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unified hospital marketing and branding

Tips for Creating a Unified Hospital Marketing Brand

Take a look at all of your branded material online — your social media profiles, your website, the blogs you create, the emails you send out, your graphics, your display ads, and anything else that is associated with your brand.

If you were to remove the logos, would all those pieces look similar/related? Would there still be a unified, consistent look among all of those elements — or would you not be able to tell they even came from the same company?

If the latter, you may have a problem with brand consistency for your hospital marketing campaign.

Learn more about why brand consistency is important and how you can build a stronger, more unified brand for your hospital.

Why Brand Consistency Matters

People have an innate ability to recognize patterns. We also have an innate ability to recognize and associate with brands, in that we notice what makes a brand stand out and recognize those elements when we see them later — and also, we build positive or negative connections between a brand and our opinion of it.

For example, seeing a physical example of McDonald’s “Golden Arches” is commonplace. We all know what those arches mean, just as we know what it means when we read McDonald’s tagline, “I’m Lovin’ It” or see one of the company’s advertisements. You could remove the logo entirely from the restaurants and the company’s marketing materials and you’d still be able to tell from the company’s consistent use of various other brand elements that you were standing in a McDonald’s (or reading/viewing a McDonald’s advertisement). And of course, every time you notice one of these elements, you experience emotions and thoughts about the brand (good or bad).

Brand consistency matters because it’s these strong brand connections that ultimately drive business. This is especially important when it comes to hospital marketing. A hospital isn’t a place people go because they want to — they only go there when they need to. And since no one knows exactly when he or she is going to experience that need, it’s important to ensure that your brand is “top of mind” when the time comes. Otherwise, your customer could choose another provider.

The simple truth is, people choose whomever has the strongest, most memorable brand. But you can’t make your brand strong or memorable without also making it consistent, and ensuring that it delivers the same message, no matter where your audience sees it.

Creating Brand Consistency

First and foremost, your hospital should have a brand guide. This is a document that codifies all that the brand is — not just how it looks, but also the brand messages to be communicated. This guide is where you spell out slogans, taglines, core values, messages, talking points, and the like —anything, that is, that can be used to create a message that a potential patient will encounter.

Of course, how a brand looks does also matter, tremendously. That’s why a style guide should be a part of the brand guide. The style guide dictates, to the finest detail, how the brand will look — which is key to ensuring consistency in any graphic you create, whether it’s a Facebook page, a print ad, a display ad, a social media post, an infographic, or a logo for a TV commercial.

Your guide can get very specific in detailing brand directions for each medium. For example, if you run ads on television, your guide can dictate what branding elements will be in each commercial. If you post on social media and create images for the post, you can stipulate what each image must look like and contain.

Everyone on your team needs to have the brand guide and be on board with it. This is crucial for successful hospital marketing. Otherwise, you’ll have different people creating different things — applying brand elements inconsistently across marketing materials. And that lack of consistency dilutes your brand.

Periodically, check your brand and review it to make sure it’s:

  • Coherent
  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Cohesive
  • Convincing

All of these qualities need to be in place, especially the cohesive aspect. Your brand should have the same uniform appearance wherever it appears. Checking it on a regular basis — maybe once a quarter — not only gives you opportunities to revise it if needed, but also keeps everyone on the same page.

Get Better Hospital Marketing with TotalCom

If you’re interested in advancing your hospital marketing campaign with consistent branding across all media, contact TotalCom Marketing. We’d be more than happy to help create winning branding campaigns that improve recognition and build trust within your market.

hospital blog

Essentials for Creating a Hospital Blog

One underutilized component of hospital marketing is a blog.

Many hospitals are on social media, and most hospitals use digital media in addition to traditional media. But few have a dedicated hospital blog focusing on health, patient care, and information – and that’s a missed opportunity.

Take the Cleveland Clinic, for example. The Cleveland Clinic has transformed their website into essentially one giant blog that features daily content from their professionals and providers on a wealth of health-related topics.

People from all over the country go to the Cleveland Clinic website for information and education, meaning this clinic has one of the best, most recognizable brands in the industry.

Any hospital could do this – all it takes is starting with a simple blog and growing it into a dedicated resource for health-related information.

Why a Blog for a Hospital?

What value does a blog have for a hospital?

As any doctor knows, people are hungry for health-related content and will turn to the Internet before they ever think about speaking to a physician. They’ll also get it from anywhere they can – including many places of questionable integrity and veracity.

Because demand is so high for health-related content, a blog makes perfect sense. Through a dedicated blogging program, a hospital can:

  • Help patients by pointing them in the right direction for care
  • Raise the profile of their individual physicians
  • Increase trust and respect in the community for the hospital
  • Boost brand recognition and authority
  • Convert prospects into patients

A blogging campaign, if properly administered, can fulfill all of these functions and be a vital cog in the hospital marketing machine.

Start With a Blog Content Strategy

To begin, every blogging campaign needs a dedicated content strategy.

A content strategy is essential because you want to know what topics you will discuss, how often you will discuss them, and who will be creating the content (or serving as the source for it). This gives the healthcare marketing professional the opportunity to create cohesive, cogent structure for a campaign and plan everything well in advance.

A content strategy for a blog should contain:

  • The target audience
  • Broad topics to cover
  • More specific blog titles (these can be changed as needed)
  • Keywords to focus on
  • Internal links to promote
  • A regular schedule for drafting
  • A regular schedule for posting
  • Who will be responsible for supplying the information (i.e. physicians, department heads, outside sources, etc)

Honing the strategy should be the first step.

Develop a Smart Keyword Plan for Your Hospital Blog

Inside of your content strategy should be a plan around keywords. You should know what keywords you want to focus on and how they’ll be incorporated.

Ideally, choose one focus keyword per blog. Keywords in this context can be the same as those used elsewhere on the website and in online advertising. They can also be a bit more general. “Hospital in Tuscaloosa” may be a target keyword for the website, but a blog keyword could be something like “flu symptoms” or “how to treat diabetes”.

Keywords for a blog generally revolve around what people actually search for when they’re looking for information online. Stick to those keywords instead of keywords that relate to the hospital itself.

Remember: blog posts can rank in search engines, which is one of your ultimate goals.

Develop an Information Gathering System

One of the most valuable hospital marketing assets a facility has are the physicians who work there.

Physicians, nurses, and technicians are the experts in their respective fields. They know what marketing professionals don’t: the ins and outs of a diagnosis, a condition, a treatment, and anything else you’d want to talk about.

Finding a convenient and stress-free way to get information on a regular basis from your experts is the key to any successful blog.

Some doctors like to write and prefer to write posts themselves. Encourage this whenever you can. Most doctors, though, don’t have the time nor the interest to write a post and would rather just give information. That’s fine – develop a system to take their input and turn it into a full-fledged blog.

Distributing and Re-purposing Your Hospital Blog

Once a blog has been written and posted, you need to distribute it.

You can use blog posts as landing pages for ads. You can share them on social media. You can send them out via email. You can even do paid campaigns like Outbrain to direct people to the blog post. All of these approaches work well to distribute your blog post.

Then put on your PR hat to see what opportunities might exist. An individual post could be great source material for a reporter.

Outsource Some or All Blogging Responsibilities

A hospital marketing department can handle a blogging campaign in house, but it may make sense to outsource it to seasoned professionals who are skilled and adept at creating and executing blogging campaigns.

Contact Jimmy Warren, president of TotalCom Marketing for more information on outsourcing blogging and developing a powerful brand reputation online.


 

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!

google Adwords budget

5 Tips for Boosting Your Healthcare Google AdWords Budget

Google AdWords is a highly-effective tool for healthcare marketing. When executed correctly, a healthcare organization can decrease the cost of leads, gain a deeper understanding of their patients, target a very specific audience, and increase market share.

Merely running an AdWords campaign, though, doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you want. There are many factors that come into play that have a role in generating results. For example, keywords, especially for a hospital, can be costly, so you want to choose carefully to maximize your budget.

Below we have tips to help boost your Google AdWords budget.

Monitor Your Account Regularly

Make use of Google Analytics daily. Using their tools can help you determine which of your keywords do and do not display your ads.

Also, change the view of your campaigns by sorting your cost per conversions from lowest to highest. Maximize the money for campaigns doing well, and decrease, or stop, your unsuccessful campaigns.

Use all match types for your keywords and continuously oversee their effectiveness. One broad match keyword may cost you less, but be receiving little conversions. Through frequent monitoring and adjusting, your Google AdWords campaign can become an effective powerhouse.

Use Targeting

Google allows you to target specific ages, geographic locations, gender, and much more. A thorough study of your target audience for a specific service could greatly increase your conversions, making the most out of your budget.

Track Click Through Rates (CTRs)

It’s important to track the click through rate of your campaigns. You want to make sure one keyword isn’t getting a great deal of search hits, but few CTRs.

By tracking CTRs, you can also figure out which keywords are over performing and which are underperforming.

Fine Tune Campaigns

What are patients truly searching for? Fine tune your campaigns to meet those searches. Most people aren’t Googling “emergency.” Perhaps your facility offers a specialty that others in the area do not. Focus on bringing in new patients by boosting those keywords.

To boost your budget, narrow down your Google AdWords strategy to the few keywords that are maximizing your conversions.

Check Your Google AdWords Budget

Some of the most common mistakes healthcare facilities are making on Google AdWords involve overbidding and underbidding on a keyword. Many times a business will overbid on a term to ensure their ad pops up. While effective in helping you reach PPC goals, it can greatly increase your cost per conversion. Underbidding guarantees a competitor’s ad will outrank your own. It’s important to stay in charge of a keyword, without overspending.

As you can see, Google AdWords is an extremely effective marketing tool, and will continue to be as the digital world maintains its steady progress. With any marketing strategy, consistent overview is important, but it’s imperative for Google AdWords.

Since fine-tuning an AdWords campaign is very time-consuming, your hospital would benefit greatly from hiring a professional to oversee your campaigns, so you can focus on everything else on your plate.

If you are interested in marketing your hospital using Google AdWords, contact Jimmy Warren today.


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 grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

 

emotional marketing to patient

Healthcare Marketing: Connect with Emotion

In healthcare marketing we have to walk the line between expertise and emotion. People will be drawn to your facility for your expertise, reputation, outcomes, physicians, and technology, but those alone are not enough to convince them to choose your hospital. Emotional marketing is key.

Ones health is very personal and patients choose healthcare facilities because they trust them and connect with them – on an emotional level.

So promote your technology, new services, and procedures, but do so in a way that connects with your audience.

Branding Builds Familiarity and Loyalty

One way to connect with future patients on an emotional level is through a strong branding strategy. Effective branding relies on consistency. Your logo, colors, tone and message should always remain the same regardless of the platform you are using.

If a consumer is familiar with your TV ads, they should have no trouble recognizing your outdoor or paid ads on Facebook.

Marketing your hospital across multiple media outlets helps build a stronger brand. If your TV and radio ads are combined with a good social media presence and outdoor, people will become more familiar with your facility than if you just focus on one medium alone. It takes several touch points before consumers make a decision – they need to see you and know you before they choose you.

Tell Stories

Consumers connect emotionally when you tell your story. Patient testimonials are great because they involve a real person telling their real patient experience at your facility.

Prospective patients can relate to the condition, the apprehension, and the suffering and yearn for the same positive outcome.

Patient stories can of course be told through traditional media. But, blogging and online videos can also be very effective for relaying a patient’s experience. Having both video and audio and little more time than is available in a television commercial, makes video testimonials especially powerful.

Another way to tell your story is from the perspective of the physician. For instance, if someone is searching online for solutions to their back pain and they find a video of your physician explaining a new procedure done at your hospital, they can begin building that bond of trust before ever meeting the doctor in person! Video makes doctors human, takes away some of the anxiety and makes the prospective patient confident in the expertise of the physician and the facility.

Encourage Social Media Engagement

People are more likely to connect with your hospital emotionally when they see others have that connection. That is why it is so important to encourage your patients to engage on social media. There are several ways to do this.

One idea is the use of a specified hashtag. Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, AL has had great success with this strategy. In their #ichooseb campaign they urge patients to use the hashtag and then give the reason they chose that particular hospital.

As a result of this tactic, you see a ton of posts on social media where patients are telling others all the great things about Brookwood Medical Center. Not only is this free advertising, but it also gives people who may not have had any experience with that facility an immediate emotional connection. People think, ”If my friend Lisa chose Brookwood, then maybe I need to go there as well!”

When you do experience social media engagement, make sure to nurture it by responding. You build that emotional connection when you respond to someone’s social media post because it shows to that patient and their friends that you care about what they have to say.

 

If you need help connecting with your target audience on a more personal, emotional level, contact Jimmy Warren today!


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 grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

 

banner ads

5 Tips for Creating Better Banner Ads for Your Hospital

 

Banner ads can be a great way to market your hospital online. You probably already know that you need a clear call-to-action and a landing page designed to seal the deal, but what else can you do to make your banner ads stand out among the crowd?

 

Try these 5 tips to build brand preference, drive more traffic to your hospital’s website and convert prospects to patients.

 

1.  Change Your Hospital Banner Ads Every 3 Weeks

We live in a culture where things are changing constantly. We’ve become trained to get bored when things stay the same. Bored consumers won’t click on your hospital’s banner ads!

 

To keep your digital ad campaign fresh, switch out your banner ads every 3 weeks or so. A new ad will recapture the attention of your target audience.

 

2.  Keep File Sizes Small

Small file sizes mean faster load times. You want a quick load time so that prospective patients don’t scroll down before they’ve even had a chance to see your ad.

 

Google Adwords suggests keeping ads under 150 kb for optimal load time. A compressed JPEG or GIF file works best for this!

 

3. Give Your Hospital’s Banner Ads a Border

The human eye is naturally drawn to framed objects, so add a border to your ad. This is especially important if your ad matches the background color of the website. Don’t let your ad get lost in the chaos of most websites!

 

On a white or black background, a gray frame looks nice. On any other color background, a black frame is the most effective.

 

You can also frame your hospital’s banner ad in colors from the ad itself. The important thing is that your ad is separated from the rest of the page, helping it to stand out.

 

4.  Use the Right Colors

In banner ad marketing, there are no good or bad colors. However, some colors have feelings associated with them that are better than others for marketing your hospital.

 

First of course coordinate the colors in your banner ad with your hospital brand. Blue is often associated with safety and trust. Green is the color of health and new life. Both of these color schemes work great for hospitals assuming they work with your logo colors.

 

Gray or white are good choices for the background of your hospital banner ad because both evoke feelings of cleanliness, order, and neutrality.

 

5.  Use Animation

Animated banner ads tend to outperform static banner ads, but there are some rules when using animation in your banner ad marketing.

 

First and foremost, make sure that the animation isn’t distracting the user from the actual purpose of the ad. Overly busy ads tend to pull focus away from the call-to-action – which is the most important aspect of the ad.

 

An animated banner ad for your hospital should loop no more than 3 times and should be limited to 15 seconds or less. Make sure your call-to-action is on every frame.

 

Ready to Make the Most of Your Hospital’s Banner Ads?

If you would like help to make the most of your hospital’s banner ads, contact Jimmy Warren today!


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 grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

 

radio marketing

Listen To This! Radio is Still Effective for Hospital Marketing


Like most traditional media, radio marketing has certainly faced increased competition. New media options like Pandora, Spotify, Sirius XM, iTunes Radio and a host of others continue to chip away at radio’s once-exclusive domain.  But traditional radio is still a good media choice for marketing your hospital.

Radio is available at home, in the car, at the office and on the go. Even with all of the new audio options, it still dominates in-car listening. And most important to healthcare marketers, the radio listening habits of Baby Boomers has changed the least of any demographic group.

 

Other benefits of including traditional radio in your hospital marketing mix:

 

Targetable

  • Diversity of station formats allow advertisers to target specific audiences. For example, Top 40 typically has a young female audience and provides a vehicle for promoting your hospital’s OB/GYN services. The Oldies format, which attracts listeners over the age of 60, can be effective for reaching prospective attendees of your upcoming Health Fair. News Talk and Sports programming offer opportunities to reach an audience for Sports Medicine and Spine.
  • Radio allows you to reach key marketing areas. Use audience delivery data to determine the stations with the most listenership in your hospital service area by zip code, city, county, or groups of counties.

 

Reminder Medium

  • For brands that are known, radio is effective as a “reminder” medium.
  • When part of a multi-media mix, radio commercials increase recall of your hospital’s television, newspaper and Internet ads.
  • Radio is a good driver to your hospital’s website or social media channel.

 

Influential

  • Radio personalities are influential.
  • 55% of respondents of a recent study stated that testimonials for healthcare or medical services given by their favorite air personality made the respondents trust that product or service. (Source: Radio Advertising Bureau F.C.T Report on Healthcare, 2014)

 

Engaging and Emotional

  • Radio stars in the theatre of the listener’s mind.
  • Voices, music, and sound effects in a well-written radio commercial can evoke powerful emotions.
  • Emotional events like babies born and lives saved are part of your hospital’s story. Radio can take listeners on your journey.

 

Inexpensive

  • Prospective patients need to be exposed to your message multiple times. The relatively low cost of commercials allows for frequency in your schedule.
  • Affordable production means ads can be tailored to the format’s audience. Your branding commercial on the Hispanic station should not be the same one you air on the Country station.

 

Quick Turnaround

  • Quick production and scheduling means you can adapt to events in your marketplace.
  • If a local emergency creates a need for blood, radio commercials can drive donations.

 

Nationally, radio advertising revenues have declined, but local stations are actually seeing increases in their share of local ad budgets. Radio continues to be an effective advertising medium for many local businesses including hospitals.

If you would like to discuss ways to make radio work for your hospital, contact the radio experts at TotalCom Marketing.

 


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 grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

New TV Ad Metrics Could Help You Market Your Hospital More Effectively

Healthcare Marketing TargetTraditional media is still an important component in the hospital marketing media mix. There is power and scale in newspaper, television and radio advertising for healthcare marketers. But the data-driven opportunities available in the digital space and the ability for precise targeting are just not as sophisticated and advanced in traditional channels – until now.

Major Media Companies Offering New Data-Driven Targetability Tools

Hoping to close the gap between the benefits offered by traditional advertising and those offered by online advertising, both Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting and NBCUniversal (owner of channels including USA, Bravo and E!), have recently unveiled new tools that offer more precise targetability and believe marketers will no longer have to choose between the reach of traditional and the data-driven opportunities online.

Turner is offering a product called “Audience Now” that will help advertisers reach specific audiences likely to purchase their product. The tool uses data that merges shopper loyalty card data – which is VERY valuable –  with TV viewing.

NBCUniversal’s “Audience Targeting Platform” offers data-driven targetability using information from large databases on what products people buy, matched with data from set-top boxes that tracks the programs people watch.

Both companies say the data they use for this ad tool is “anonymized” – meaning they don’t see consumers’ personal information. (As healthcare marketers, we are trained to be very sensitive to private information.)

What This Can Mean for Healthcare Marketing Professionals

These tools are currently being offered at the national level during this summer’s “upfront” negotiations. But if and when made available at the local and regional level, will afford hospital marketers more precise, data-driven targeting. For example, our wellness commercials could be targeted to consumers, who based on purchase patterns, likely suffer from obesity, heart issues, diabetes, and other conditions. Our sleep center commercials could be seen by consumers, who based on related purchases, are likely to suffer a sleeping disorder. There would be many opportunities to reach and connect with specific audiences who are likely patients of specific service lines in our hospitals.

The Power of Television Advertising for Hospitals

The advantages of television go beyond the enormous reach is offers. Television commercials can tell a hospital’s story in a way no other medium can. Through the use of sight and sound, an effective commercial can evoke emotion, inform, entertain, connect, and create a desired response – but only when seen by the right audience. New tools and technology are on the horizon that can help ensure prospective patients hear and see our hospitals’ stories.

Need help telling your hospital’s story? Contact Jimmy Warren.


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 grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

3 Tips to Overcome Decline in Your Hospital’s Facebook Posts

Facebook post declineAre your hospital’s Facebook posts being seen by fewer and fewer users?

There is definitely a decline in organic reach on Facebook.

According to Facebook, the reason for the decline is the increasing competition. More brands have Pages and are putting out more information. Facebook claims to want to make sure users’ experiences are good ones, so they are showing users stories in their News Feed that are most relevant to them (based on their prior activity on Facebook).

Some think it is because Facebook wants Pages to buy (more) ads.

Here are several tips to help your posts have a better chance of being shown in more users News Feed.

  • Quick and Original. Keep your posts short and original. It’s fine to share information from other sources occasionally. But the majority of your posts should be original content.

  • Pictures. Incorporate photos and videos. Photos depicting human interaction tend to be more successful. Show people interacting with your brand. Posts with videos are often times even more successful than ones with photographs.

  • Call to Action. Ask users to do something. Ask a question, take a poll, ask for feedback and opinions. Be sure to respond to those that do.

Be sure to use Page Insights to evaluate your most successful posts. Check to see which ones get the most likes, shares and comments.

Even though there may be a decline in organic reach, your hospital’s Page can still be used to build and grow strong relationships with the community in which you serve.

Contact Jimmy Warren to learn how you can better market your hospital.

 


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!