Posts Tagged ‘hospital marketing’

Why Online Videos Should be an Integral Marketing Tool for your Hospital or Practice

July 8, 2014

Anytime you can invoke multiple senses in delivering your message, it makes a larger impact on your audience. Video affords you the opportunity to both paint a picture and capture sound. It has the ability to stir emotions and influence people and allows you to be a better storyteller. This emotional response ultimately helps drive engagement and allows viewers to connect with your brand.

This makes video a valuable tool in your communications with patients because it allows you to deliver valuable content in a format that viewers are consuming at a faster pace than ever before.

In 2012, Google and Compete, Inc. surveyed 533 hospital researchers to gain behavioral insights on how digital is used to seek healthcare information. They found that:
• One in eight patients watched an online video on:
Hospital sites – 42%
Health information sites – 30%
YouTube – 29%
• Patients seek video reviews and testimonials to learn about hospitals
and treatment options with 43% watching patient testimonials and
32% reviewing patient generated content
• Online video drives patients to hospital sites where they are more
likely to convert
• YouTube traffic to hospital sites has increased 119% year over year.

So why do consumers connect so strongly with video? Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., a brand consultant for large companies, says there are four driving factors:
• We pay attention to faces – our brain function uses the human face as
a gathering point for believability and information
• Voices provide a way to convert information into meaningful content
• Emotions are contagious and appealing and humans love to share it
• Movement grabs your attention – the power of peripheral motion is
ingrained into our DNA

People have very different ways of absorbing information. Some prefer to read and others to hear or see it visually. Because video is capable of imparting information in any and all of these ways, it allows you to effectively convey your message regardless of the viewer’s learning style.

So, if you aren’t currently using videos in your marketing, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to connect with your audience. Engage with them and get your message out there!

Five Ways Online Videos Can Drive Healthcare Traffic

June 25, 2014

There are a myriad of ways that hospitals and physicians can successfully use video to build traffic to websites. At the same time, videos can also create a sense of trust and credibility for the hospital or practice. This provides the opportunity to engage viewers in an interesting and meaningful way and becomes a powerful tool for building brand loyalty.

Physician Promotion

119%One of the most prevalent ways to use videos of physicians is on physician profile pages. Videos can provide a sense of the physician’s emotions and personality which allows viewers to more readily connect with them. A potential patient that experiences a sense of connection is more likely to visit a hospital site than to trust blind luck that the relationship will be a good one. According to research conducted by Google, YouTube traffic to hospital sites has increased 119% year to year. And over 30% of patients who watched an online video booked an appointment.

Service Promotion

Videos also allow a hospital or physician to introduce the key services and treatment options they provide. Patient testimonials are a great way to reinforce this information because they provide believability and proof of successful treatment. While not a promise, it allows health seekers to identify with them and entertain the belief that they might have the same outcome.

Patient Education

Education is a natural fit for video. Information can be communicated in an easily understandable way that resonates with the viewer and can be viewed repeatedly or as needed. This is especially useful for preparations for surgery, after care instructions and information on dealing with specific conditions.

Recruitment

Videos are excellent tools for recruitment for physicians and allied staff. You can essentially provide a “slice of life” to give prospects a sense of what they can expect if they decide to join your hospital or practice. This allows prospects to make an initial decision about whether this would be a good fit for them. If so, it will encourage them to investigate further. This is an especially valuable tool for rural hospitals and practices as they try to garner attention in a very competitive landscape. For a harried physician in a larger market, communicating the benefits of a smaller market can entice them to take a second look at the community as well as the hospital or practice.

Public Relations

Videos are a valuable resource for public relations and for communicating about upcoming events and announcements. On social channels, videos significantly increase engagement which translates to more viewers and clicks – all good PR. In fact, Facebook recently announced that video views doubled in the past six months and that it will now deliver more video to people who have shown an interest in viewing such content. Secondly, sharing interesting/entertaining content in a video format increases the chance of news outlets picking up your information. And last, video allows you to humanize your organization and culture, thereby increasing buy-in from viewers who may want to interact with your hospital or practice or come to work for you.

So, if you aren’t currently using videos for healthcare marketing, try implementing them in one of these ways and see what a difference it can make in engaging patients, physicians and staff, as well as consumers.

Key Points to Help Your Healthcare Marketing Connect with Patients

June 16, 2014

Since we were young we have been taught the importance of sharing. Today that is easier than ever to do with email and multiple social media platforms. And for the healthcare industry, sharing health information is becoming more of the norm. A recent Pew Report stated that 26% of adult internet users have read or watched someone else’s health or medical experience and 16% have gone online to find others who share the same health concerns. One study found that people trust health information shared by hospitals and doctors online 10-15% more than by other patients they know.

Hospitals and physician practices need to consider how key points or stories about their care can be distributed in a way that is compelling and easy for people to share with others. Sharing is about relationships – give and take. Knowing who shares and why is an important first step. A New York Times study found that:

  • 94% of study participants consider how information they share will be useful to the recipient
  • 84% share because it is a way to show support for issues they care about
  • 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
  • Only 49% share to inform others of products and try to change opinions

The study found six personas for sharing; altruists, careerists, hipsters, boomerangs, connectors and selectives. Their personas are based on four segments defined by:

  • Emotional motivations
  • Desired presentation of self
  • Role of sharing in life
  • Value of being first to share

One key point to increase sharing is to appeal to consumers’ (patients’) needs to connect with each other and not to a brand. Yet it seems that healthcare marketing is often missing the mark. A Spark Report found that although 41% of respondents said that social media would affect their choice of a medical facility, hospital, or doctor, only 18% of Facebook posts by hospitals are for the public while the rest target employees. Other key points to increase sharing include trust, simplicity, humor and urgency.

The Pew report states “that patients and caregivers have critical health information — about themselves, about each other, about treatments — and they want to share what they know to help other people.” Before your next post or email, check your content based on the above criteria and ask yourself if you are engaging your patients or just sending them information.

 

What is your persona?

  1. Altruist – Helpful, reliable, thoughtful, connected
  2. Careerist – Valuable, intelligent, network
  3. Hipster – Creative, young, popular, cutting-edge
  4. Boomerang – Reaction, validation, empowered
  5. Connector – Creative, relaxed, thoughtful, making plans
  6. Selective – Resourceful, careful, thoughtful, informative

 

Embed from Getty Images

50 beds or 500, your hospital brand is critical to your success.

June 2, 2014

The most powerful companies in the world live and die on their brands.  It has been estimated that at least half of Coca Cola’s market capitalization ($178 billion, May 2014) resides in its brand alone.  The same can be said of Apple, the world’s most valuable company.

I would argue that a hospital’s brand is even more important to its success than it is for these global companies.  Just think about it.  Your hospital’s reputation (brand) is everything to its success.  It’s one thing to trust Coke to taste good or your iPhone to work consistently, but trust in a healthcare environment is something else altogether.

Yet, some hospitals, particularly the smaller ones which have greater brand challenges than anyone, don’t invest a lot of time, effort or thought into building the brand – even though we know from decades of research that brand building pays great dividends.  The fact that brand building is so important is why even the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson devote millions to building their brands annually.

The benefits to building a strong brand are many:

  • Increases consumer confidence
  • Reduces consumer risk
  • Creates customer loyalty
  • Signifies quality
  • Is more memorable
  • Provides differentiation

Building a hospital brand takes dedication.  It’s not a once every other year campaign.  It’s an every day focus.  You start by understanding what the public’s perceptions are of your hospital, then evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and determine not only what you desire to be, but also what you realistically can be in your community.  Once you’ve determined your message, it’s a matter of deciding what’s necessary to convince your community of your vision.

 

How to make your hospital’s Facebook page the life of the party.

August 1, 2012

Facebook PartyFacebook, which is all about friends and their lives, is the epitome of social media. So think of running your hospital’s Facebook page as hosting a party for your friends. Invite people to join you and welcome newcomers. Strive to be a good host. Be a good conversationalist and never talk only about yourself. Go out of your way to provide refreshments and entertainment that will please the guests. Above all, be gracious and thankful to people who attend.

Know your guests and their likes and dislikes.

  • Pay attention to health and wellness topics that garner the most attention and comments. What topics flop? In the future weight your posts to the more popular topics. Think of your Facebook page as “Pandora” for healthcare in your community.

Cater to your friends. 

  • Share important community stories on your page.
  • Post important health information and observances.
  • Include information on events, new services or treatments you offer, staff recognition and other relevant information. Think of it as small talk. Try to present it in a way that invites conversation.

Be entertaining. 

  • Provide pictures and videos to supplement your post. A good visual can add spark to any topic. A physician explaining a disease or procedure on a video is a great way to educate people in a personable way.
  • Don’t drone on. Make your point short and sweet and when appropriate ask for feedback.
  • Party games can be fun, so use health quizzes and contests to interact with your audience.

Make it worth their time. 

  • Educate in a fun way. Be sure to provide helpful information – facts, event information, a good patient story, informative videos, recipes or helpful tips.

And in the end, thank people for coming.

  • Be sure to acknowledge your fans and the comments they make.

Follow these simple steps to be the host-ess with the most-est and watch your hospital’s Facebook likes and fan base grow.

Three births, three patient experiences.

March 29, 2011

My wife and I are the proud parents of three boys. I know, wow, three boys. Trust me, it’s a blast and we were blessed with three relatively smooth deliveries. Interestingly enough, each boy was delivered at a different hospital and each experience was very different.

The experience we had with the birth of our first son wasn’t what we expected. Your first child is never what you expect, but I’m talking about the patient experience. The hospital was cold and clinical, it was the area’s teaching hospital dedicated to “academic medicine.” My wife felt like a science experiment. The saving grace was a nurse working in the nursery at night; we’ll call her KT. She really loved babies and she loved her job. She made us feel like we had our own nurse caring just for us. We still remember her and I think my wife would include her in our will if she could find her.

Because of our first patient experience, we chose to deliver our second son at the local “boutique” hospital. It was like checking into a hotel to have a baby. It was quiet and comfortable, but we didn’t experience any hospital staff with the same passion of KT. We were treated fine and the delivery went well, but we didn’t leave feeling like we had been given care that was unforgettable.

Maybe I’m being too picky. I often think it’s unfair to expect everyone at a hospital treating my wife and me to exhibit the same kind of passion and zeal as KT’s. Or is it?

Recently my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our third son. We didn’t know what to expect. Our third son was delivered in a different city than his older brothers. My wife’s OB chose the hospital.

From the time we checked in to the time we left, we were reminded of KT because the entire staff worked with her passion and zeal. One nurse came to our room to check my son’s hearing. He started coughing and the nurse picked him up and cleared his throat. This is not uncommon but she did this gladly even though it wasn’t life threatening and not her job. Another nurse came by after her shift just to check on my wife before she left the hospital. It didn’t matter that another nurse was already on duty. Another nurse moved heaven and earth to get me a roll-away bed. I didn’t ask for a bed, all I did was make a joke about the couch being uncomfortable.

Not only are these doctors, nurses and staff members good at what they do, they love what they do and it shows.

I’m a Creative Director in the healthcare/hospital marketing field. One of the coolest things I get to do is witness the work of doctors, nurses and staff who really love what they do. When you talk with them their passion shines through. They believe in what they do and they love it.

As a “creative”, I’m always looking for new and different ways to communicate a client’s competitive advantage. I love what I do. We can saturate the market with a campaign message and light up the web with interactive and social media content. But the most powerful communications tool can be one doctor, nurse or staff member doing their job with a passion that makes them unforgettable to their patients. That’s a real competitive advantage.

While the recent great patient experience is still fresh in our minds, I know we will always remember this hospital stay with a smile. The same way we remember KT.

Overdose of Buzzwords

March 23, 2011

And, we call ourselves wordsmiths.

About a month ago, one PR strategist, Adam Sherk launched a study of 23 overused PR buzzwords utilizing PRFilter, a website that aggregates news releases. Later, PRFilter did a more extensive look at Sherk’s findings and discovered the number one overused buzzword in news releases, based on the number of uses in a 24-hour period, was “leading,” followed by “solutions.” The remaining 21 overused words are below, along with their incidence within 24 hours.

Assuming these news releases were written by professionals, it’s embarrassing. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m sure I’ve committed my share of these unpardonable sins over the years, but some of these words are so worn and meaningless, it’s hard to believe any professional would be caught using them today.

Ok, now I’m going back over this post and check for all the buzzwords that may have snuck in.

http://tinyurl.com/46t99nc

1. leading (776)
2. solution (622)
3. best (473)
4. innovate / innovative / innovator (452)
5. leader (410)
6. top (370)
7. unique (282)
8. great (245)
9. extensive (215)
10. leading provider (153)
11. exclusive (143)
12. premier (136)
13. flexible (119)
14. award winning / winner (106)
15. dynamic (95)
16. fastest (70)
17. smart (69)
18. state of the art (65)
19. cutting edge (54)
20. biggest (54)
21. easy to use (51)
22. largest (34)
23. real time (8)

Is Being the Closest Hospital Enough?

February 1, 2011

Travel around the country, especially in smaller communities, and it’s amazing how many community hospitals use little more than the selling point that they are close to home. Often, that or some form of it will be their tagline.

Our experience is that just isn’t enough. One, our research shows consumers know exactly where the closest hospital is, so telling them something they already know well isn’t likely to change their minds. More important, the more profitable consumers – the commercially insured – can and will drive for care they think will make a difference.

They not only want the care to be closer, they want to know it’s at least as good as, if not better than, what they’ll find at the larger facility 30 minutes or an hour away. In other words, convenience is not enough to keep them from making the drive.

Check out this very successful campaign we created for Meadows Regional Medical Center to turn the shorter distance into a life-saving selling proposition.

Engage Employees to Deliver Your Marketing Strategy

November 30, 2010

A recent article in Ad Age tells how several companies are involving employees directly to deliver the company’s message to customers. Some, like Pizza Hut and Southwest Airlines are involving their employees in the advertising to deliver the message from their point of view. Not exactly cutting edge, but these campaigns are working well.

The most interesting initiatives, though, are how some are involving their employees as focus groups, idea generators and more. Southwest regularly queries employees to tell about their experiences on the frontline.

Kraft has an app called “Foodii,” which is an online community of 2,000 employees where it gathers information on everything from what to name a new product to ideas on preparation methods.

Fidelity launched its latest campaign to employees first via an internal website that detailed the positioning, included FAQs, and explained the employees’ roles in the message and its success.

Successful hospitals are doing the same. A common complaint we hear from hospital employees is how they hate seeing a TV spot for the first time on TV – often after their friends have.

The most successful campaigns draw employees into the effort. Let them know what you’re doing before it appears in the media. Explain the reasoning behind the message and show them how important they are to convincing the public of the message by living the brand. Involving employees humanizes the brand and energizes the work force. As Ad Age points out, if you sell the message to employees, they’ll deliver it for you.

To see how the Mayo Clinic is engaging its employees, you may also want to check out this earlier post by Liz Nettles.

So, Really, What Do Politicians Know About Running a Hospital?

November 18, 2010

Driving by Grady Memorial Hospital while in Atlanta a few days ago reminded me of the controversy last spring concerning the hospital’s marketing budget. Grady had announced it would invest $1.5 million in marketing communications in 2010. That’s up $500,000 from its typical annual budget.

Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort lashed out at the hospital saying that investing “$2.5 million over two years is indefensible.”

Given that Grady’s 2010 operating budget is $740 million, $2.5 million over two years is less than .2 percent — or about one-third of what the average hospital spends on marketing according to the American Hospital Association’s Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD). By any measure, that’s extremely reasonable – and, Sen. Fort, not only very defensible but desperately needed for an institution whose problems include very negative perceptions.

Given the political season, I couldn’t help but wonder if Sen. Fort was as restrained in his campaign spending as he expects Grady to be.

Seems he was not. As of his October 25th campaign finance report (which excluded the final week of very expensive campaigning) Sen. Fort had already spent over $213,000 to win an office that pays $17,000 a year ($24,000, if you include his per diem).

That’s almost five times the salary and per diem for his two year term. I guess he needed to deal with a few perceptions of his own.

Unlike state senators, hospitals must earn revenue. The brand perceptions of hospitals are critical to market share and, therefore, the generation of revenue. If a state senator can spend 500 percent of his income to keep his job, I think it’s entirely reasonable — not to mention very smart — for a hospital to invest a small fraction of one percent without self-serving politicians using it as a whipping post.

So, back to my original question of what do politicians know about running a hospital? Even less than they know about running government… and we know how great a job they do with that.


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