Many hospitals and health systems have stayed firmly planted and deeply rooted in traditional marketing for years. In most cities you can’t drive half a mile without seeing one billboard or another proudly boasting their latest rankings or that their wait times are 30 seconds faster than the other guys. It’s a part of the healthcare marketing ecosystem, and it has always been that way. As consumers, experts say we are exposed to over 5,000 advertising messages per day. Without a collaborative strategy, your traditional campaigns likely aren’t bringing in new patients; so why do them? The board, a committee, a cross department group? Somehow, the final decision for how to market the hospital has been taken out of the hands of the marketer.
So, let’s discuss three strategies to combine your traditional marketing with digital marketing to increase your visibility while keeping the board happy!
1. “Did You See Us?” Becomes “Come & Meet Us!”
Traditional marketing is usually considered passive while digital marketing actively engages the target audience. This really allows the two techniques to complement each other, working together to achieve the provider’s intended objectives. While billboards and print advertisements are helpful in disseminating information, they can also incorporate a message to learn more about the hospital online – a “call to action” of sorts.
Once online, the patient can make the transition from being aware of you to researching what your organization has to offer. Make sure the landing page aligns with your traditional piece. Hunting for the right information is not research, it’s just frustrating!
If you want to keep the party going, setup retargeting for your site to help encourage repeat site visitors, and consider adding a HIPAA compliant chat to your website as well. The more touchpoints a patient has with you the better they will feel about working with you.
2. People Consume Information Differently – Reach Them Where They Are
My five-year-old son is constantly asking me questions about why people do some of the things they do. It’s funny, and I bet before 8 a.m. tomorrow morning there will be another round of questioning like there was today and the day before. It may surprise you to hear it, but I don’t always know the answers to all of his questions. If you are a parent yourself then you know that “I don’t know” will never be an acceptable answer to a five-year-old! When he asks me something about why somebody does something a certain way, and I don’t know, I tell him “Everybody is just a little bit different. That’s what makes the world so interesting.” Feel free to use that the next time you get questions about why you want to increase your digital spend.
The point is that not everybody is influenced by the same media, and a multichannel approach increases your ability to speak to more people in ways that work for them. Utilizing both traditional and digital marketing strategies allows your hospital’s message to be spread across many different channels.
Depending on your target, some media outlets work better than others do, but variety is key. You can use billboards and print ads to attract the attention of potential patients but direct them to social media channels to start the conversation. Organic social media channels are crucial for every healthcare organization, but remember that it is mostly limited to your network (people who like or follow your pages). A social ads strategy is an additional channel and a way to expand your reach, not only demographically, but also based on interests and behaviors.
Your radio spots can reach additional ears with campaigns run through streaming services like Pandora. Those platforms are somewhat multichannel themselves because a display ad shows in conjunction with your audio. Many hospitals and health systems have invested heavily in TV commercials as well. Through YouTube, that same video content can reach a more focused audience, which we can refine by demographics, geography, behaviors, context, keywords and device.
With so many options for digital targeting and so many methods to complement your traditional spend, it is foolish to not expand your horizons.
3. Digital Marketing Lets You Get Personal
Traditional media is an effective way to reach a broad patient base, but digital media is a great way to reach out to a specific audience. Digital marketing can be used to develop relationships with the patient that are deeper and more relevant. 76% of people use their Facebook News Feed to find interesting content. Are they finding you there?
As healthcare marketers we have to stop wanting to talk about ourselves and start focusing more on what the patient cares about. Take the time to humanize your posts on social media and give patients a reason to want to talk with you, pay attention to you, or want to share about you. With over 79% of adult internet users spending time on Facebook, it is a great way to connect with people in ways that traditional media just doesn’t offer.
These are just a few ways to think outside of the box when it comes to your healthcare marketing mix. People want choices at their fingertips with information that substantiates their decision and feedback from people who have been there before. Traditional media paints the picture, but digital media takes them on the journey! Learn more about digital marketing for healthcare on our website.