Spreading the word about your services is make or break for healthcare brands. Hospitals and clinics need to impel consumers to become patients and patients to become regulars. So how can you accomplish this continuous cycle of new and frequent visitors? Your media strategy plays a gigantic role in making it happen.
Here are a few tips for improving the state of your hospital or clinic's media strategy.
Most hospitals or clinics will answer the question, "Whom in the community do you serve?" with a response along the lines of, "Well—everyone gets sick, so... everyone." But when you take a long, hard look at your roster of patients, you'll start to notice patterns. These recurring demographic trends can be a great way for you to spend more of your media dollars on the likeliest of patient recruits. And this affects your entire media strategy—whether you're opting for placements in niche publications that cater to certain genders or age groups, or segmenting by interests in your social media placements. A blanket, scattershot approach can be great for general brand awareness—but increasing conversions takes segmentation.
Your media efforts aren't simply about paid strategy—earned media should play a heavy role in promoting your hospital or clinic. But it's more than sending out a blanket email to your recipient list with a press release attached. If you want a better shot at gaining some newsworthy love, you'll need to make more of a concerted effort. For starters, identify any "newsroom" or general addresses you have on your press contacts list. While these may work once in a while, it's always a better idea to have a direct contact at every applicable news operation. Identify who covers healthcare at a given publication or broadcaster, and ensure your PR pushes are getting to them directly—and with a specific story pitch in the body of the email.
You know that tactic that music artists use when they're on tour to immediately endear themselves to the audience at hand? "Hello, <insert name of town currently performing in here>!" It's met with thunderous applause and, "They said our town name!" exclamations. You can have this same effect with your media efforts—localization can be a powerful way to elicit a positive, immediate reaction. Consider segmenting your efforts by population. Do you have locations in multiple cities or states? Reflect each community's name, demographic makeup or local tendencies in your advertising. Even if you're part of a larger hospital system, show that you can be a hometown player.
If you're employing a digital media strategy, odds are you're serving retargeting ads to consumers who have visited your hospital or clinic website. But how specific are your ads, and are they relevant to the end user? One tactic you can take with your paid search efforts is to retarget based on the search term that was used to arrive on your page in the first place. Say you're targeting the search term "post surgery physical therapy" and sending searchers to a landing page about the PT program your clinic offers. Rather than retargeting these searchers with general branding ads, create a set of ads specifically to do with your PT program to continuously serve to that user. Relevancy and specificity are key to a return visit.