
Integrate your strategy
Integrate your marketing strategy! This means planning and consistency! You should speak with the same voice and communicate the same values through every aspect of your marketing strategy. Integration also means leveraging your website and social media in addition to more traditional marketing methods. Work on the “whole package” to plan a more complete marketing strategy that doesn’t lean too heavily on one medium.
Developing a marketing strategy takes time and focus. If you are looking to improve your hospital’s marketing plan, give SRJ a call at 214-552-5775.