One fact that complicates healthcare marketing is that your clients aren’t going to need you until the moment they suddenly do. In past days of community hospitals and specialists’ offices, this wasn’t a problem; now as healthcare services abound and competition grows more fierce, your institution has to be top of mind with your prospects so they remember you in that moment. The best way to achieve this is through fully consistent marketing efforts. Here are some facets of consistency to keep in mind as you develop your healthcare marketing plan.
Be Consistently Compliant
Today’s healthcare industry begins and ends with compliance to rules such as HIPAA, FDA regulations, and Stark I and II. Marketing then becomes even more complicated as you take into account legislation like the CAN-SPAM act that regulates commercial email practices. From the beginning, your marketing must be planned to stay in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws.
Consistency of Brand
If you haven’t fully developed your practice or institution’s brand, understand it’s going to be difficult to implement consistent marketing without it. Your brand is not just your company logo. Your brand promise is the key to differentiating yourself from your competition, and it needs to project all the best qualities of your practice as well as appealing to prospects on an emotional level.
Once you have a clear brand promise, it should always be expressed through consistency of color and font choices and other design elements. These brand standards should be formalized so that anyone on your staff can prepare materials, even stationery and business cards, as necessary.
Finally, consider how your audience is most often going to view your brand. Pew Research has reported that:
• 77 percent of U.S. citizens own a smartphone
• 47 percent of Internet users search for information about doctors or other health professionals
• 38 percent of Internet users search for information about hospitals and other medical facilities.
In other words, it is highly likely that your prospects and patients will view your messaging on a very small screen. It’s critical that your entire digital presence is not only branded, but optimized for mobile.
Consistency of Message
Once you’ve got your brand and your brand promise, it’s time to get the word out through all the channels where your patients and prospects are likely to see it. Your message should not only provide highly valuable content to help your audience live a healthier life, but also strongly illustrate your facility’s ability to deliver the highest quality care.
The goal is to tell the story of your brand, personalizing and humanizing it as you differentiate your practice or institution from others. These messages should be refocused slightly, or curated, to appeal to each of your primary audiences (such as consumers, providers, and payers) and to “play” most effectively on each channel used. Make sure to keep your message consistent but your content timely, reputable, and shareable across social media. Include key phrases and relevant terms to increase the chances your message will be picked up by search engines (a process called search engine optimization, or SEO). To help your team envision how this consistency can be implemented and maintained, create a style guide, starting with your brand and working all the way through how the message is highlighted on each channel and with each audience.
Finally, don’t forget about online reputation management. Wherever your practice or institution has information posted with service reviews, include whatever branding and message is appropriate, and keep these sites up-to-date.
Consistency Over Time
As mentioned above, your patients don’t need you until the day they do. The only way to keep your brand and message in front of them is to plan and schedule regular outreach on all relevant channels, throughout the year. As your prospects see your messages over time, they come to recognize your brand, which is the first step to building an expectation of what your facility can deliver, which in turn is a step toward building trust.
Choose a Consistently Helpful Partner
Sounds like a lot of details to keep track of, doesn’t it? You’re running a healthcare organization; no one is expecting you to have the time or skillset to implement these ongoing campaigns by yourself. Develop your overall marketing calendar, and all of its components, with the help of a proven healthcare marketing expert like Xpressdocs. Our user-friendly solutions work together to schedule and deliver consistent branding and messaging across all channels, including direct mail, social media, and mobile. And the Xpressdocs platform is PCI compliant, serving as a single resource for brand and legal regulations to which many healthcare organizations must adhere.