Starting off a new year can seem downright daunting. It’s easy to feel the pressure to top last year with bigger and better goals and achievements this year — both personal and professional.
Are seemingly monstrous, abstract goals and objectives like driving volume and increasing engagement giving you the spins worse than your Uncle Eugene’s eggnog? (Blargh. Too soon?) If so, rest easy (and make sure you keep one foot on the floor), because we’re here to help make the pursuit of your 2019 healthcare branding goals manageable.
Regardless of the timing of your fiscal calendar, there’s no better time than January to use the momentum of the New Year to get organized and reenergized. We put together a list of quick and easy daily tasks for you and your team to tackle this month that will have you thanking us all year long. The tasks are organized into four critical components of your brand — one for each week, starting the first full week of the month.
Each task should take about 15 minutes. And by our calculations, that’s only 3.125 percent of your work day. By the end of January, you’ll have given your brand a healthy start on 2019 with enhanced:
- Employee engagement
- Patient experience
- Patient engagement
Week 1: Employee Engagement
Chances are that you’ve heard about the importance of building an impressive brand from the inside out. A healthy internal brand unites employees with a shared direction and inspires ownership.
During the first full week of January, focus on employee engagement. Specifically, work to deepen employees’ involvement in building and nurturing your organization’s brand.
*Note: You can combine the first, second and fifth tasks if you’d prefer to send one email.
- Monday, January 7: Online reviews not only give patients more insight when making healthcare decisions. They also help to elevate organizations and individual doctors in search results. Send an email to service line administrators that they can forward to their staff asking them to:
- Follow your organization’s social media accounts
- Leave a positive, thoughtful, multi-sentence review on your organization’s Facebook, Google My Business and review sites, and encourage them to also review their doctors within the institution
- Tuesday, January 8: Ask your providers to ask their patients to do the same thing. Specifically, send an email to service line administrators that they can forward to their doctors asking them to solicit reviews from their patients on your organization’s review sites.
- Wednesday, January 9: Speaking of reviews — did one of your hospital’s clinical staff get kudos on social media? As soon as you respond to the comment, SPREAD THE POSITIVITY! So much positive feedback goes uncelebrated and unnoticed. But it’s this feedback that just might be the fuel that your staff need to power their day and continue making patients happy.
- Thursday, January 10: One of the ways we engage employees is by leveraging their knowledge and expertise through thought leadership. Determine your highest-volume providers if you don’t know who they are already. Reach out to them to schedule a brief photo shoot for some social media posts. Think about ways to highlight their expertise for your blog and patient stories sites.
- Friday, January 11: Taking yesterday’s thought leadership-oriented task a step farther — send an email to service line administrators asking if they have any leading-edge procedures scheduled. Certain procedures may warrant a Facebook Live event or, based on the outcome, a patient story. These procedures highlight your doctors’ and organization’s specialized expertise and serve as rocket fuel for your content marketing channels.
Extra credit: Don’t forget to share with employees the innovative things happening throughout your organization. This sharing inspires greatness and some healthy competition! Learn about improving your hospital’s internal communication.
Week 2: Patient Experience
When employees are more engaged, patients have a more positive experience. This is key, because your patients’ experience is your brand.
During week two, shift the focus to patient experience. This week the goal is to strengthen patients’ connection with your organization’s brand.
- Monday, January 14: Connect (or reconnect) with the team within your hospital that oversees patient experience. Initiate a monthly meeting with this team to learn how marketing and patient experience can work together to improve your brand.
- Tuesday, January 15: Remember those cards you created for clinics’ front desk staff to remind patients to leave reviews on Facebook, Google and your review sites? Visit a high-volume outpatient clinic in your hospital, and check in with the front desk staff on distribution, if they need more cards, etc. Thank them for handling this additional task, reminding them how critical they are to the brand.
- Wednesday, January 16: Ask patients how you can improve, even if it’s through an Instagram story question. Consider how marketing can fill any gaps, and partner with your colleagues across the organization to implement the rest.
- Thursday, January 17: Send an email to service line administrators to solicit patient stories. Add the stories to your editorial calendar, and begin scheduling interviews as they come in.
- Friday, January 18: Dig into your healthcare customer relationship management (HCRM) data to map the patient journey. Patient journey mapping helps healthcare marketers understand what patients experience throughout the course of their care. We’ll revisit this topic and talk about why it’s important next week!
Extra credit: As a healthcare marketer, you know that your patients’ relationship with your organization starts before they ever walk into your facility. Learn how to drive growth by elevating the pre-patient experience.
Week 3: Patient Engagement
When patients leave your facility, your job isn’t done. As a healthcare marketer, your work continues as you strive to keep patients engaged outside the hospital.
When your audience sees or hears your organization’s brand in the marketplace, they likely don’t have an immediate need for your services. That’s why it is so important that you do your job to keep your organization top-of-mind among your consumers.
- Monday, January 21: Patient journey mapping not only helps us understand the patient experience but also helps us keep them engaged in between touch points. Consider using your HCRM’s marketing automation tool if you aren’t already. And take an inventory of the content you have at your fingertips that you could use. Marketing automation leverages existing content and repurposes it to send timed emails that accomplish two things:
- Keep your consumers engaged
- Drive more traffic to your organization’s website
- Tuesday, January 22: Informed patients tend to be healthier patients. Spend a minute or so brainstorming one informative wellness-related blog post topic for each month of 2019. Identify subject matter experts for each piece, and get started reaching out to them or their administrators to schedule interviews. You can also use this content for marketing automation. Learn 6 reasons why you should be sending a wellness email campaign.
- Wednesday, January 23: Block out a few days sometime this year to hold individual physician video shoots. Send an email to service line administrators asking to gauge their doctors’ interest and availability. Remind them that videos are great for leveraging your providers to grow your market share. They’re the most effective medium for conveying emotion — an important healthcare decision-making factor that we want to tap. It’s common for individuals to choose a doctor (or not choose a doctor) based on how the doctor made them feel.
- Thursday, January 24: What is your organization doing to support patients and families following a diagnosis and throughout their care journey? Does it offer online or in-person support groups? Put your feelers out by reaching out to administrators who work with service lines such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurology. Recommend Facebook as a viable platform for hosting online support groups. And keep in mind that these groups serve as great pools for patient stories.
- Friday, January 25: Someone on your team is responding to reviews on review sites, Facebook and Google, right? (Please say “yes.”) Do a quick audit of your consumer response efforts by checking out your hospital’s review sites and Facebook and Google My Business pages. In the mindset of a consumer, read through the comments, focusing on the responses, and make note of opportunities for improvement. Have a response matrix? Make any changes there. Keep in mind that social media is all about engagement, and that’s what your audiences want.
Week 4: Digital Marketing Catch-All
While previous weeks included components of digital marketing, we’re dedicating the final four working days of January to some final digital marketing tasks. Why? Your best bang for buck is with digital marketing, because your audience is online and making healthcare decisions there.
- Monday, January 28: Walk around your hospital’s campus, and snap a few social-friendly photos for sharing during dry spells. As you know, social media isn’t just a platform for consumer products. Your target audience — commercial payers — are online and using social media to determine to whom they should turn for care.
- Tuesday, January 29: Are there any topics you plan to promote on social media that would best be represented visually? If so, determine which posts would make good infographics. Your audience likes to see a mix of content: photos, videos, links to web content such as blog posts and patient stories, and more. And more importantly, everyone learns and processes information differently, especially when dealing with uncomfortable symptoms or a disappointing diagnosis.
- Wednesday, January 30: Spend some time in Google Analytics to learn about which webpages on your site have a high bounce rate, which is usually 70 percent or higher. A couple things you can do to decrease your bounce rate:
- Look at the keywords you’re targeting, and make sure they’re specific enough to attract the right audience.
- Keep visitors to your website engaged by delivering valuable content that follows the inverted pyramid structure (front-loaded with the most necessary information followed by supporting information).
- Thursday, January 31: Revisit some existing web content, such as blog posts or patient stories, that you plan to share on social media soon. Make sure each page of content has:
- A call to action with a linked URL
- At least one link within the copy to another blog post or patient story
- Linked text that matches the h1 of the destination page
Extra credit: Need help? Learn 3 benefits of using a digital marketing partner for your social media management.
As you plan to make big things happen in 2019 and beyond, you need a team you can trust. Specifically, you need a healthcare marketing agency that has a track record of success with creating positive brand experiences for organizations like yours. Contact Jennifer Horton, VP Strategy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-253-6311 to learn more about how we can help make this year your best yet.