Hospital marketing is a challenge. Engaging consumers and convincing them to turn to your physicians and services – all while building brand recognition and authority and expanding reach to new potential patients.
It helps to identify important hospital marketing trends that will make an impact over the next year. In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at trends to follow in 2016, but for now, we’ll examine three trends that have made an impact in 2015 and should be followed today.
Here are three important hospital marketing trends to include in your marketing campaign, if you haven’t already.
Tap Into Search Marketing
Before the average patient ever sees a doctor, he or she will have searched online for answers to their symptoms and problems. In fact, 72 percent of Internet users reported looking online for health-related information within the past 12 months, according to Pew Research. This is why WebMD is so popular. This is why countless other sites including medical reviews exist – to provide a steady supply of health-related information for people searching for it.
A hospital has to find ways to tap into search. This is not so much a trend as it is a way of life.
The more information a patient gets from a source online, the more likely it is that that patient will use that facilities services. Tapping into search can mean taking advantage of SEO and SEM, writing blogs with keywords relevant to searches (i.e. find what health questions people are asking online and then writing blogs focused on those answers), and even spreading the message through guest posts and articles that link back to the main hospital website.
This leads us to another major trend: having a robust repository of knowledge.
Create Content and Post
This is another trend that is more like a way of life. A hospital’s website should be a virtual resource for health-related information, complete with topics that help patients find answers to their problems before they ever see a doctor.
This can take many forms. We recommend a hospital blog. But other options are static content that reads like an online encyclopedia or a FAQ page.
The content should then be re-purposed across all of your channels. It also forms great material for PR pitches, both traditional and digital.
Use a Reputation Management Service
Over 60 percent of patients use online doctor reviews before choosing a physician. The number of patients who use online physician and hospital reviews jumped by 68 percent from 2013 to 2014. These two stats alone reveal just how important it is to use some kind of reputation management service for your hospital.
A service can gather reviews and encourage patients to leave reviews on websites. They can also curate these reviews and let you know when one has been posted. Review tracking is a powerful way to manage your reputation, as is the ability to reach out to patients and encourage them to actually create a review. More and more patients are leaving reviews these days, but the more positive ones you have, the better your reputation will be.
Social media is a strong channel for this. You can solicit reviews and have them on your Facebook page, as well as direct patients and followers to external websites for reviews.
Reach for Better Hospital Marketing in 2016
In the coming weeks, check back here for what we expect to be crucial in 2016 for hospital marketing. For now, form a plan to implement the trends outlined here.
ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grandkids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!