How to plan your marketing strategy for a new hospital
Hospitals have long-standing traditions of helping their community, providing compassionate care, and operating in outdated facilities because new hospital construction is expensive.
If you’re one of the health systems given the green light for major renovation or a new facility, put that victory on the marketing department gratitude list and get ready to make the most of this opportunity.
Provide updates early and often
People are curious by nature. They want to know what’s happening, when, why, and where all that money is going?! They also want to feel involved in the process because it’s their town. To satisfy these curiosities and give people a sense of ownership in the project, provide information early and often via your primary webpage and social media channels.
Create a home-base for your information. Generally, this consists of a landing page or microsite that features stats about the project, photos, architectural renderings, services offered, updates, and a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section. If you need clarity on the best tools for your hospital, take our digital assessment.
Post construction photos regularly – every two to three weeks at the beginning and then weekly once the project is near completion. Watching the project unfold in real time gets people invested in the process and excited for the completion of each stage. It’s also a great way to increase your followers on a variety of platforms.
Capitalize on employee excitement
A new or significantly upgraded facility generally means a nice, refreshed space for employees. If staff had input in the design process and feel a sense of pride in their contributions, take advantage of this excitement by featuring them in your updates and photos.
Turn your new hospital or clinic grand opening into a recruitment opportunity by showing off areas specifically designed for staff or upgrades that will help people do their jobs more efficiently. Think of it as a covert way to promote your hospital values, commitment to employee well-being, and dedication to patient safety.
Offer a behind-the-scenes virtual tour
Giving the public a glimpse of normally-restricted areas makes them feel special – like they are truly part of the hospital family. It’s also a great way to highlight hidden departments like laundry or lab and explain the important services those employees provide.
Need an example? Invite your most loved cardiologist to give a virtual tour of the new cath lab or operating room and highlight the technology – they most likely picked out – and explain how it will save lives. Follow that with photos or short videos where nurses and other staff members show viewers all the amazing features incorporated into the new space. Remember, authentic information from trusted sources goes a long way with millennials.
Identify your unique selling point
Number-one songs, best-selling products, and promoting new hospitals have something in common – a hook – something that catches the audience’s attention and leaves them wanting more. While writing a jingle about catheters and colonoscopies might be taking it a bit too far, emphasizing one or two unique features of the facility can help your message go the extra mile.
So, what do you emphasize? How about the parts of the project that impact the patient experience the most? Do you have convenient and free parking? Are all the ancillary services like lab, x-ray, and outpatient pharmacy in the same place? What complaints did they have about the old hospital and how did you fix it? Basically, what’s in it for them?
Schedule sneak preview events
Consider offering a few pre-grand opening events to a select group of VIPs to create buzz and get people talking. Those invited should be brand ambassadors who will be willing to share all the inside scoop with their friends and followers. To maximize your social capital, include people from these three groups on the invitation lists:
An easy way to make employees feel valued is to offer them the first look at the new construction. Designate a handful of times (spanning multiple shifts) over a two-day period for staff members to take a tour. Create banners, posters, and product guides that highlight new technology and innovations.
Family and Friends
Have a family preview day where hospital and health system leaders, board members and key stakeholders who collaborated on the project can celebrate. Invite the contractors, designers, and architects to attend as well. They’re excited and proud of the finished result. Let them show off the new space and point out all the things they had a hand in creating or supporting.
Your local and regional news outlets are chomping at the bit to get inside the construction barricades and see what the fuss is all about. So, designate a time for them to come and check out the space but also hear from your experts, see some tech demonstrations, and gain an understanding of just how much positive impact your project will have on the community!
Use SEO to promote the hospital opening date
You’ve built a state-of-the-art hospital with the latest technology and platinum LEED certification, but when does it open? This tiny detail is among the most important bits of information to share because what good is a hospital with no patients?
This is where your SEO strategy gets to shine. We know Google ranks pages based on user intent and how well your site answers the query at hand, so strategically weave answers to the most likely questions into your posts and content. “When does it open?” “Where is it located?” “Do they have an emergency room?” Solid execution of a digital plan makes it infinitely more likely the people who need you, can find you.
Hopefully, these insights will lead to a grand opening of epic proportions that your community won’t soon forget.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.