When it comes to your hospital’s marketing plan—where literally millions can be on the line—the importance of dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s goes without saying. This can often mean spending more time and focus hammering out the small details to ensure success, and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
In crafting a strategic hospital marketing plan, purpose and direction are more than beginning motivations, they’re vitally important to the success of your campaign from start to finish.
For example, let’s say you’re a hospital that’s looking to broaden its women’s health services from childbirth and prenatal care to more reproductive services such as family planning and fertility testing.
Ideally, you’d start with two simple questions:
Who am I talking to?
Those two questions alone will define your audience, and more importantly, determine the best mediums for communicating your message.
In the case of the women’s health service expansion, more detail-oriented questions can be borne out. Are the targeted demographic only women? How old are they? What is their general lifestyle? Although these facts can seem numerous and excessively demographical, each fact paints a picture of an increasingly specific patient.
And when it comes to marketing, specificity of the message is everything.
With that said, here’s what to do when launching a new hospital marketing initiative.
The 5-Point Checklist Before Pressing Play
5 ) Do I Have a Tangible Goal?
This one is simple: what’s the tangible goal for what you’re trying to do? In the aforementioned case of the women’s reproductive health expansion, what’s the vision of success? Perhaps you’re trying to generate a certain amount of new patients, or maybe raise the annual billing threshold of your women’s health services wing. Regardless of the goal, you should have one that is clear and measurable. Only then can achievement be derived from success, and future lessons be derived from failure.
4) Am I Offering Something of Value?
Although the gut response to this question is usually a resounding “yes,” it’s an important question to consider. Within your hospital’s new marketing initiative you’re making a decision to promote a product or service. But before deciding to spend hundreds of thousands, to millions of dollars, knowing whether this product or service will resonate with your audience is imperative. In measuring the value of what you’re offering, first, consider how it will fundamentally improve the lives of those who use it. That’s your message. Once the key benefit—the promise of a better life—to your prospective patient is distilled, you can communicate that message directly in a way that breaks through the noise of your competitors and inspires action.
3) Do I Know My Audience?
As we mentioned before, who you’re targeting is everything when it comes to strategic hospital planning. Do you have a specific demographic within your marketing initiative? Is it women? Which women? What race are they? Where do they live? How much money do they make? Have you created a detailed persona for this group? All these questions are critical to understanding the needs and thought patterns of a targeted community of people. You want to personalize your message to the point that it feels like a handwritten letter. And that’s only possible when you truly understand the needs and day-to-day struggles of the demographic you’re talking to.
2) Do I Know the Channels to Reach My Audience?
As the research and planning stage nears completion, it’s important to focus on distribution. In fact, based on the 80/20 rule, where 20% of your time should go towards crafting a message and the other 80% should go towards distributing it, it’s easily one of the most important steps on this checklist. To determine which distribution channels are best, it all goes back to knowing your demographic.
Let’s say for instance that you’re targeting young, caucasian, female millennials, that are single and in their mid-twenties. Let’s also say they’re highly educated with professional degrees, high career aspirations, and a desire for children, but only at later stages of their lives—let’s say in their early 30’s. Given that these young women are particularly deliberate on when they want to have kids, and your hospital is attempting to target them for reproductive health services (in this case, birth control), communicating to them through channels that are appropriate for them would yield the best return on investment.
This strategy may include social media sponsored posts, content marketing to capture users looking for answers on birth control, and paid search ads that target keywords specific to the information this demographic is looking for.
Finally, you want to have a clear workflow from start to finish. If you place a specific phone number on your marketing materials to track each lead that it generates, what’s the next step when that number is dialed? Who do they talk to? And what happens after that? You want to have a clear journey for your patient—one that you can measure, reiterate, and scale.
1) Can I Measure It?
After all the work in understanding your audience, setting up a plan, and implementing it, is complete, the final step is to look to simply collect and analyze the data. This will allow you to understand the efficacy of your work, and more importantly, what to dial in or remove in order to make your campaign more effective in future iterations.
In measuring this data, you should outline very clear key performance indicators. These can be metrics that make-up the tangibility of a goal. For example, if the goal is to generate more in billings from your women’s health services department, a key performance indicator may be the dollar amounts themselves, or the number of new patients admitted.
Key performance indicators are there to ensure accountability to your goals, giving you clear and tangible steps to judging your progress. Collect as much data as you can, keep it as clean as possible, and use it to influence your decision making to increase your performance and optimize your hospital’s marketing initiative.
Creating a new hospital marketing initiative can be challenging, particularly when trying to target with specificity to inspire action in your prospective patients. With the help of Scorpion, you’ll not only gain the online visibility necessary to get in front of the patients you want but the marketing techniques that are imperative to inspiring action.
For a marketing solution built to bring you the patients you need, Give Us a Call Today.
About the Author:
As Director of Business Development for Healthcare at Scorpion, Jono Scott helps healthcare clients find the best online marketing strategies for growing their organizations and attracting the right patients. Before joining Scorpion, Jono played a major role in building two startup businesses, which provided him with important insight into the process of marketing organizations at various stages of their development.
Jono stays up-to-date on the latest changes in Internet marketing by reading industry news and staying closely connected with his team members. He is Google AdWords-certified and is a graduate of Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in New Zealand. In his spare time, Jono enjoys traveling, surfing, snowboarding, playing rugby, and being outdoors in general.