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

I 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 […]

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 […]

creating a hospital marketing plan with the right ingredients is important - how will you best help your audience?

3 Ways to Craft an Outstanding Hospital Marketing Campaign

Hospital marketing is competitive, especially if you’re in an urban setting where there are multiple hospitals to choose from – and a wealth of private practitioners, too. Structuring your campaign the right way goes a long way toward capturing market share and increasing your patient flow. Here are three key ways you can prepare a […]

A Guide to Keyword Research for Your Healthcare Facility

There’s no need for me to go on and on about why keyword research is essential for your hospital’s marketing success. It is important however, to note there is no universal approach to executing keyword research. It will vary based on: Website (authority, number of pages, quality of content, etc); Goals and objectives (branding, exposure, […]

Hospital Social Media Strategy Checklist

Are you satisfied with your hospital’s social media efforts?  Perhaps it is time to review and possibly revise your social media strategy. Here are some social media strategy DO’s and DONT’s for healthcare marketers. Common Mistakes in Hospital Social Media Strategy FIrst of all, taking a look at what “NOT” to do can be helpful. […]

media buying strategy

Hospital Marketing: Media Buying Negotiations

As any hospital marketing director knows, media buying is essential to the success of a marketing campaign. But one overlooked skill in buying media is negotiation.

Negotiating is key because ad budgets are limited, and the better the rates you can get for your placements, the more reach you can effectively generate. Also, advertising space is not unlimited, which creates a need for negotiating and being selective when choosing channels.

Here are tips for negotiating during your media buying process to get the best deals from your vendors.

Negotiating Radio and Broadcast

Generally, rates for radio are negotiable because there is a fixed amount of inventory. Competition drives prices for these rates up; a lack of competition pushes them down. Fortunately, there is usually a wealth of radio outlets in a given market (if it’s large enough), which means you will more than likely have several chances to reach your target audience. This helps you because you can play one station against another and get lower rates.

For broadcast, that same principle applies. Another principle is timing. Since many broadcast outlets publish their fall schedules in May, buying at that time can give you special deals and packages in an effort to convince you to pay early in the year.

Negotiating with Print

Print is a different animal than broadcast and radio because there are few opportunities to negotiate on rate. Rather, what you’re negotiating for is what comes with your buy i.e., other services they can include, such as additional ads, special positioning, reader response cards, free color, and so on.

Since many print outlets are now also digital outlets, there are even package deals with their online properties and ad networks that can be negotiated for. (Often this works in reverse, too; if you are placing ads digitally with them, they often offer special incentives to place ads in the print edition as well.)

Hiring a Hospital Marketing Agency

The best all-around negotiating advice is to leave it to the professionals who negotiate regularly with media buying representatives at outlets. Agencies are advantageous for hospitals because they not only have experience, but also have established relationships with outlets over the years that can be used to your advantage.

Managing media and ad buying is not easy. Hire an experienced hospital marketing agency to help you develop your marketing network and manage your media purchases. Learn how with Jimmy Warren at TotalCom Marketing today!

precision marketing

Is Precision Marketing the New Strategy for Hospital Marketing?

Many buzzwords are thrown around in the marketing field. One of the newer ones is precision marketing, a term to describe a data-driven, individualized approach to marketing that seeks to create loyal customers through highly targeted campaigns based on customer segmentation. Its goal is to retain existing customers rather than acquire new ones.

This makes sense, given that creating a new customer costs five to 10 times as much as selling to a customer you already have. In hospital marketing, your customers are patients, and you want them to return to your providers for years of treatment rather than go elsewhere.

Is precision marketing a viable strategy for hospital marketing? Or, is it yet another new buzzword with few practical implications?

Examining Precision Marketing in Detail

The major foundation of precision marketing is using data to help drive desired patient retention outcomes. For this reason, precision marketing is most often executed using digital marketing campaigns.

Digital marketing gives a hospital access to technology that can not only reach a large number of people in a small amount of time (using a smaller percentage of a marketing budget), but can also segment these individuals and target demographics with a laser focus.

For example, a hospital that seeks to retain obstetrics patients know that the typical customer for that department is female aged 20 to 35. Using social media and digital ad buys, a hospital can focus on that demographic and spread the message about the obstetrics practice. A hospital can also use a combination of surveys, social media, email marketing, and ad retargeting to directly target and illicit data from current and previous patients to not only learn more about their behaviors, but also build loyalty through repeated outreach and touchpoints.

The idea is that a personalized approach using data is preferable to mass-market appeals, especially with such a personalized and emotional field like healthcare. Customers are getting turned off and desensitized to marketing messages, which necessitates a more personalized approach.

Incorporating Precision Marketing into a Hospital Marketing Strategy

How does a hospital take advantage of this marketing method?

A hospital must first invest in a digital strategy. Precision marketing is best used in conjunction with a fully involved, multi faceted digital marketing campaign. Only digital provides the tools to combine data collection with coordinated, personalized reach to the individual.

Additionally, a hospital must invest in data collection and analysis. There must be a more concerted effort to build in-depth profiles about typical patients and demographics. Profiles should be as precise as possible. This allows the marketing department to build customized and personalized messages to be distributed via social, email, ads, direct mail, and more.

Furthermore, a hospital should invest in technology that allows advertising dollars to be spent in a more targeted manner, instead of a mass-market approach. For example, banner ads can be useful, but what is more useful is ad retargeting – ads that target visitors to a hospital’s website and then follow them around on the Internet for up to 120 days or beyond. These are more effective in connecting with current or previous patients and encourage visitors to revisit a website – which dramatically increases their chances of seeking the hospital for services in the future.

Taking the hospital marketing game to the next level means learning to adopt what works from precision marketing and using it to fill out a hospital’s digital efforts. Adopting the approach of data collection, analysis, market segmentation, and personalized approaches using a digital framework of message delivery could be a potent combination for hospitals in today’s age.

Contact TotalCom to learn more about precision marketing in hospital marketing campaigns.

primary care

The Growing Need to Market Primary Care in Hospital Marketing

The rise of alternative ways to access primary care – namely through the advent of primary care services offered by pharmacies, such as flu shots, medication management, and health/wellness advice – poses a challenge for hospitals that traditionally have relied on the strength of their primary care physicians to attract new patients.

Now, in today’s world, patients are turning to sources outside of hospitals to find primary care providers and are turning to hospitals either for specialty services or for emergencies – leaving a hole in a facility’s patient-acquisition funnel.

This leaves contemporary hospitals with a hospital marketing challenge: attracting new patients to a system for primary care versus only conducting service-oriented marketing campaigns that emphasize a specialty.

While there is still a place for specialty service oriented hospital marketing, the time is now for hospitals to take seriously the task of promoting their primary care physicians to the public.

The Role of a PCP as a Care Manager

These days, patients look to PCPs to serve as overall care managers instead of merely being care providers.

Patients aren’t going to PCPs so much for routine care as they are advice and guidance with managing everything from prescriptions to specialty care. In this way, a PCP is a gateway provider to a wide range of specialty services that a hospital provides. The PCP, in this respect, has become the main source of referrals to more specialized services – a source that, as time as gone by, has gotten away from hospitals and into the realm of private practice and non-hospital, non-clinic providers (like major pharmacies).

The rise of the Internet has also caused the role of the PCP to change. Patients are becoming more accustomed to self-diagnosing online and contacting a PCP only for a referral to a specialist. When viewed in this context, a PCP is no longer the frontline provider but instead is a portal to other services.

Since patients are looking for PCPs to be care managers, it’s important that hospital marketing campaigns portray them as such, and promote a PCPs as trusted, reliable resources for overall health and wellness for patients, especially since our population is aging.

Hospital Marketing Campaigns for Primary Care

To remain competitive, and to be a top-of-mind choice for initial care, hospitals need to do a better job of marketing their primary care physicians and promoting them to potential patients who are always in need of medical consultation and information.

Paid Search Advertising

One direct way to reach potential customers is to use paid search ads to promote individual physicians. These days, it appears that most marketing budgets go toward specialty care, leaving individual doctors behind. But even PCPs need concerted marketing support, and paid search can offer that in the form of clicks to individual doctors’ websites from people who are searching either for PCPs themselves (such as “family doctors in _____”) or information.

Content Marketing

Each PCP on staff should also be actively involved in content marketing, in the form of contributing to bylined blogs and articles.

Since patients are searching for this information, having a PCP deliver it in a trustworthy, reliable format (that is also easy to read) is enticing to a typical patient or parent who is choosing a PCP for the family. Content ideally should come from the doctors themselves and should be informative, educational, and engaging – offering advice and consultation for health and wellness that most patients will find useful.

Social Media Advertising

Promoting PCPs on social media is also effective, especially when coupled with social media advertising targeted toward those searching for providers online. Facebook in particular is a powerful platform for promoting posts featuring content from a highlighted doctor or for creating ads specifically designed to either promote a piece of content on the website (and by extension, the doctor whose name appears on it) or the physicians themselves.

The goal in all of these channels is to promote a hospital’s primary care physicians as the first-recourse resources. The benefits of taking a primary care centered approach are numerous, but most hospitals still shy away from emphasizing primary care in their hospital marketing campaigns.

Contact TotalCom for more information on how you can forge a new hospital marketing campaign that places the spotlight on primary care and opens the gates for new patients.

 

 

 

social media strategy

Creating a Sophisticated Hospital Social Media Strategy

 

 

Social media has become a pillar of hospital marketing – and its importance grows every year. According to surveys, nearly 99 percent of all hospitals in the nation are on social media in some facet. But according to the same surveys, only 17 percent believe their social media efforts have been “very effective”.

The disparity comes in the level of sophistication of the social media strategies being implemented. Most providers’ social media efforts are rudimentary at best. These hospitals have social media accounts, but don’t maximize its effectiveness.

Common Mistakes with Hospital Social Media Strategies

This failure to properly implement social media is resulting in such a low satisfaction rate across the nation. (It must be said that those who are satisfied with social media have had great success with the channel, meaning that doing it well may very well be worth the effort.)

Common mistakes include:

  • Lacking a cohesive social media strategy: Many facilities have only a rough idea of what they’d like to accomplish, and haven’t defined goals, objectives, methods, metrics, or anything more specific than “We need to be on Facebook.”
  • Not creating a content calendar: One problem facilities run into is not knowing what to talk about. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process so a marketing department can know what to say, and when to say it.
  • Not sticking to a firm schedule: Most posting is haphazard. To be successful, content must be posted at a regular interval, at opportune times.
  • Leaving social media only to the marketing department. Sophisticated social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility, not just the marketing department. Though it must be managed and overseen by the marketing department.
  • Not having a procedure for responding to visitors. Your patients will attempt to engage with the hospital online; not having a system for handling these comments and responses will hinder the success of the strategy.

These mistakes are preventing hospitals from the level of sophistication that is required for optimal results.

Essential Elements of a Viable Strategy

Creating a sophisticated strategy for a hospital marketing approach require a few essential elements, such as:

  • Who will be responsible?
  • What topics will be discussed?
  • Where will the hospital pull its information for content?
  • Who will create the content?
  • What processes are in place to involve doctors and other professionals?
  • How often will content be posted?
    What procedure will be in place to handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other marketing efforts and channels?
  • What budget does the hospital have for boosting posts and creating ads?
  • What are the demographics of the target audience for social media advertising?
  • What pages on the website will we want to send traffic to from social media platforms?

Answering those questions will go a long way toward creating a sophisticated social media strategy for a hospital that is looking to increase engagement, boost brand reputation, and enhance word-of-mouth marketing for new patients.

Contact TotalCom Hospital Marketing for a hospital marketing agency that understands social media and how to execute it with a layer of sophistication that gets results.

social media strategy

Do’s and Don’ts of Hospital Social Media Strategy

Social media has become a pillar of hospital marketing – and its importance grows every year. According to surveys, nearly 99 percent of all hospitals in the nation are on social media in some facet. But according to the same surveys, only 17 percent believe their social media efforts have been “very effective”. The disparity […]