Service Line Marketing: Important for Rural Hospitals

Does your hospital have a service that fulfills a regional demand? If so, there is an opportunity to be had if you communicated that service and its benefits to your community.

Different than branding campaigns, service line marketing programs have the overall goal of increasing volume in specific departments/areas of your hospital, such a cardiac rehab facility or orthopedic surgery.

Why is planning important?
Planning for service line marketing is important because it will better help you identify your profit centers. The goals and strategies you develop based on your profit centers will make the most impact in terms of valuable ROI.

Remember that service line marketing is unlike image marketing, which highlights your facility as a whole and builds goodwill with the community. Service line marketing can actually make a noticeable, and measurable contribution to your bottom line while changing community perceptions about your facility and service offering.

It’s more than just throwing an ad in the local newspaper paper. Service line marketing should be an integrated approach, with human and financial commitment to see impact.

What is an example?
Promoting specific services your facility offers can be one of the most important marketing communications tactics in your overall strategic plan. Great examples of services to promote might include a cardiac rehabilitation division or elective surgical services.

Many of the rural and small community hospitals that we’ve worked with have never really promoted specific services effectively. Thus, their community often was not aware that their local hospital offered specialized services, such as surgeries.

With that said, service line marketing can be a powerful educational tool and might change the way locals perceive your hospital.

Can I easily see a return on investment?
Yes. Service line marketing is far more measurable than image marketing. Since CEOs and boards have a strong desire to measure the effectiveness of a marketing program, this approach is ideal to pleasing leaders and your books.

Setting benchmark statistics and committing time, human, and financial resources can indeed have measured results. Through the effective promotion strategies of a specific service line, changes in patient volume can be measured and easily translated into dollars for determining your return on investment.

Strategy should be at the core of your marketing communications program. It will help make the most out of your facility’s marketing dollars and educate your community on the benefits of choosing local healthcare.

Don’t let missed opportunities continue to plague your hospital. Leverage the power of service line marketing to stop out-migration and achieve bottom line goals.