By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
A quick survey of 4 communications cornerstones and 24 basic ideas that might belong in your marketing plan.
This is a “forest-for-the-trees” kind of thing. Or maybe it’s a “nose-on-your-face” deal. In any event, overlooking an obvious opportunity is definitely common, and even somewhat understandable.
Hospitals, practices and healthcare organizations are busy places and marketing good intentions and otherwise fundamental communications can get sidetracked. Take a couple minutes to see if you are missing a good chance to connect with current and prospective patients.
Checking the list.
Here are more than two dozen ideas that are often considered in creating a marketing plan. They are listed under the four most common communications channels. Sometimes even the most obvious options are overlooked, underutilized or forgotten.
These are many of the basics, but it’s not a complete or exhaustive list. Plus, there may be other things—not on this list—that are more appropriate to you and your business, and some things may not be right for your plan. (Knowing which is which can be the biggest challenge.)
So, keep a high-altitude perspective and see what maybe within your reach:
Internal — these are the tools, programs or procedures that communicate with the current patient base—the people who are already patients and/or are likely to visit the organization, hospital or practice again, and who are likely to refer family and friends.
- Creating the Patient-centered Healthcare Organization
- Improving the Patient Experience
- Encouraging Patient Referrals
- Presenting Additional Services
- Brochure, Pamphlet, Poster
- E-newsletter and Mailings
External – These are the methods that speak to the target audience of prospective patients. These target individuals have a need (or are likely to have a need) that you can serve, but they are not patients or don’t have awareness of the business as a resource.
- External Office Sign
- Yellow Pages Advertising
- Direct Mail Advertising
- Local Newspaper/Magazine Ads
- Local Broadcast (Radio/TV/Cable)
- Promotional Publicity and Activities
Professional Referral — These are the elements of a highly focused system for hospitals, groups or private practitioners that refer patients from their practice to your practice, hospital or organization. In some situations, inbound referral of patients, usually from a generalist to a specialist, is a significant revenue stream.
- Key Referrer Program
- Proactive Communications
- Front Office Staff Connectivity
- Professional Alert Letters
- Cultivating Relationships
- Mutual Promotional Activities
Internet — Special attention is afforded to the crossover capabilities of the Internet that allows it to play a communications role in speaking to all three of the other groups.
- The Healthcare Organization Website in All Marketing
- Website Search Engine Optimization
- Paid Advertising on the Internet
- Online “Find a Doctor” Directories
- Creating Link Exchanges
- Internal vs. External Messaging
Do you know the best options to achieve your marketing goals and objectives? What will work hardest in an effective marketing plan—custom crafted to your situation—and how do all those moving parts come together to work smoothly?
We’d be pleased to help you sort through your options.