You may be thinking, “A hospital needs marketing?” As a healthcare advertising agency, we cannot say “yes” enough! Healthcare advertising does not mean hiring a dancing sign holder to stand outside of your practice, nor does it mean creating those cheesy “used car lot” commercials to get new patients in your doors for a “low, low price!” Marketing for healthcare providers should build your credibility in your community and effectively tell the story of why your hospital or practice should be that prospective patient’s first stop when they need medical care.
Healthcare marketing is also a great way to address some common issues faced by hospitals and physician practices. If your practice or hospital is facing any of these, it’s likely easier than you think to resolve them.
Issue #1: Reputation Management
It’s now common practice to Google something before you jump into it, and that definitely includes choosing a healthcare provider. One of the biggest factors in a searcher’s decision is gauging the type of experience a past customer or patient had. When searching for a doctor or hospital, a prospective patient will likely choose the facility or practitioner with multiple reviews at a high average rating, over a practice with little to no reviews or an overall negative rating.
If your past and current patients enjoy their care experience with you and frequently let you know how happy they are, future patients need to know! And the best way for them to find out? Your patients routinely leaving positive reviews on places like Google. If you fear it will be a struggle to get your patients to leave reviews, consider this: “When asked, approximately 71 percent of consumers will leave a review for a business.” (source)
Don’t just ask for reviews, though! Part of your marketing strategy should include responding to reviews and actively monitoring what your patients are saying. If an issue or a negative review trend starts to rise, turn it into a positive. Be proactive and see what can be done quickly to make your patients’ experiences the best they can be — and that speaks volumes to future review readers.
Issue #2: “Me too” Campaigns
Of course hospitals and physicians practices believe they are the best at what they do. So when it’s time to develop marketing campaigns, many hospitals and practices focus on this perception as fact. The problem with that: you’re going to get lost in the crowd! Instead of talking about being the best (which is very hard to quantify), focus more on sharing why you’re the best. Prospective patients want to know the people behind the names on the wall or website. They want to hear from your past patients about how your care bettered their lives. Figure out a way that your facility or practice can stand out from the crowd and be memorable. Maybe your physicians lead unusually active lives…maybe they have special collaborative meeting to discuss EACH patient…maybe they have a new technology that lets patients wait in their car instead of a waiting room. So many things can stand out against, “our doctors care.” Putting in this creative time will pay off when patients choose you over the five other “best in the area” practitioners around you.
Issue #3: Not Linking Your Marketing to Your Operations
Imagine being promised a five-star meal at the nicest restaurant in town…only to receive a Big Mac and large Coke. (Sorry, McDonald’s!) It’s so important that the impression you’re giving to your patients through your marketing lines up with the experience and service they will actually receive. Don’t promise next-day test results if you know your lab doesn’t always deliver results within 24 hours. Don’t advertise short wait times when your patients routinely wait for close to an hour to be seen.
Bragging about your practice might seem like a smart marketing move to you, but if you’re only talking about all the experience and awards your facility or practice holds, you’re selling yourself short. Patients know that you’re intelligent. We’re talking about doctors! What patients would rather learn about through your marketing is what they can expect to experience when they walk through your doors. What makes your practice or hospital unique? How can you serve their needs — and will you do it in a way that will make them feel they made the best decision?
>Take inventory of your operations and list what you do best. Then be sure to build your marketing campaigns around these characteristics and be genuine!
If you’re currently dealing with any of these issues with your hospital or physician practice, it’s time to invest in your marketing. Marbury Creative Group would love to be your healthcare advertising agency! Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.