A successful marketing, social media and PR program for your hospital requires experience, a plethora of skill and commitment. Does your hospital have the resources it needs to execute and sustain a program that will produce the results you need?
Each year, most all of the rural and small community hospitals identify the need to improve communications with their community during their strategic planning process. As the healthcare industry continues to change, and competition intensifies from the urban cities, communicating with your community on your services, physicians and capabilities is more important than ever.
Hospitals often choose to hire a marketing and PR agency to provide the expertise they require to achieve goals. Outsourcing these needs are often done because local expertise is not always attainable, or having an agency is a more affordable solution than hiring an FTE.
Whatever your reason for choosing to hire an agency to help with your communications, making sure you select the right one for the job is important. Over the past 24 years of working with small and rural hospitals, there are four things I recommend to keep in mind.
Does the agency have a specialty in healthcare marketing?
Look at their experience and track record of working with healthcare facilities and providers. Knowing they have vast knowledge of the ever-changing healthcare landscape is important to effectively market your facility and relieve the burden off of you.
Are they strategic in their approach to communications?
Many agencies can easily be “order takers” for you. Where you really benefit from is an agency who can work with you to develop a comprehensive marketing communications strategy to follow. Utilizing all facets of marketing communications, a strategic approach will help you make the most of your budget and create a more lasting impact.
You get what you pay for.
Don’t just choose an agency because they have cheaper rates. Like the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” It’s important to asses and balance their experience and capabilities. What might take an experience firm one hour to accomplish might take another firm all day.
Commitment is key!
If you’re interested in working with a marketing agency, and you make the decision to go for it, stay committed. It is important to know your budget, understand your resources, and be prepared to live through your commitments to see results.
Starting a relationship with an agency can be an expensive investment of your time. Make sure that you and your agency are committed to the relationship.
If you have any other questions on what to look for in a marketing agency, you are more than free to give us a call. In fact, we just might be who you are looking for in an agency. With more than 24 years of experience in working directly with hospitals, clinics, physicians, and healthcare organization, SRJ Marketing Communications is truly your resource for improving communication and stopping out-migration.