The good news is many patients won’t need your services for years at a time. The bad news is many patients won’t need your services for years at a time. While you’re glad people are staying healthy and don’t need your hospital, you also don’t want them to forget about you when they do need medical care.
Enter relationship marketing. Relationship marketing focuses on fostering long-term brand loyalty rather than short-term, sales-driven campaigns. Create a relationship with people, and you’ll make yourself the obvious choice for the next time they need healthcare.
Relationship marketing takes time and patience. The key is staying the course. Here are five ideas for building long-term relationships with your target audience.
Community Health Fairs
You may be tempted to nix community health fairs during budget cuts. After all, they’re a lot of work and don’t tend to be ROI winners in the short-term. But they have a place in your relationship marketing plan. Community health fairs are one of the few chances you have each year to be face-to-face with consumers in your market. So recruit your warmest, most likable staff and physicians to conduct screenings, staff information tables and lead healthy cooking demonstrations. The best part is, even the people who don’t come will look favorably on your organization for getting involved in the community.
Relevant Local Content
As a community hospital or small healthcare system, you don’t need to have the most health and wellness content online. What you need is the best local health and wellness content. So instead of trying to compete with the Mayo Clinics and the Johns Hopkins of the world, your goal should be to have solid, informative content related to the health needs of your community. In Colorado where residents are health savvy and active, content around sports injuries is important while content about diabetes is more important in communities that struggle with high rates of obesity. You also should know and account for differences in healthcare services at the local level. National websites need to cover all the bases—and usually focus on the most common services. But if your hospital has advanced 3D mammography or robotic-assisted spine surgery, be sure to give residents that information and point out that it is unique to your area.
Be A Well-Wisher
Send seasons’ greetings and happy birthday messages. Follow up any type of treatment with a “Hope you’re feeling better!” note. Sure, they may get tossed right in the recycling bin, but people appreciate thoughtfulness—particularly the elderly who take note of such niceties.
Expand Your Class Offerings
Hospitals have a wealth of knowledge to share with the public. Yes, childbirth classes are important, but think beyond babies. Why not test parenting classes, sleep seminars, low-cost yoga sessions and more?
Whatever you decide to offer, be sure to update your event schedule often. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve come across outdated and incomplete class schedules floating around on hospital websites. Getting people to your hospital before they need treatment is a huge check in the relationship marketing column. Don’t miss the boat out of laziness.
Stand Out On Social Media
Yes, we all know February is Heart Month. Everyone is doing social now, so you’ve got to dig deeper to get people to pause when your posts show up in their newsfeeds. How about producing a few Tasty-style video recipes of heart-healthy dishes or live Tweeting a patient finishing a marathon after cardiac rehab helped him get back into running shape? Nailing a social strategy is a great way to stay top of mind with potential patients since it’s so pervasive. They’ll remember what hospital gave them the warm and fuzzies when it matters.
Need more ideas? Here are 7 Ways to Make Your Hospital a Social Media Star.
TotalCom Marketing is a full-service healthcare marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories – our clients’ stories. Contact us for more information or view our work here.