Marketing for Hospitals: Four Strategies That Work
While the overall objective of the healthcare industry is to provide their patients with the care they need to recover from an illness or accident, they’ll never meet their goals if they don’t offer a solid patient experience.
In many cases, patients don’t choose the healthcare organizations they go to when they suffer a health catastrophe. Instead, they’re taken to the closest facility to treat their condition. However, that doesn’t mean that a hospital can avoid marketing activities. They’ll still need to adopt the proper marketing strategies for hospitals that resonate with patients and future customers.
Importance of Hospital Marketing
Hospital marketing generally revolves around local search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, client testimonials, and high-quality customer service. Positive client reviews of the hospital significantly affect whether patients choose to go there when they need care or visit another hospital in their area.
If patients don’t have a good experience with a hospital, or the staff doesn’t appear knowledgeable and credible, word will spread among the local population. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that hospitals engage in a marketing strategy that promotes the facility positively.
Building a Strong Online Presence
Your healthcare marketing plan starts with creating a robust online presence. You’ll want a fully functional website that can handle customer service activities, like payments and appointment scheduling, along with content that establishes your healthcare providers as credible authorities in their areas of expertise.
Create a Responsive, User-Friendly Website
Newsflash: Your patient base doesn’t want to spend lots of time maneuvering through your website searching for the information they need. You’ll want to ensure your hospital site is simple and easy to use, whether clients need to get their latest billing statement or want to learn more about your services.
Your hospital website should adapt to both desktop and mobile devices. It should download in mere seconds to ensure your patients aren’t left waiting for the information they need.
Evaluate the Online Patient Experience
One way to track the client experience with your website is by asking them directly for feedback. After clients complete a specific transaction, like paying their bill, implement a user survey that allows patients to indicate any problems they experienced during the transaction.
Customer feedback can help you determine where to make improvements on the website. Patients may offer valuable suggestions that you can implement to service future visitors better.
Ensure Seamless Digital Navigation
You’ll want your website to have a prominent navigation menu that is clearly visible to your visitors. They should be able to quickly sort through your menu to find the landing pages that contain the information they need.
Each landing page should connect to additional resources that patients can filter through as they look for what they need. For instance, you might have a landing page for the patient portal, and clients who log in can see their medication history, prior appointments, medical providers, and other critical information.
Optimize Organic Search Results
Your hospital will likely appear at the top of search results when potential patients look for medical facilities, simply because there usually aren’t numerous hospitals in every city. However, that doesn’t mean you can afford to slack off on optimizing your hospital for search engines. You’ll still need to incorporate techniques that improve your hospital’s visibility among potential clientele.
Incorporate Relevant Keywords
You should include health-related content on your website that addresses common patient inquiries related to your services. For instance, if you treat patients with diabetes, including helpful guides for managing the condition is advantageous. Existing patients and people who are interested in learning more about diabetes will find your pages and begin to see your hospital as an authority on the condition.
Every page on your website should be optimized for keywords people will likely use when searching for more information. For example, your diabetes content should include keywords like “diabetes management,” “caring for diabetes,” “healthy eating for diabetes,” and so on. Ideally, you’ll include the keywords several times throughout your content.
Use Local SEO Strategies
Optimizing your website and relevant profiles to reflect your location is critical. Remember, you’re servicing clients in your local area. You probably don’t care whether someone from another country visits your website.
Every business, including hospitals, has a Google Business Profile that you can claim. If your hospital hasn’t already claimed its profile, you’ll want to do so immediately.
You should fill out your Google profile thoroughly, emphasizing your location, contact information, and the hospital’s services. You’ll also want to include lots of pictures so customers know what to expect when they visit.
Aside from your Google Business Profile, you can include your hospital in other local directories, like the Yellow Pages and Yelp. Creating profiles with local contact information will improve your visibility on search engines when patients search for a nearby hospital.
Use PPC and Display Ads Effectively
You’ll want to integrate pay-per-click (PPC) and display ads for your specific services when marketing for hospitals. For instance, prospective patients who need specific help with a non-emergency issue, like sleep apnea, might click on your PPC ad if it relates to their condition. You’ll link your PPC ads to the appropriate landing page for your services.
You can also benefit from display ads that appear to people who previously visited your website or interacted with your hospital in some other way through the internet. Various marketing platforms allow you to retarget visitors, further generating awareness about the services you offer.
Leverage Social Media to Humanize Your Brand
Digital marketing for hospitals should include a social media strategy. While you likely don’t associate hospitals with social media platforms, creating a social media presence on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can help humanize your brand.
Think of social media marketing as another means to share meaningful content and keep in contact with your existing and potential clients. Social media platforms can spread awareness of your healthcare services and maintain a real-time touchpoint with your audience.
Establishing social media accounts also assists in reputation management. You can communicate directly with your clients through social media when they have a complaint or need assistance.
Engage with Your Audience
Whenever you post a new item on social media, you should ensure that you monitor comments. If they ask questions, respond to them. Don’t ignore them. Hospitals and other organizations see the most substantial benefits from digital marketing for hospitals through social media when they actively practice patient engagement with their audience.
Share Valuable Content and Updates
Is your hospital opening a new wing, or did you bring a highly-experienced surgeon on board? Make sure your audience knows! Share critical hospital updates immediately so your followers know about upcoming changes.
You can also share content that’s likely to resonate with your audience. You can cover thousands of different health-related topics that benefit your patients. Depending on your hospital’s services, you could discuss what to do if someone experiences a stroke, how to care for newborns, or provide general nutrition advice.
People will click on the posts you share to learn more about important topics, furthering your healthcare providers as experts in their field.
Foster Patient Engagement and Trust
It’s critical to monitor your patient’s experience whenever they interact with your hospital, whether they come in for a visit or are simply looking for more information about health-related topics.
Encourage and Manage Patient Reviews
Whenever a patient interacts with your website or visits your hospital, you should encourage them to leave a review. Building a lengthy list of positive patient reviews on your website or through review platforms like Google will improve your patient acquisition efforts. Potential patients tend to trust organizations with many reviews more than a service provider with only a few testimonials.
Address Negative Feedback and Improve Services
If patients leave negative reviews, you should respond directly to their feedback and offer a way to correct the situation. For instance, if they complain about long waiting times in the emergency room, you might apologize for their wait and emphasize that you care about their needs. Word-of-mouth reviews spread quickly, and you should aim to address negative reviews constructively.
Communicate with Healthcare Consumers via Email Marketing
Marketing strategies for hospitals should incorporate email. Email is an easy way to stay in touch with patients once they leave your care. If they sign up for your communications, you can regularly send them both generic and personalized correspondence.
For instance, you might remind them when it’s time for a checkup for their medical condition, handle referrals and follow-ups, and send more general health-related content regularly.
Maximize Community Outreach
Healthcare businesses are often seen as pillars of their local communities. Everyone turns to them when they experience severe Illness, accidents, or need advanced care. You’ll want to ensure your hospital engages in regular community activities to further your relationships in your local area.
Engage in Community Sponsorships
There are multiple ways that hospitals can sponsor local activities in their area. You can support health-related organizations, like the American Cancer Society or the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Both groups typically host local events, like walks, to raise money for people who need healthcare. Your hospital should undoubtedly be a partner in those events.
You can also sponsor children’s groups and schools and participate in community activities like youth soccer or the local Girl Scouts organization. You should seek to build a presence in the community or health-related groups.
Host Educational and Promotional Events
Hospitals can be a premier source of information for patients and caregivers who need information about conditions they or their loved ones suffer from. You can host regular speaking events where staff members can address specialized health topics, like breast cancer or caring for an aging parent.
Promotional events are a great way to build goodwill in the community. For example, you could offer free health checkups to people without insurance on certain days. Ensure that your digital marketing for hospitals includes some opportunities to demonstrate your hospital’s services to new patients.
Analyze and Adapt Your Healthcare Marketing Strategies
When marketing for hospitals, you’ll want to ensure that you monitor your efforts to ensure they’re effective and provide the desired results.
Conduct Regular Market Analysis
You should regularly analyze your target audience to understand their needs and ensure you’re meeting their requirements for healthcare services and excellent customer service. Look for opportunities to expand your content or improve your hospital operations. Adjust Marketing Tactics Based on Data-Driven Insights
Marketing for hospitals requires healthcare professionals to tweak their strategies as technology develops and healthcare needs change. Continuously assess your marketing initiatives and metrics to ensure they’re performing to your expectations. If one method isn’t delivering the expected results, don’t be afraid to try a new tactic.
Marketing Is Critical for a Healthcare Facility
While a hospital’s marketing objectives differ from other businesses, like retail stores or restaurants, that doesn’t mean that marketing doesn’t have its place. To maintain credibility, encourage patient retention, and expand brand awareness, you’ll need to adopt the appropriate marketing strategies for hospitals.
Remember to continually assess your strategies and implement new ones to stay fresh in the community’s eyes. With regular engagement and innovation, you’ll see the results you’re looking for.