5 Reasons Hospital Marketing Will Benefit by Devising Digital Plans

March 12, 2014
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Depending on fiscal year cutoffs, hospitals utilize different timeframes for establishing budgets. If your fiscal year marketing budget is up for review soon, it may not be as simple as saying you are going to continue implementing the same marketing plans you have utilized for the past year and then requesting a small budget increase. If your strategy doesn’t include digital, you may have to rethink your entire approach.

Depending on fiscal year cutoffs, hospitals utilize different timeframes for establishing budgets. If your fiscal year marketing budget is up for review soon, it may not be as simple as saying you are going to continue implementing the same marketing plans you have utilized for the past year and then requesting a small budget increase. If your strategy doesn’t include digital, you may have to rethink your entire approach.

Hospital Digital Marketing, Online Marketing, Medical Marketing

In the new healthcare provider economy, hospital marketing plans are under intense pressure to define a brand and attract patients that will help the hospital increase revenue year-over-year. In a recent collection of industry facts, HealthWorks Collective, the world’s best thinkers on healthcare, asserts that digital is the way we connect and learn today. Based on their outlook for the coming year, here are five reasons hospital marketing will benefit by devising digital plans:

  1. Old is Out, New is In: According to Google’s Think Insights on The Digital Journey to Wellness, offline marketing strategies such as television, magazines and newspapers are far less important than digital media opportunities. Their research shows that 84% of patients use both online and offline sources for research, 77% of patients use search engines, and 76% of patients use hospital sites. Strategies that don’t incorporate SEO technique and website optimization are missing opportunities to connect with potential patients.
     
  2. SEO is Crucial: The Pew Research report, Health Online 2013, revealed that 77% of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. This means that marketing executives need to develop a strategy so their hospital can be found using search, which includes a strong website, a social marketing strategy, a content marketing strategy, and SEO.
     
  3. Mobile Matters: The Google rundown also found that 44% of patients who found hospitals on their mobile devices scheduled an appointment. Hospital website designs must be mobile friendly and flexible enough to be viewable on multiple kinds of electronic devices.
     
  4. Video is Vital: Patients watched an online video on hospital sites significantly more than videos on health insurance information sites, health information sites, YouTube, or health insurance company sites. Video can dramatically assist hospitals in presenting branding, marketing and educational information to website visitors. Video is highly efficient at building connections and increasing motivation to make an appointment.
     
  5. Use Social Marketing to Build a Brand: A hospital’s brand and reputation in the community is important to prospective patients. Recommendations from physicians, family and friends rank highly in hospital choice. Hospital marketing plans can encourage and benefit from online influencers who comment positively on their hospital experience. These online referrals keep the hospital top-of-mind when medical care is required.

Hospital marketing budgets need to grow and evolve as quickly as the media they rely on to transmit their message. If a significant percentage of next year’s budget isn’t devoted to digital marketing, the hospital may fall behind.