The pandemic has left many organizations and most certainly, healthcare systems, pondering their marketing strategies, messaging, as well as, branding initiatives. Connecting with patients has changed, the acceleration and adoption of telehealth and the focus on healthcare during a pandemic have led to a necessity and shift in marketing and communication strategies. Medical practices, solo-practitioners, surgeons and major hospital and healthcare systems have sought guidance, council and stewardship from an effective healthcare marketing agency and these efforts are indeed prudent. Let’s explore further.
Human Connection Becomes Epicenter
Social distancing has caused the desire for face-to-face interactions to become an integral part of healthcare. Not just in the sense of telemedicine, but in the way patients interact with their healthcare providers. From websites to social media channel content, the human connection has become a vital necessity. Savvy healthcare systems are beginning to embrace this need by utilizing their staff and resources in new ways. You may be surprised to learn that familiarity with social channels and even content creation is part of the daily lives for clinical staff and nurses to receptionists and even billing team members. Harnessing their skills in this realm gives you an instant engagement team where webinars can be created, faces, rather than verbiage, can share critical updates and messaging can more easily be passed to, and digested by, a plethora of stake holders. This benefit runs deep, from board members and local businesses to patients and caregivers.
The Shift in Communication is to Education
Many health systems have taken a queue from their healthcare marketing agencies and massaged their narrative to one of education. COVID-19 spawned a significant uptick of questions and research within search and social environments, often spawned in fear for the health and safety of their families and communities. Meeting that demand, healthcare marketing is finding greater success by creating a plethora of content that meets the insatiable demand for health knowledge. Everything from case studies to local community reports, infographics and social media updates are in demand and vastly digested by these audiences. These pieces of content can communicate steps patients may take to protect themselves, screening locations, appointment options and times, and even the notion of hope and positivity via success stories.
Power in Numbers
Patients cannot look very far today without being bombarded with numbers. The number of COVID cases, deaths, infections, hospital occupancy rates, you name it. Whereas these numbers can be daunting, they can also paint another narrative; one of proactive opportunity. Healthcare provider agencies are leading marketing dollars into content and assets that share numbers in a different light. Rather than communicating that appointments are 80% full, this is shifted to the fact that patients still have 20% of the schedule open for their screening. As opposed to stating that the number of cases are rising, as are the number of those who succumb to illness, they are stating the number of days their facility has been supporting the community.
In some communities and health facilities where COVID has been rampant, the notion that infection rates are rising is known, and often propagated. However, a lens that can provided benefit is the percentage of staff members whom have tested positive, this is often far lower. For example, “Our staff tests often and less than 2% have tested positive.” In a time where we are accustomed to seeing double digits seeing a low single digit builds trust and hope. Fold this into an overarching narrative that your safety allows you to provide their safety and the ecosystem has been constructed viscerally.
Trusting Professionals and Staying in Lanes
Now more than ever, a robust, cohesive marketing matrix and sophisticated marketing strategy is critical. In fact, with the diverse offerings now available within the marketing and communications world, it can feel overwhelming. Many healthcare systems and practitioners have turned to healthcare marketing agencies to guide them and navigate the seas of always shifting marketing opportunities. From digital marketing, which runs the gamut of social media, search engine rankings, forums, blogs, display and programmatic buys, to traditional branding, creative, print, PR and outdoor, marketing in and of itself can warrant nonstop attention. By allowing a marketing agency to manage this facet, healthcare systems can focus on their patients.
It is important to meet patients where they are today, both in a geo perspective as well as an emotional perspective. Allowing agencies to guide tactical implementation, crafting a narrative of positivity and hope, and harnessing our own staff to help propagate messaging can lead to success, connectivity and growth.