A periodic review of your marketing strategy is essential to success. Everything in rural healthcare has been shaken up by COVID-19. We are all expecting more dramatic changes are on the horizon, coming sooner rather than later. Having a process for evaluating and changing your strategy is key to building a powerful marketing program that can weather and adapt to an ever-changing rural health landscape.
Here are five steps to making that happen.
Evaluate: What worked, what didn’t, why?
What is your data telling you about your marketing strategies? Where were you strong and where were you weak? Go over each aspect of your marketing: website, promotional materials, direct mail, social media, etc. Think about what makes sense in the current environment and what is no longer relevant.
Keep a running list of what you decided worked well and what didn’t. You can use this list each year as you evaluate new ideas to check and see what’s been tried and how it fared. Unless you have a good reason to retry a failed strategy, its better to look for something new.
Prioritize: What goals are most important now?
Start by looking at what your goals are for the coming year. How will you deal with Covid-19? Do you have new growth targets? Do you have new services you want to offer and build awareness for? Make a clear list of specific goals and prioritize them from top to bottom.
Next you want to look at your marketing program as it exists since the start of the pandemic and see where it is supporting these goals. If it’s not targeted your high priority items, it’s time for a shake up in your marketing. You want your efforts to align closely to your goals. If you don’t prioritize, it’s inevitable that you will put your efforts into the wrong place.
Optimize: Look for ways to improve what you did before.
Once you have cut the programs that just aren’t working and aligned your existing efforts, the next step is to refine and optimize. Time invested in making your marketing efforts more effective and less time consuming will be repaid in the long run. Ask both: How can we make this better? And How can we make it easier to do? Ideally, you don’t want to sacrifice one for the other. Looking for ways to invest up front and get returns down the line is key.
Integrate: Tie everything together to get the most impact.
Your next task is to tie it all together. Review your marketing strategy and look for ways to connect all the dots. No matter the targets, there should be a common voice, mission, and theme underlying all your materials that builds trust in your rural hospital. Every message should connect to and re-enforce the others in some way. Think about the journey a member of the community makes from the first point of contact with your marketing to the time when they show up for an appointment. Look for any “plot holes” in that narrative and try to fill them in.
Connect: Many hands make lighter work.
We all understand how important it is to have relationships with our peers and to have friends among other businesses. In the age of social media and global communication there are ever more opportunities to observe what others are doing and to work together. Rural hospitals are rarely in competition with one another so it’s the perfect situation to build on one another’s efforts by sharing articles and information.
SRJ Marketing Communications is 100% dedicated to working with rural hospitals to help them find marketing success in an ever-changing landscape. We are always working to refine and update our strategies and materials to meet the demands of the changing marketplace. If you want to benefit from our 30 years of experience or need help implementing your plans, we are just a phone call or email away: Steven R Jolly: 214-528-5775