Healthcare Marketing

How to Choose a Healthcare Marketing Agency

even points to consider when selecting a healthcare marketing agency

Seven Points to Consider When Selecting a Healthcare Marketing Agency

Unless you’ve been lucky enough to escape downsizing, healthcare marketing departments often need to contract with outside agencies for tasks that your team cannot handle on its own. Consider these seven points before starting the search for .

1. Healthcare Marketing Experience.

An outside agency can add creativity and expertise to the in-house team. It also lends a third-party perspective that sometimes leverages more weight with the C-suite. However, ensure that the agency has healthcare marketing experience and proven results to back up dazzling visuals and lofty recommendations.

Healthcare industry experience is necessary due to standards and regulations that physicians and hospitals are required to follow.  The account team must be familiar with HIPAA compliance, CMS, and FDA regulations to craft marketing messages.

2. Creative Capabilities.

Creative talent should be evident from the onset, starting with the marketing agency’s website and digital presence. It can also reveal their intangible personality.  The best way to discover what they can do is by getting to know them. Conduct initial research and select two or three agencies that interest you. Talk with them; invite them to visit; figure out if there’s chemistry.

Instead of the requisite “request for proposal,” issue a “request for partnership.” While many agencies won’t do spec creative, assign a project, even at a nominal fee, to a couple at the top of your list. This can provide a preview of their creativity. You want to see innovation and vision. Look for “wow” moments.

3. Mutually Beneficial Partnership.

A successful relationship between client and agency is a 50-50 partnership. Producing the desired marketing results requires collaboration, transparency, mutual respect and realistic expectations on each side’s part.

One healthcare marketing director recently shared his thoughts about forging a client-agency partnership, explaining that the client needs to have a level of trust and confidence in the agency. For their part, the agency must have the skills and expertise to prove their worth to the client.

4. Financial Discussion.

The quickest way for relationships to break down is over money. During the review process, ask about billing, fees, retainers, up charges and rate sheets. Open and transparent discussions at the beginning can prevent misunderstandings later.

Before work starts on your account, define the process for authorizations, approvals and change orders so both sides share the same expectations. Failure to have these discussions can lead to loss of trust later.

5. Measurable Goals.

When reviewing a healthcare marketing agency’s portfolio, ask about results and case studies that include quantified measures of success. Just as with talks about money, work openly with the agency to establish performance criteria at the onset.

Beware of results that seem too good to be true—those probably can’t be proven. In the age of digital marketing, analytics are readily accessible to both client and agency to help direct the marketing spend and move the needle.

6. Relationships and Responsiveness.

Like all interpersonal relationships, people usually work best with people they like. We measure our own client relationships not just by the longevity of the account but those that produced lasting friendships.  Chemistry is the number factor in a successful agency-client relatioinship.

Ask about the team, along with bios, likely to be assigned to your account. You want experienced marketing professionals with proven credentials and core values that align with your own.

Talk to some of their current clients to discover how they interact with the agency and their responsiveness.

Establishing a successful relationship with your account services team depends, in part, on flexibility, responsiveness and willingness to listen. With the right chemistry, they can become an extension of your marketing team.

Evaluation of healthcare marketing agencies includes their research capabilities, knowledge of trends in the healthcare industry and familiarity of the local market.

Research and data should drive the development of any campaign. Review qualitative and quantitative research processes. With the myriad changes in the marketplace knowledge of trends within the marketing industry and familiarity with current media options and effectiveness is essential.

Even if an agency hasn’t worked with other local clients, their ability to learn the market and assimilate into the community can help increase your brand awareness.

Checking off these points makes the process of selecting a healthcare marketing agency easier.

TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us to explore if we might be a good fit for your organization.

Should You Go All-in on Brand Marketing?

Healthcare systems across the country seem to be jumping back on the branding wagon. They are hiring marketing vice presidents from consumer brand companies and engaging multinational advertising agencies. The idea is to create a pull strategy that causes consumers to demand your healthcare system. That, in turn, gives you leverage when negotiating insurance reimbursement rates.

But will new logos and television ads alone create that demand?

Probably not.

Designer team sketching a logo in digital design studio on computer, creative graphic drawing skills for marketing and branding (own design elements on the computer screen)
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Review rating bubble speeches on computer vector illustration, flat style laptop reviews stars with good, bad rate, concept of customer testimonials messages, notifications, feedback experience

Responding to Three-Star Reviews of Your Hospital or Doctors

You have alerts set up and scour review sites for those dreaded one- and two-star ratings. You jump on the ones that start with, “If I could have given ZERO stars, I would have.” And rightfully so. How you respond to negative reviews affects not only your relationship with the reviewer but your reputation with anyone who reads it forever after. But it’s just as important to respond to neutral reviews for a few reasons:

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Managing Your Hospital’s Reputation

Why Reputation Management Is Key for Hospital Marketing

At the doctor's office, a female doctor is performing a checkup on a young girl.

Reputation is everything in business. It’s even more important for hospital marketing because a hospital’s reputation is its most important asset.

Without a strong reputation, your hospital’s patient intake will suffer. After all, people don’t want to entrust their health to a hospital that has a poor reputation. (more…)

Make Your Community Hospital Standout with Hospital Marketing

How to Make Your Community Hospital Stand Out with Hospital Marketing

Medical staff and patients with hands togetherRunning a community hospital in an area dominated by larger hospitals with more brand recognition and bigger budgets can be very difficult. It’s hard to stand out unless you have a convincing brand value proposition, a competitive advantage to exploit, and a smart hospital marketing strategy to gain market awareness. (more…)

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. (more…)

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.

 

Utility

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.

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.

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 top-notch hospital marketing campaign, no matter your competitive situation.

Understand Your Market Well

A lot of marketing campaigns are built on intuition and going by your gut. A precious few are based on solid, tangible market knowledge.

The best way to understand your market is through market research. Market research lets you get inside the minds of potential patients. You’ll learn what they value in a doctor or a hospital, their key decision-making factors, and how they emotionally react to messages, branding elements, and the like.

You can use this research to create patient personas that help you pinpoint the demographic and psychographic elements of a typical patient, so you can better tailor your key messages.

You’ll also learn more about where your patients are and how to reach them, which lets you choose your channels wisely.

understanding your market is a balancing act

Prioritize Your Objectives

A hospital marketing campaign needs to be well-structured. But, this can be challenging since structure implies prioritization – given limited resources – and yet there are so many service lines to consider.

Since you have a limited budget, you’ll need to figure out a priority list. That list could shift and change as the year progresses, which is fine, but you need some idea of how you’ll allocate your limited resources.

Some of this is a business decision the hospital administration will have to make based on their patient growth targets. Other portions will be based on revenue goals; some service lines may have more revenue potential or higher profit margin than others.

You’ll have to determine which objectives are most important so you can structure your campaign appropriately.

Tie Everything Together

No matter what you do – post on social media, run PPC ads, buy billboards, take out print ads, run commercials on TV and radio – you’ll benefit from tying these various tactics together.

This is where the campaign-style format works best. A campaign ties everything around a central theme. The theme is replicated in each channel with each tactic, so there’s a unified message. This is much better than a person seeing 10 different messages from 10 different touch-points for your hospital.

Choosing the campaign-style format for your marketing strategy will help you better organize and allocate your resources. It’ll also make your efforts more successful.

Following these three pieces of advice will help create a more robust hospital marketing strategy that can carve out competitive advantages and win 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 or view our previous work and see what stories we can tell for you.