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Sep 08, 2022

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Ten Hospital Marketing Strategies You Should Adopt Today

Hospital marketers must keep their patient outreach campaigns relevant, timely, and compelling—but how? Start with these ten hospital marketing strategies.

An effective hospital marketing strategy does more than just reach patients — it starts and nurtures long-standing relationships. As patients embrace digital tools and actively search for healthcare options, hospital marketers must engage with these consumers at every touchpoint of their online journey to drive more conversions. Investing in a modern, diversified, and timely healthcare marketing plan that reaches patients where they are is key to long-term success.

Here are ten strategies you can add to your marketing plan to increase patient acquisition and boost brand awareness:

1. Place Contextually Relevant Ads

With nearly 70,000 health-related searches happening every minute, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to engage healthcare consumers. But how can your health system cut through the noise when prospective patients are constantly bombarded with information online? Reaching a patient with your brand’s message within the right context at the right time is critical.

Contextually relevant ads receive 43 percent more engagement, and consumers recall a contextually relevant ad twice as effectively as an ad placed using cookies. In the context of the healthcare industry, a potential patient scrolling through a cooking blog might pass by an ad for your hospital’s outstanding Ob-Gyn department because there’s no connection between what they’re doing online and the ad they’re seeing. Also, in this scenario, there’s no guarantee that the patient is ready to decide about their care when they see your ad.

Hospital marketers should advertise alongside high-quality healthcare content and physician search pages or provider profiles to tap into an audience actively searching for care and ready to convert to a health system—yours.

2. Leverage Video Marketing

High-quality content is king, but recent studies have shown that immersive and interactive videos are also very effective for generating leads. A 2022 study by video agency Wyzowl revealed that videos could convince 88% of consumers to purchase a product or service, and 73% prefer watching short videos to written articles and blog posts. To diversify your hospital marketing strategy, supplement your content library with captivating video content. Experiment with patient testimonials, physician insights, and explainer videos to establish thought leadership and give a glimpse into your health system brand. But be careful! Videos over 60 seconds in length risk drop-offs in retention, so keep your message concise.

3. Cultivate A Strong Social Media Presence

Since 90% of consumers across all demographics use social media regularly and 75% of Americans use it to research their health, no hospital’s digital marketing strategy is complete without a solid social media presence. Social media lets marketers play with content types, from educational videos and webinars to written posts and partnership projects. It also lets you directly communicate with prospective and current customers, making the patient experience more personal. If you haven’t already, become well-versed in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even TikTok and establish your brand presence online.

4. Thoughtfully Respond to Patient Reviews

Many patients start their healthcare search the same way they search for comfortable running shoes or the best restaurant in town—by looking at online reviews. Patients want to know what other people have experienced while visiting a healthcare professional, and they place a lot of trust in those assessments, with 83% of patients trusting reviews more than referrals and personal recommendations. Even with a physician referral, 84% of healthcare consumers say they won’t visit a doctor with a rating below four stars.

How physicians respond to the feedback they receive, both positive and negative, is equally important to prospective patients. If a doctor leaves a review unaddressed, it can signal that patient experiences aren’t being valued. Make sure your hospital takes the time to follow up on reviews by thanking patients for complimenting your services or extending empathy to those unsatisfied with your care. However, abide by HIPAA standards by keeping patient conversations vague and encouraging offline communication. These extra touchpoints can help prospects decide whether they want to be your new patient or someone else’s.

5. Promote Awards and Accolades Across All Channels

If your healthcare organization has earned special recognition for outstanding care, highlight this in your hospital marketing campaign! After all, hospital quality matters—Healthgrades found that patients treated for a life-threatening condition at a hospital recognized as one of America’s 250 Best Hospitals were 28% less likely to die than if they were treated at hospitals without this award. Patients want to know that they can fully entrust their lives with your team in emergencies.

Integrate quality achievements into all marketing campaigns for visibility into your team’s care outcomes. This can include celebrating stellar staff members on social media, highlighting patient testimonials on your hospital’s website, or elevating physicians as thought leaders in their respective fields. Patients know that all hospitals can treat them, but they want to know which ones go above and beyond.

6. Personalize Outreach Through DEI Initiatives

Healthcare can be intimate, private, and personal, and patients need to feel welcomed and understood wherever they seek care. Unfortunately, racial and gendered disparities have plagued the healthcare industry for years and persist today. For example, studies have shown that Latinos and Native Americans are 30% more likely to develop diabetes than White people and that Black women are three times more likely than White women to develop uterine fibroids—this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Show potential patients that your hospital understands the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by demonstrating how your team is working to foster an inclusive environment that considers social determinants of health. Start internally with diverse hiring practices, cultural competency education and training, zero-tolerance discrimination policies, and employee satisfaction surveys. Then, extend these DEI initiatives to your content marketing team with guidelines outlining conscious editorial language, culturally relevant topics, and diverse ad casting — new patients will appreciate it.

7. Combine Organic and Paid Advertising

Pay-per-click campaigns and Google Ads quickly and effectively place your hospital ads front and center and can bring in twice the number of visitors compared to organic methods alone. However, research shows that the average click rate for Google Ads is only 6.11%, and paid ads can get expensive very quickly, sometimes eating up 85% of a hospital’s marketing budget. On the other hand, organic advertising is more likely to attract lower funnel patients because it relies heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) and contextually-related content, meeting patients already searching for what your healthcare organization can offer. However, organic SEO strategies can take time to build momentum. Which approach is best?

The answer is both! With hospital marketing, it’s best to diversify your marketing initiatives, so all your bases are covered. We recommend creating a sustainable marketing budget that allows you to reap the benefits of paid ads while leveraging organic search touchpoints that naturally introduce your hospital to patients in their healthcare journey simultaneously.

8. Preserve Brand Integrity and Consistency

When developing a digital marketing strategy, maintaining the messaging, voice, and look of your brand at all touchpoints makes it easy for patients to understand your hospital’s core values and unique qualities. Marketers with consistent branding enjoy a 33% increase in revenue, illustrating that patients gravitate towards integrity. Consistent branding also conveys authenticity, which patients value and trust. Keep tabs on how your health system is portrayed on social media channels, on your hospital’s website, and in ads, but most importantly, stay true to the heart of your brand.

9. Audit Your Hospital’s Marketing Performance

The best way to keep your marketing campaigns effective is to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Using real-time metrics like click-through rates, visitor demographic data, bounce rates, and content shares gives you data-driven insight into what patient engagement looks like for your brand. Stay in touch with current industry trends and news by following notable health publications and conducting surveys with healthcare consumers to gain regular insight into the patient experience. If your brand needs a refresh, you’ll be able to tell immediately.

10. Prioritize A Mobile-Friendly Patient Experience

Did you know that Google factors site responsiveness into their search engine ranking algorithm? That’s why 80% of the highest-ranked websites are mobile-friendly! Prioritizing mobile friendliness can help boost your organic advertising efforts, especially since the average patient is on their phone for five hours daily. Optimizing your hospital’s online presence facilitates a seamless online patient experience that keeps patients from clicking away and helps them easily explore your services. Also, test your site’s speed—five seconds of loading time is all it takes for a prospect to lose interest.

Optimize Hospital Marketing with Healthgrades Advertising Solutions

These ten healthcare marketing strategies are a great start, but partnering with Healthgrades can help turn your marketing plans into real results.

Advertising on healthgrades.com drives more qualified site visits than any other third-party site, and we can help your brand engage the largest audience of commercially insured patients searching for care online. Premium placement—with prominent branding and calls to action on physician search pages and provider profiles—ensures that more consumers see your health system first. You can also combine Healthgrades with your SEO and SEM strategies to maximize your relevance in search results and generate even more qualified leads for half of what you would typically pay for pay-per-click programs.

Contact us today to learn how we can enhance your hospital marketing strategy and lead more qualified patients to your front door.