3 Marketing Secrets Top Hospital Marketing Programs Know

Hospital marketing programs across the country often do things differently. After all, what works for one system will not necessarily work for another. With that being said, there are systems that have the most robust and effective hospital marketing programs in the nation, and they all seem to incorporate the same fundamentals and tricks of the trade.

Here, we will review three of the most common marketing secrets that these top programs know and implement as a way to distance themselves from their competition and build stronger brands in their communities.


Hospital Marketing Is an Investment, Not a Cost

The best-performing hospital marketing programs don’t necessarily spend the most money, or even the highest percentages of their revenue, on marketing. But they all understand that marketing is an investment, not a cost, and should have high priority on the hospital’s budget.

According to a study from the American Hospital Association, hospitals spend 0.7% of net patient revenues on marketing, on average. Some of the top-performing programs spend higher than the average, going as high as 2.3% of net revenue.

Granted, it’s not about just throwing more money at a problem. You have to invest it wisely, which means that you need some way to quantify success. This leads us to the next secret.


Top Programs Believe in Quantification, Measurement, and Analysis

No marketer in any industry should market “by feel” or “by their gut.” The best way to incorporate efficiency in your marketing program and to make sure you’re using your budget wisely and to maximum effect is to believe in quantifying and measuring everything.

Top hospital programs make decisions based on what the data tells them. They rigorously gather and analyze data on everything to create a more effective approach. This allows them to actually get more from the same budget, or get the same results by spending less. Or sometimes get more with less at the same time!

Even intangibles like patient satisfaction and patient loyalty can be measured. And you can certainly measure digital marketing initiatives and even traditional advertising. Gather data and commit to studying it for more success.


Your Personnel Are a Resource

Hospitals that do a great job of marketing know how powerful expertise can be, and they know how to use their personnel – the doctors, nurses, administrators, and technicians on their staff – to share that expertise.

It’s been proven time and time again that people prefer learning about people. They also place a lot of importance on what authority figures say. Showcasing your experts fulfills both roles.

Find your team members who are willing to contribute their knowledge and expertise. Involve them in the marketing process. Put faces on your outreach. Let potential patients connect with your team in a personal way. Also, the more you use your team as a marketing resource, the more successful your program will be.

By implementing these three secrets, you can bolster your marketing efforts and make your hospital’s marketing campaign more beneficial for your brand and your patients.


TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information and see what stories we can tell for you.

female businesswoman talking with senior doctor in hospital - creating better hospital marketing strategies

Grow Your Patient Base With These 3 Hospital Marketing Strategies

Every hospital and health system wants to grow its patient base. That is the job of hospital marketing: to increase brand awareness and build positive relationships between the hospital and potential patients.

There are a lot of methods that hospitals currently use to market themselves. From buying billboards to airing TV commercials, creating a Facebook page, and even sending out direct mail, marketing strategies can work together to create a total-package approach that targets a patient from multiple angles.

Here, we’ll focus on three marketing methods in particular that, when combined with strategic goals, can get more patients.


Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of getting your website and its pages to rank near the top of the page whenever someone searches for something you do.

When people look up “family medicine,” or “orthopedic surgery,” you want that particular page on your website to show up first. This is because an estimated 49.5% of all clicks on the first page of a search go to the first two positions. Another 9.5% goes to the third, and another 7.9% goes to the fourth – which means the first four searches account for 68% of all clicks.

You do not want to be near the bottom. Optimizing for search means doing things on the page and on the backend of your page/site to make your pages stand out and appear at the top.

SEO can be very complicated, so it is important to work with SEO specialists who know all the tips, tricks, and best practices to get your web pages to rank well.


Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising

Paid advertising is necessary to get your name out there as much as possible. Organic or earned media can only go so far.

One of the most cost-effective ways to get attention from the right people at the right time is PPC advertising. PPC broadly refers to a system in which you pay someone – Google,

Facebook, an individual website, etc. – for every click that you get on one of your ads.

So, those banner ads you see on a website fall under PPC, but those are more clearly defined as display advertising, and PPC in a more specific context refers to the text ads that appear in search results on Google and Bing.

The beauty of PPC advertising is you pay only when someone clicks. You do not pay per impression (although you can if you choose).


Email Newsletter Marketing

Your existing patients are one of the best resources you have to increase business. You can your marketing by sending out email newsletters.

If you make these emails informative, engaging, easy and fun to read, you will have more success. Talk about patient stories and other human interest stories, and refrain from plugging the hospital too much.

What this does is twofold:

  1. Your patients can spread the word via email to their friends and family (especially if you ask them to)
  2. Your previous or current patients can come to you for additional services

Staying in touch with patients through email is always a good idea. Adopt a robust and creative email newsletter campaign and you will attain more patients and more revenue through word-of-mouth marketing.


There are many other things you can do as a part of a hospital marketing plan. The above strategies work well with each other and go great with other hospital marketing strategies as well, such as social media marketing and content marketing.

woman painting wall - DIY research for your organization

Do it Yourself Primary Research for Healthcare Marketers: Another Favorite Session from SHSMD ’18

Whether it is budget, time, or both, many healthcare marketers do not have the opportunity to attend SHSMD Connections (Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development annual conference).  We are fortunate at TotalCom Marketing that we get to attend most years, so I thought I would share highlights from several of the presentations.

This is from “How to Conduct Your Own Fast, Affordable Consumer Research” presented by  Camille Baxter, Chief Business Development Officer, Insight Medical Genetics; Megan Springmeyer, Director of Client Development, Cint and Roger Straus, The Blackstone Group, and is a multi-part series. It includes points made in the presentation as well as my own primary research experience.

Pinterest, YouTube and blogs have made it possible for us to move from “I don’t know how, better call someone” to “Let me find a video to learn how”. Now we are all DIY’ing everything in our personal lives from painting a room to repairing the dryer to making a kids Halloween costume. And with some success.

DIY is not just for home repairs and hobbies though. There are certain projects we as healthcare marketers can confidently tackle ourselves – primary research is one – in certain situations, however.

Primary research, research that is not already available, in invaluable for making hospital marketing and communication decisions. Understanding what others believe about your hospital’s brand before re-branding; deciding whether or not to implement a new program for heart patients; knowing why nurses choose to work at our hospital for recruitment messaging – are just a few examples of when we need to ask our own questions.

The options for primary research are hiring a specialized firm or doing it ourselves. But how do you know which is right for your situation?


When to Consider DIY Primary Research

  • You need the information next week
  • There’s no or little budget
  • You know what you want to ask
  • Respondents are ready and willing to participate (or you know how to purchase)
  • You have the tools to implement and manage a survey
  • Sophisticated analysis and reporting is not needed


Sometimes You Need to Hire a Research Professional, But When?

  • Your research will help support a decision for a major investment or hospital strategy decision
  • The audience is large or high level
  • Your audience is narrow and external
  • You need sophisticated analysis and reporting


If your hospital research project qualifies for DIY, here’s how to get started.

 Close-up Of A Woman's Hand Filling Survey Form On Laptop - DIY research

The situation

It will soon be time to reprint the baby booklets/pregnancy guides your OB/GYNs distribute to expecting moms. Due to the number of pages, they are somewhat expensive to print. The hospital service line manager said there’s no need, the moms-to-be don’t seem to want them anymore. The physicians’ office manager says the physicians want to continue to distribute them. What’s marketing to do? Primary DIY research, of course.


Step 1: Determine your hypothesis

In this situation, our hypothesis might be: Do expectant moms want pregnancy guides/baby booklets from their OB/GYN? If yes, what content is most valuable and what is least valuable to our audience?

Step 2: Determine the audience

In this example, our target audience might be women within a 100-mile radius who have had a full term pregnancy and delivery in the past 24 months. Hint: be prepared to increase or decrease the parameters to ensure enough respondents.

Step 3: Determine how will you use what you learn

For our scenario, we will use the results to decide whether or not to re-print baby booklets/pregnancy guides and if so, based on respondent preferences, evaluate if the content needs changing.

Step 4: Understand ahead of time who in your organization will receive the survey results and what kind of reporting will they require.

In this example, marketing will need to share a summary of the results as well as charts and recommendation with the office manager, physicians and service line manager. A simple one page summary with supporting details attached should be sufficient. Note: the simpler the questionnaire, the simpler the analysis and reporting. Also, have a goal in mind that will ensure that you’re making an informed decision. Maybe you need over 50% of respondents to say that they used the book at least once, or answers must average saying that they felt the booklet was at least “somewhat helpful.”

Step 5: Determine what survey tools should be used

Sources are available to help you manage your primary research survey from start to finish including developing your questionnaire, finding respondents, distributing your survey, analyzing the results and reporting the findings. Qualtrics, ZOHO, Poll Daddy and Survey Monkey are a few options with Survey Monkey being a popular one. At TotalCom Marketing we have used Survey Monkey and find it user-friendly for both researcher and respondents.

Step 6: Develop your survey and questions

Tips for using Survey Monkey can be a series of blog posts unto themselves. Below are some best practices. Some are from the presentation at SHSMD Connections, some from Survey Monkey and some from my personal experience at TotalCom Marketing.

  • Utilize the questionnaire templates and customize based on your needs
  • Write the questions using the language and definitions that your audience uses
  • Create questions that are to the point and easy to understand
  • Each question should ask only one question (no shotgun approach)
  • Group like questions together
  • Do not be biased or leading with your questions
  • Make no assumptions
  • Don’t let curiosity get the better of you. Avoid asking other questions “just because we would like to know”
  • Keep your survey as short and brief as possible
  • Ask the easiest-to-answer, least invasive, less personal questions in the beginning
  • Avoid yes-no questions
  • Avoid open-ended questions (difficult when it comes time to tally results)
  • Use words, not numbers (e.g., use phrases such as “more likely” and “less likely” rather than “on a scale of 1 to 10”)
  • Let respondents know why you need this information and how you will use it
  • Let respondents know how many questions or how much time the questionnaire will require of their time
  • Ask respondents for their help with the decision you are trying to make – people like to help others
  • Custom brand your survey with your logo, colors, etc. Respondents feel more comfortable when they know where the survey came from and will be more likely to answer your questions. (Note however sometimes it is more appropriate for the survey to come from a third party)
  • Don’t have a CRM of potential respondents? No problem, you can purchase a targeted audience from Survey Monkey based on geography and many demographic and psychographic characteristics. While in the Survey Monkey dashboard, there is a tool to help you determine if your audience is large enough (or not). Learn more about purchasing respondents here.
  • Proof and edit your survey. Edit and proof your survey. Proof and edit your survey again.
  • Test your survey with others in your department, co-workers and peers and ask for feedback.


Sample questions

To continue with our example of the baby booklets/pregnancy guides, some sample survey questions might include. Note these are just sample questions for illustration purposes.

  1. Have you had a full term pregnancy and delivery in the past 24 months? (Note: This question is a filter to narrow down our target audience. If the answer is no, then we politely thank the participant for their time)


  1. When you were expecting did your OB/GYN or hospital give you a booklet or guide about your pregnancy? The guide may or may not have contained information such as about what to expect during your pregnancy, how to care for yourself while you are expecting, post-partum care, etc. (Note: This is another filter question that allows us to survey only those that are in our target audience. IF the answer is no then we thank the participant and discontinue the survey)


  1. How would you rate the overall value of the booklet as it related to your pregnancy?

No value
Some value
Very valuable
Extremely valuable

  1. How often did you refer to the booklet during the course of your pregnancy and post-partum recovery?

1 – 2 times
3 – 4 times
5 or more times


Content: Think back to the content in your pregnancy booklet (Note: See how we grouped like questions?)

  1. How helpful did you find the section “When to Call Your Doctor During Pregnancy”

Information was not in my booklet
Little or no help
Somewhat helpful
Very helpful

  1. How helpful did you find the section “Important Phone Numbers During Your Pregnancy”

Information was not in my booklet
Little or no help
Somewhat helpful
Very helpful

  1. How helpful did you find the section “Food and Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy”

Information was not in my booklet
Little or no help
Somewhat helpful
Very helpful

  1. How helpful did you find the section in your booklet “Post-partum Care”

Information was not in my booklet
Little or no help
Somewhat helpful
Very helpful


Step 7: Send out survey – but you don’t have to necessarily wait

In Survey Monkey you can actually monitor the status of your survey project in real time to see how many responses you have and as your results come in, you can get a view of the responses.


Step 8: Analyze and report

Let the fun begin! Sometimes the results are a surprise and sometimes they confirm what we as healthcare marketers already know. In Survey Monkey you can view summaries of each survey question or drill down and browse individual survey responses. You can even use their “Rules” tool to filter and compare the results for more specific answers such as respondents from within a certain zip code or age. In addition, a paid Survey Monkey plan allows you to download and export your survey results, choose from different chart types (pie, bar graph, line graph, etc) or even create your own charts. The results including the summary, chart and details are easy to import into your report or can be emailed.


Other ways primary research can be beneficial

Information gathered in primary research can be beneficial to healthcare marketers for obvious reasons. We can get answers to questions about our hospital services, use the data to make decisions that are rooted in fact rather than opinion and often times use the information again in the future as we have a better understanding of our audiences and what is relevant to them. Also important, primary research can help elevate the role of hospital marketing from executional to strategic.

In summary, there are times when primary research is needed but we do not have the luxury of getting outside help. Sometimes we have to do it ourselves – and we can.


Need help getting started with DIY primary research for your healthcare organization? Contact me, Lori Moore, Senior Account Manager for TotalCom Marketing Communications by email or phone at 205.345.7363.

Favorite Sessions from SHSMD Connections ’18: How to Use Facebook Live for Your Hospital

Smiling businesswoman talking on camera - marketing your hospital on Facebook Live videoI realize there are many healthcare marketers that do not have the opportunity to attend SHSMD Connections (Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development annual conference). Sometimes it is budget, sometimes it is time away (and sometimes both). We are fortunate at TotalCom Marketing that we get to attend most years, so I thought I would share some of the highlights from several of the presentations at SHSMD Connections ‘18 held in Seattle this month. There were several that were really helpful, so this will be a multi-part series.

The first session I attended on day one was a “how to” for using Facebook Live. It was presented by the communications team at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. They have been successfully using Facebook Live since it launched and offered some helpful insight for getting started or just doing it better.


About Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a marketing tool that can prove quite helpful in meeting your organization’s social media objectives (and more). It is immediate, authentic, interactive and a great way to connect and engage with your audience.


Reasons Why You Should Consider Using Facebook Live

  • For now, at least, the Facebook algorithm favors Facebook Live. We have all seen a decline in engagement with our posts, Facebook Live is a way to help overcome this. Facebook will even send your page followers a notification when start or schedule.
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make Facebook Live work for your organization.
  • Facebook Live is another way to connect with patients where they are spending considerable amounts of time each day – on Facebook.


Get Started with Facebook Live

  • woman in headphones sat laptop - engaging with audience by answering Facebook live questionsYou don’t have to have a special video camera, an iPhone works great.
  • Polish up your efforts with a few extra items including a camera mount, tripod, lapel mics to isolate sound and simple lighting. Also, Mevo (“a tv studio in your pocket”) is an app (and more) that allows you to look like you’ve got multiple cameras, allows for on-the-fly editing, is easy to use, requires no video editing experience and can really take your live stream to the next level. Learn more at getmevo.com.


Tips for Best Results

  • Always have two people to manage the live stream as it is more than one person can do alone, especially if you get a lot of engagement on your video.
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection. VERY IMPORTANT.
  • Promote your live stream in advance. Promote not only on Facebook but Instagram and any other social channels you use. Ask your audience to sign up for a reminder.
  • As per social media best practices, don’t use Facebook Live to sell, but rather to establish your organization or employee as a thought leader and a resource to the community you serve.
  • Keep your production authentic. It is ok that your Facebook Live stream is not Spielberg quality.
  • Strategy first and tactics next. Use Facebook Live for the benefit of the audience, not just because it is fun and cool.
  • Engage with your audience. If people comment questions, answer them in your live video. After the video is over, respond to all of the comment questions so others have the answers, too.
  • Have a lengthy event? Don’t just “set it and forget it”. Best to break up the event into manageable snippets, do interviews in between highlights. Remember to announce often where you are and what you are doing for those who tune in later.
  • Lunch is a good time to go live, as are evenings. However, the majority of the engagement is AFTER the fact.
  • Look outside of healthcare at organizations and brands that are successfully using Facebook Live. Here are a few brands effectively using Facebook Live.
  • Practice, practice, practice… Use Facebook Live personally to learn how. But no worries, you can change the settings for Facebook Live so no one else sees it, in the “Select Privacy” mode, choose “Only me”.
  • Be sure to use Facebook analytics to provide insight and learn how you can fine tune and improve your Facebook Live efforts.
  • Facebook also offers these tips for using Facebook Live


Ways to Use Facebook Live

  • Use in place of, or in addition to a press release. News departments are short staffed and they can’t always cover events. For media outlets not able to attend, send them a link to the stream. They can then use some of the footage and include your event in their news report.
  • Interview physicians or demonstrate new technology and procedures.
  • Boost the value of your sponsorships so that you get more than just your logo on a flyer or t-shirt.
  • Appeal to your audience’s curiosity. The examples the presenters gave was about taking a tour of the electrophysiology lab or showcase a renovation.
  • Promote events at your hospital. But always ask, “Is this important to our audience? Is it relevant?” Don’t go live just for the sake of it.


Are you using Facebook Live for your hospital or healthcare organization? We would love to see how you are doing it. Share with us, won’t you?


Blog post written by Lori Moore, Senior Account Manager for TotalCom Marketing Communications. Reach Lori Moore by email or phone at 205.345.7363.

hospital marketing plan with multiple factors

Creating a Hospital Marketing Plan that Works

A sound hospital marketing plan is the difference between success and failure when it comes to marketing a hospital system.

Competition is fierce, and there’s no margin for error. Trying to promote a hospital without a proven, well-structured strategy can result in a lot of wasted money and patients lost to other providers.


Things to Consider when Crafting a Hospital Marketing Plan

Marketing for hospitals can be quite unlike marketing for other organizations in other industries – or even within healthcare.

Hospitals, for starters, have a lot of different and diverse stakeholders. Hospital marketing teams have to market the hospital itself, any associated facilities in the system, plus every practice and specialty area the hospital offers – from cardiology to orthopedic surgery, OB/GYN, and the like. The larger the hospital system, the more difficult the balancing act becomes.

Hospitals also have to market before there’s a need. That’s because it’s impossible to predict when someone will need to go to the emergency room or see a primary care provider, etc. Patients choose hospitals in reaction to health issues, except for when they are either looking for a PCP (because they just moved there or have not had one) or are changing providers.

In both cases, brand recognition and awareness is extremely important, which presents a unique challenge to a marketing team.

A plan has to consider these things but also needs to be quantifiable, especially with tight budgets. A hospital marketing plan has to be carefully aligned with quantified business outcomes. Put another way, it has to be able to generate real, verifiable return in order to justify itself and the marketing team that executes it.

Hospitals these days cannot afford to waste marketing dollars. The plan has to be scientific in design to increase the chances that it will do its job and generate revenue for the hospital.


Key Components of a Successful Marketing Plan

There are a few key components that every successful hospital marketing plan has:

  1. Strategic, metric-bound goals: The hospital’s tangible, quantifiable objectives become the goals of the marketing plan. There need to be metrics in place by which progress toward these goals can be measured.
  2. Clear definition of stakeholders and target audiences: The plan needs to clarify who the plan is intended to market and market to, for stakeholders and potential patients, respectively.
  3. Analytical system to measure results: The plan needs to define how progress will be analyzed and tracked.
  4. Outline of target channels: A plan can use a variety of channels and methods to achieve its goals. Which ones are chosen should depend on the goals and target audience analysis contained within the plan.
  5. Concrete, yet flexible processes: A plan should define the processes that will be used to execute the plan. These could include anything from how content is conceptualized and created to an advertising calendar. The processes should be clearly defined yet flexible because the field is constantly changing.

If structured correctly – based on goals, a deep understanding of one’s audience, and the best way to reach them – a hospital marketing plan can be tremendously successful. This will give the system the best chance at competing in a tight market.

TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information and see what stories we can tell for you.

telemedicine conference call with doctor - hospital marketing trends

The 3 Hospital Marketing Trends You Need to Know

Hospital marketing is competitive. Only in rural areas do you have only one hospital provider, and even those systems have to compete with private practice. So, in all markets, hospital marketing is essential – and yet it can be difficult to differentiate.

By understanding the latest trends, you can outperform your competition that may not be following those same trends. There is a lot going on in the marketing industry now that is exciting and effective – and your hospital needs to take notice.


Live Video Is Becoming King

Video has long been a major player in marketing. Video creates more engagement than any other format and creates positive associations between a brand and viewers.

The latest trend in video comes in the form of live, real-time, streaming video. Whether you see it on Facebook, YouTube, or an individual website, live video is dominating because it generates a lot of engagement.

Hospitals can take advantage by streaming health-related content, which is enormously popular. Just look at the fact that WebMD is the 129th most popular website in the country. Video can be better at communicating information because it naturally captivates people and catches – and holds – their interest better than text alone.

Consider the health experts you have at your disposal. Find personable, relatable, camera-friendly personnel to go live and present the latest findings and tips in medicine to help your target audience.


Telemedicine Is Becoming More Popular

For years, hospitals shrank away from telemedicine because it was expensive and limited. Now, those barriers have fallen away, and telemedicine has become more accessible to hospitals – and more in demand from patients.

If you can create a telemedicine service, that gives you a huge advantage from a marketing standpoint. There is also a natural synergy between telemedicine and digital marketing. People who are prospects for one are natural users of the other. Put another way, if someone can be reached effectively through Facebook, Instagram, or mobile search, they are more likely to enjoy the benefits of telemedicine.

We encourage you to at least consider and evaluate telemedicine as a service option, not just for better patient satisfaction, but for more effective marketing options.


Location-Based Marketing Is More Important than Ever Before

Hospitals depend on geography for their patients. Patients tend to go to the closest hospital. That is not just dependent upon where they live, but where they are at that moment.

Location-based marketing, through geofencing, can deliver the right message at the right time to the right place. If someone is in a particular area, you can target them with your message and ads through their mobile device while they are on the move. You can also target them through other methods if they are in a home or office within your service area.

You can even target specific neighborhoods if you want to increase the number of patients you see from that neighborhood. A rigorous analytics approach at your hospital can tell you where your patients live – and where they don’t live. The same goes for where they work. You can then use geofencing to market accordingly.

What are some ways you can use these trends in a creative manner to get better results?

TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information and see what stories we can tell for you.

Google Just Changed Its Online Review Terms. Here’s What That Means

Google online review on smartphone - TotalCom healthcare hospital marketing

Online reviews are extremely important for hospitals these days. The more good reviews you have, the more people will want to choose your hospital and your providers for their healthcare needs. The more negative reviews you have, the more people will want to stay away.

Online reviews also have a big influence on your website’s search engine results. That’s why hospitals want as many good reviews as they can get, and they’ll go to great lengths to achieve them.

Google, one of the main sources for online reviews, knows this and recently changed its review policies to regulate how, exactly, businesses solicit these reviews.


How the Review Game is Changing

Google thinks it’s perfectly okay to ask someone to leave a review. They want you to, in fact. But what they don’t want you to do is provide some kind of incentive for them to leave a positive one.

And they don’t want you to create something called a review funnel to get only good reviews.

A review funnel is pretty straightforward. You send an email or a link to a customer. They are asked to rate your business. If the rating is a good one, then they are sent to a place where they can leave the actual review, on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.

If the rating is a bad one, the reviewer is sent somewhere else, usually a screen that has a quick survey they can fill out to provide feedback. They are not sent to a place where they can leave a review, though.

The end result: by using a review funnel, you’re selecting for only positive reviews.

Google now says that is not allowed and has banned the use of review funnels in this way.


What Can You Do Now?

Review funnels are very effective – too effective, it seems, for Google’s liking. So what can you do instead to get more positive reviews?

You can actually still use a review funnel. You just need to give the negative rater an option to leave a review, just like everyone else.

“But won’t they just leave a negative review?” Probably, but here’s the thing: you need more reviews, a never-ending supply of reviews, and getting some bad ones here and there is just a risk you’ll have to take to keep up.

Besides, if you’re doing a good job servicing your patients, you won’t have to worry about the negative reviews because they’ll be few and far between.

One thing we want to make clear is that you shouldn’t let your fear of a few negative reviews keep you from trying to get more positive ones. If you don’t take that chance, you’ll miss out on the huge benefits of online reviews for your hospital.

Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. If you get a bad one, reach out and see what you can do to make it right. Emphasize patient service and taking care of your patients to the utmost of your ability so no one has a reason to rate you negatively.


TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information and see what stories we can tell for you.

How Creative Are Your New Healthcare Campaigns Really?

You’ve heard the adage, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” It’s true! If you’re looking to create a new brand for your hospital, promote a new service line or procedure or gain market share, it may be time to think outside of the box. Consider these creative ways to send a new message.



How can your advertisements serve another purpose than getting your message to the masses? It can be easy to overlook an ad that is mostly fine print and technical jargon. Monash University created wristbands for an event that were used to identify who’s ID had been checked to allow them to purchase drinks, but they had a secondary use. The user could place a drop of their drink on a designated spot on the wristband to detect if common drugs had been used to spike their drink.

Consider the true message you want to send. Monash University wanted to make sure that those who were drinking were of age, but went even further to ensure that they were being safe while drinking. Think about how your message can reach further than the page, especially in print ads.


Use Your Staff

How often do you run a campaign that looks successful on your computer but didn’t seem to make as big of an impact as you wanted? Maybe the hospital’s staff isn’t being utilized to the fullest extent.

We know that doctors, nurses and administrative staff have a lot on their plates, but something as simple as wearing a button about a current campaign can have a significant effect. Many times, people see advertisements for a new service but can’t remember the name once they arrive at the doctor’s office. Or even worse, the staff members aren’t aware of the campaign and unable to answer any questions the patient may have. When prepared, your staff can have a remarkable impact on a campaign.


Provide Inspiration

It’s true – people have access to a wealth of knowledge online with just one search. When it comes to big topics like cancer, how can your organization stand out in the middle of all of these long, technical terms and a potentially bleak outlook?

After they’ve found the information on their issue or diagnosis, they need tend to look for something else – hope. Providing these patients with a community of people that have been in their shoes is comforting when a diagnosis, treatment and every day can be shocking. If you give them access to testimonials and inspiration, it can be much more compelling than information that can look the same from site to site.


If you are ready to send a new message or strengthen your current message within the healthcare industry, contact TotalCom Marketing!

digital healthcare marketing resolutions

Digital Healthcare Marketing Resolutions for 2018

We’re at the beginning of a new year.

Now is the perfect time to take a step back, analyze the what you did over the past 12 months, and build a strong plan for 2018.

This may seem like a daunting task. That’s why you should start planning now. We’re giving you a checklist of the most important things you should do in the coming weeks.

  • Ensure business listings are accurate

If you’re not already on top of this, potential customers may end up someplace other than your healthcare facility. Don’t let old phone numbers or former street addresses drive your customers to the wrong hospital or clinic. Fix whatever data errors you can this year, and make a New Year’s Resolution to keep an eye on it during 2018.

  • Add special hours to Google My Business

With the end of one year and beginning of a new one, hours can change. Maybe your clinic is changing hours in the new year. Either way, add your new or extended hours to your Google My Business page. No customer wants to show up at your clinic and find you are closed for the day when Google says differently. Negative brand impressions lead to negative reviews of your healthcare business, so check these hours twice.

  • Social media ready to go

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest that your customers rely on most, start brainstorming ideas for healthcare content in the new year. Don’t leave it to last-minute scrambles to think of something to say. Make a spreadsheet and schedule days and content for your posts.

  • Website pages updated

Been putting off updating your site’s blog or adding that new employee to the site? Get on it now to ensure everything is crossed of your list when January rolls around. Customers like a completed, up-to-date site, and you will too.

  • Review ready

While many people are cherishing this time of year and in the jolliest of moods, there will still be unhappy reviews coming in. Be prepared for reviews, both good and bad, in 2018. Come up with a strategic plan on how to handle and respond reviews about your facility in a timely manner. Make sure everyone in your company who handles reviews is well versed in the plan as well.


The start of a new year is a great time to get started on these healthcare marketing resolutions. But get ahead of your digital resolutions now so they don’t get pushed aside until 2019. If this list seems too daunting to handle on your own, let TotalCom help! Contact us today.


iPhone X Facial Recognition

Could the iPhone X Change Digital Advertising?

You took the plunge about the iPhone X and you’re not even sure if you’re supposed to say iPhone X or iPhone ten.

But what’s the big difference between this model and the one you had before collecting a new monthly payment added to your stack of bills?

Facial recognition is the big difference. Are you unlocking your phone or is it unlocking you? This could bring in a new era for marketers. Since the announcement of the iPhone X, facial recognition has quickly become the topic of dinner conversations everywhere. Facial recognition used to be reserved for top secret labs or something you saw the President use in a movie. But now we have access to it as well (celebrities, they’re just like us!)

While this feature is marketed as a security function for unlocking your phone, a consumer device used by the masses is a seriously powerful technology.

It is said 90% of personal communications is nonverbal. Every day there are instances where we don’t understand the nonverbal cues of the person on the other end of our screens. We use emojis and GIFs to try and share emotion within our digital interactions.

For all of us in the communications business, we know good experiences lead to trust and loyalty while bad experiences lead to brand rejection. So what could we do as marketers if we were able to obtain real-time reactions from a consumers? Imagine a world where we have access to consumer’s facial expressions and emotional cues in reaction to products and brands?

If we could access the facial cues from patients waiting for an extended time in the emergency room? The excitement on someone’s face when they try out a restaurant’s new dish. Or the skepticism on your face when you’re indulging in a purchase you shouldn’t be.

Currently, Apple is keeping detailed facial recognition data local on the phone and not storing it on its servers. App makers can use the iPhone X, with the user’s permission, to read a rough map of a stream of facial expressions. While Apple may never store this information for public use, it’s interesting to think about a world where we design advertisements based on the most unique human feature. This technology would tell us more about our consumers than we’ve ever known before.

Digital advertising can be hard to keep up with, let us do the work for you. Contact TotalCom today.