Healthcare organizations face all kinds of challenges when it comes to effectively marketing their products and services, from limited budgets and resources to making sense of measurements and metrics. More times than not, these challenges evoke feelings of hopelessness, leaving small and mid-size organizations wondering if their healthcare marketing efforts are paying off at all.
Marketing on a limited budget doesn’t have to be so hard. In fact, with careful and decisive planning, healthcare providers can employ practicable tactics to achieve their marketing goals; and better yet, prove results.
The following are four tips you can implement today to increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Tip # 1: Create a marketing plan.
Having a plan in place ensures you consistently hit your marketing objectives, whether they be monthly or quarterly goals. It’s imperative to identify where you were, where you are, and where you want to go in terms of marketing success. Successful organizations develop a plan and stick to it. This doesn’t mean the plan has to be fixed and non-negotiable. Targets are always moving, especially if this is your first marketing plan, or you are in the beginning stages of launching a new product or service. Just know that preparation is key and foresight is your best friend.
Tip #2: Forget about keeping up with the Joneses.
So this is where a lot of organizations get it wrong. Of course you want to remain competitive by staying abreast on what your colleagues in the industry are doing, but what works for one company may not work for the other. Keep in mind there is not a “one-size-fits-all” method to marketing. If you are just starting out with building a name for yourself, or you are rebranding to create a new and distinct identity, then your focus should be on the goals that are attainable and measurable for your organization. Monitoring the activity coming from your neighbor down the street can be useful in setting benchmarks, but keep in mind your unique selling point is yours—and only yours.
Tip #3: Develop your voice.
This one is so important, especially in this day and age of marketing. Consumers are savvy and they want what they want, and they want it now. Developing your voice correlates to getting noticed—especially online. There’s a concept many marketers are familiar with, push and pull marketing, and it means exactly what it sounds like.
In push marketing, companies take their services to the consumer. Think in terms of having to “push” your way through a busy crowd. I’m not suggesting this type of marketing can’t be effective, but it does require considerable energy and work to knock down the doors of potential customers. In pull marketing, consumers find you. This is also known as inbound marketing. Working to develop your voice, in what sometimes can seem like an overcrowded marketplace, drives potential customers to you. This is what you ultimately want. It means you have built a name for yourself and people know who to turn to when faced with a need. When organizations combine push marketing with pull marketing, the two marry and can be quite effective.
Tip #4: Remain consistent with marketing efforts.
We've all heard this before, but it's so true…consistency is the key to success. Now that you have developed your voice, your customers have come to rely on you. You are the leader in your industry. Consistent marketing efforts will help you maintain your rank among competitors.
Ponder this analogy: Your company is the vehicle, marketing is the fuel. Many organizations look at marketing as a band-aid. They only apply it when something is wrong, or the business is hurting. Marketing shouldn’t be treated as a temporary fix.
Is your census down? Are online reviews painting the wrong picture? Are you having a difficult time building relationships with referral sources? These are real issues healthcare organizations face on a daily basis. Marketing is the key to turning things around, but it’s not a fix-it-and-forget it approach. Marketing efforts need to be consistent, continual and “yes,” strategic. After all, it’s the fuel that propels your business forward.
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