You’re no longer in a time where your hospital’s only major competition is the other local hospital across town. Times have changed and patients now have more healthcare options than ever. While more options is generally a good thing for patients and can even be beneficial for overburdened hospitals, it also means fiercer competition, and this calls for an even more cutting-edge hospital marketing strategy.
Here are three non-traditional competitors to keep in mind:
There has been major expansion of retail health clinics such as those run by CVS and Walgreens. According to a recent report cited in Fierce Healthcare, the number of retail health clinics is projected to grow by nearly 50% over the next two years, reaching up to 2,800 by 2017. While retail clinics are largely used for more minor healthcare needs, certain groups are relying on these healthcare providers more heavily. A PNC Healthcare survey shows that millennials have a higher preference for retail clinics (34%) compared to baby boomers (17%) and seniors (15%). The appeal of retail clinic is largely their convenience and affordability.
Urgent Care Centers
Many patients turn to urgent care centers to avoid the long wait times in emergency rooms, while others find them a convenient way to get care after-hours without having to wait for scheduled appointments with their primary care physicians. According to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, there are about 9,300 walk-in, stand-alone urgent care centers in the U.S., and that grows by about 50 to 100 clinics each year. The Urgent Care Association of America estimates a total of 7,100 urgent care centers when retail medical clinics are not counted. Even if your hospital system includes urgent care facilities, there are still plenty of independent centers that you may be competing against.
Acquired Medical Practices & Healthcare Centers
It’s not uncommon these days to see independent practices, clinics, pharmacies, and other healthcare entities getting acquired by the major players in the healthcare industry—large hospital systems and insurance companies. According to The Chicago Tribune, healthcare led the way for the largest merger and acquisition deals in 2015, creating a record-breaking year. And experts expect 2016 to be a busy year as well. Are healthcare practices and centers being acquired in your local markets? If so, this may mean fiercer competition, especially if you’re going up against healthcare brands with national clout.
Getting Started on Your Digital Strategy
Again, diversification in the healthcare sector is a good thing. It forces healthcare providers to provide patients with more value due to higher competition, it provides patients with more affordable options when they need them, and it helps relieve overcrowded emergency rooms. But that doesn’t mean you should just let go of your market share, either.
If you want to keep patient volumes strong and grow your service lines, it’s important to build awareness of your hospital brand and attract new patients with an unbeatable marketing plan. And today, the Internet plays a huge role in effective hospital marketing. Take a look at this infographic to see just how impactful it is.
Not sure where to start with your digital marketing? Try these strategies:
- Create a strong online presence that assists with patient attraction (modern, patient-focused website, SEO and paid search campaigns that drive traffic to your site)
- Keep your potential patients informed and establish your hospital as a thought leader (website content, blogging, other content marketing)
- Build awareness of your hospital brand and engage your audience (social media marketing and advertising, video marketing and advertising)
It’s time to take your marketing to the next level! For help improving your hospital’s online presence and attracting new clients, call our marketing experts at Scorpion.
For more helpful tips, download our free social media guide for hospitals.
About the Author
Christine Brello is Vice President of Client Marketing for Healthcare at Scorpion. In her role, she provides leadership and support for Scorpion’s healthcare team, helping to ensure that clients receive the best results from their digital marketing campaigns. Christine has over 15 years of experience working in marketing and advertising, primarily in the healthcare and medical sectors. Her past experience working directly for hospitals and healthcare organizations serves as an extremely valuable asset to Scorpion’s healthcare clients.
Christine has a B.A. in interpersonal communications from Bowling Green State University. Her hobbies include traveling, painting, and doing anything that has to do with animals. She is passionate about animal rescue and is a die-hard Peyton Manning fan.