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Tell Them Why You’re Special: Healthcare Marketing to the Consumer

May 29, 2012

Healthcare is a topic every American can relate to, so healthcare marketers have an enormous opportunity to connect with consumers through easy-to-digest, useful information.

HBO’s “Weight of the Nation” series has created a h0uge following by capitalizing on the newsworthy topic of obesity. As a result, healthcare providers and companies around the world are sharing HBO Tweets, referencing information the show brings to light and bringing engagement to HBO and the show’s creators.

So how does a non-media giant like HBO get this type of attention? They must first create messages and stories that a specific audience is very passionate about. Then, they should share that information in a format that’s user-friendly.

Here are a few examples:

Infographics: These creative charts with eye-catching images are everywhere, and healthcare is an industry that can greatly benefit from their use. Think statistics, tips, images… All are relevant to healthcare, and when produced in a quick infographic, the consumer is much more likely to pay attention and even post it in a personal space.

Interactive Social Media: Yes, post news about your organization on social media channels, but make sure that 80 percent of your posts are consumer-friendly tips or information that sparks conversation, creating engagement between your organization and its followers. Yes, a new wing on a hospital is big news, but asking patients to share how they will be impacted will keep your followers more engaged. Also consider contests asking for customer feedback in exchange for a chance to win something, such as a free massage, pedometer, or a complimentary visit with a nutritionist. Consumers will engage in social media that will immediately benefit them.

User-Friendly Websites: If you’re marketing to consumers, make your website a place they want to go by adding resources such as tools or helpful information. American Heart Association does a great job at this by offering many consumer-friendly resources, including interactive health assessments, healthy snack lists and the latest studies and information on nutrition.

Relevant Email Marketing: Don’t fill your audiences’ inboxes with junk. Instead, create a campaign that delivers information consumers want and need. If consumers have opted in to your notifications by sharing their email addresses, that means they are already open to receiving information. Make it useful and give them reasons to continue using your product or visiting your practice.

Spotlight Experts: Find opportunities for your top experts to share their knowledge and help build the reputation of your organization. This could be in a bylined article, through a speaking opportunity at a conference, or by being quoted as an expert in a top consumer publication. Showcasing your talent is an excellent way to build the reputation of an organization, and a seasoned public relations consultant can help make this happen.

Blog: Share your organization’s expertise with the world. Blog about topics in the news and relevant to your audience. Comment on other bloggers’ posts and refer back to your own blog when it makes sense. However, make sure the blog is updated frequently. If you get people interested, they’ll want to come back for more. One way to manage this task is by creating a content calendar and assigning a different expert to post each week.

Community Relations: Get out in the community and meet your customers. Sponsor community events. Volunteer at schools. Join organizations where other community leaders are heavily involved. The best way to achieve success in this area is have a strategic plan on hand. Create a team that can monitor for the most appropriate opportunities that will produce results and help create buzz around your organization.

Healthcare organizations are expected to communicate clearly to consumers and provide the highest level of service, especially as healthcare laws change.  Creating a marketing and communications strategy that your audience can relate to will help your organization stay ahead of the curve and stand out in this very competitive industry.

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