Building an effective healthcare marketing strategy isn’t wholly unlike making a successful medical diagnosis: You gather data, you summarize your findings, you build a plan for going forward, and then you schedule a check-up. If you’re ready to diagnose your facility’s marketing needs, here’s your treatment plan.
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
According to Investopedia, a marketing strategy is a business’ overall game plan for reaching people and turning them into customers; it in turn informs the marketing plan, which is a shorter-term document that specifies the types and timing of marketing activities. In other words, the marketing strategy defines the big picture of what the business offers, and the marketing plan defines where and how the business will deliver key messages about those offerings.
Define Your Unique Value
What positively differentiates your facility from every other healthcare provider in your area? This is the critical question that has to be answered, because it will provide the framework and background for all of your marketing messaging. The clearly expressed answer to this question is called your value proposition. Every marketing element, from a single printed piece to a social media campaign, will be evaluated by how effectively it communicates your value proposition.
For help in envisioning your value proposition, listen to your shareholders. What do your board of directors, your employees, your referring agencies, and your patients all consider to be the benefits of your facility, and what potential do they see for your future growth? For instance, do you offer specialties that no one else does? Do you have more MDs, the most comprehensive treatments, or the best customer service ratings?
The tough part is to distill your value proposition into one succinct concept. Some effective examples include:
• Walmart: “Everyday low prices”
• Spotify: “Soundtrack your life”
• Since it has two essential audiences, Lyft uses two value propositions, one for riders and one for drivers: “Rides in minutes” and “Take the wheel”
Your value proposition doesn’t have to be exactly three words, but it is important that it be expressed as one evocative thought.
Set Your Marketing Goals
Once you have your value proposition, set the overall goals that your future marketing plans will have the responsibility of delivering on. These can be operational goals like increasing market share or hitting revenue goals, or organizational goals like boosting provider ratings. As with any business goals, these need to be specific, concrete, and measurable.
Identify Your Audiences
This has become more complicated for healthcare organizations in recent years as consumers have taken a larger role in making their own care decisions. The general list of healthcare audiences now includes the big “Three P”s of patients, providers, and payers, and your facility will likely need a mix of marketing tactics that focus on each of these.
Build Your Marketing Plan
Just like when a medical diagnosis is reached, once you’ve established your strategy, goals, and audiences, your marketing (treatment) plan suggests itself. Your value proposition tells you what all of your messages should speak to. Your audiences likely only use a few channels, so those are the avenues you should focus on. Today’s most effective healthcare marketing tactics use a mix of digital and traditional channels depending on the specific needs of each plan, but the basics for everyone include the following:
• Your website should be mobile optimized, fully integrated with all your social media, and regularly updated with content that is meaningful to your audiences.
• Speaking of social media, your business pages should be regularly updated with fresh content that ties into your print efforts to further build brand awareness
• Your review pages should be “claimed” and monitored on the top medical review sites.
• Geographic coverage should be achieved through direct mail campaigns (every door direct mail services ensure full saturation)
• Relevant and informational collateral materials should be made available to all your referral sources.
As you build your plan, include tracking elements that will help you tie future business activity back to your marketing tactics. Easy-to-use analytic tools are built into digital marketing procedures these days, but don’t forget the traditional efforts like simply asking your new clients how they heard of you or which marketing pieces they remember seeing.
Finally, a critical caveat: From the beginning, build your marketing plan to be compliant with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
Analyze Your Results
The final and most important thing to do is schedule your check-up to test the hypotheses you put forth in your marketing plan. Did you reach the numbers you expected? Did your incoming business reflect the various audiences you approached? What were your most successful channels, messages, etc.? Just as important, what didn’t work the way you expected? These answers can help you refine your future plans and campaigns to make them more effective.
Engage a Tactician
Once your marketing strategy and plan are both in place, consult with a proven expert in healthcare marketing tactics like Xpressdocs. With their state-of-the-art printing equipment, automated production capabilities, and a robust portfolio of medical marketing solutions, you can rest easy knowing your marketing is a providing a strong reflection of the care your brand provides.