by Brandon Scott
Digital marketing is a critical ingredient for success when it comes to attracting patients, educating them about your service lines and converting them into customers. It augments your print, broadcast and outdoor advertising with highly targeted and highly personalized content that speaks directly to prospects and existing patients.
Done right, digital marketing instantly captivates your audience, irresistibly drawing them in and making the kind of positive impression that inspires them to learn more.
It starts with great website design.
We’re not talking about pretty here, although visual appeal is fundamentally important. We’re talking about “feel.”
Your website has to convey your hospital’s personal side. Hospitals treat people, and there’s nothing more personal than healthcare. Besides, all purchasing decisions have an emotional aspect, including choosing a hospital, doctor or services. Demonstrating competence is critical, of course, but compassion and empathy win the day.
So make your website less clinical. More personal.
Great website design also includes spot-on SEO that ensures searchers find you easily. It includes obvious navigation, graphics that directly support your content topic and a clear call to action on every page to guide their decision-making choices.
Content that works is strategically planned.
Everything you say or show online underscores the fact that customers can count on you. Web pages, your blog, email and social media work together to inform people about who you are as well as what you do. You’re using compelling stories and visuals to relate amazing patient experiences – the kind of caring care every prospective patient hopes to receive.
You understand. You’re people, too.
Content that differentiates your hospital and your people from the competition increases market share and develops life-long relationships.
Social media link you with patients and colleagues.
Nothing is more multi-generational than social media, and sharing reinforces your brand. You can reach patients and also care-givers responsible for patient healthcare decisions.
Social media posts are short and sweet. They’re eminently two-way, perfect for ongoing engagement. Offer links to your other content. Or health tips. Share photos that demonstrate wellness. Give a face and voice to your staff -- not just physicians but nurses, technicians, others that have patient contact. Your hospital’s “bedside manner” is a composite of interactions.
Participate in a few carefully-chosen groups or circles or communities, too, to expand your professional development and generate referrals.
Mobilize your resources.
Smartphones and tablets are becoming the search devices of choice, so you’re wise to directly target mobile searchers. They’re usually looking for practical information -- directions to your hospital or to some department, your doctor directory, how to make an appointment – rather than conducting lengthy research.
Response rates to texting are impressively high. So target your mobile audience with appointment or prescription reminders, information about wait times, upcoming classes, etc. Add QR codes to your print ads so readers can follow up instantly with a quick click of their mobile camera. And use geo-targeting. Mobile searchers tend to be nearby.
Above all else, remember this: small screens require concise presentation that fits their format. So optimize your all your content specifically for your mobile audience. Make it easy, and they’ll love you for it.
Digital marketing can do amazing things for your hospital. But only if you track and analyze your progress in meaningful ways. You’ll get valuable insight about patient needs and preferences. You’ll quickly see what’s working and what needs work to strengthen your marketing results.
What does your digital marketing say about your hospital?