Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your staff from all of us at SRJEasyHealthcare.com. We hope you all can enjoy the holidays with good cheer, good company, and good health.
The holidays are such a great time to reach out to your community and share the spirit of the season. You can show them how grateful you are for their patronage and at the same time, you can show how grateful you are to your staff by boosting their personal image within your community.
Creating a personal brand
You can think of your senior medical staff as the players on a premier sports team. While healthcare is always a team effort, but you want to highlight those “players” who can represent the human face of your hospital and who’s expertise establishes your hospital’s trust among the community you serve.
Give careful thought to the strengths of each of your caregivers. What makes them great at their work? Why do patients love them? What are their driving goals and passions? Create a marketing profile for everyone you want to promote.
Then, use these profiles, along with professional pictures to create marketing messages that build their reputation in your community. Show them as voices of authority on medical subjects important to your patients. By building them up, you build your hospital up, and you create a lasting bond between the community and your providers.
Personal holiday messages
The holidays are the perfect time to launch this kind of marketing effort. You can create a great holiday greeting for the community as a message from individual members of your senior medical staff. These can be used as advertisements, social media messages, emails, or direct mailers.
You want these messages to have a personal tone and to reflect the style and expertise of the staff member they are from. Of course, make sure the staff member is comfortable with the message. They don’t need to write it themselves, but it should be in keeping with what they would like to express to the local community during the holidays.
Keep them coming
While the holidays are a great time for this kind of messaging, keep your star providers in the spotlight. Use them as voices of expertise in public service announcements. Feature their images and names in your promotions. Build their brand and they will help build your hospital’s brand.
Last week we discussed the Nurturing voice in Healthcare Marketing. This week we are turning our attention to the Authoritative Voice. Your marketing voice is the style of writing and communication you use to promote your brand and your services. It speaks at an emotional level to your market and serves to build trust in your brand.
Authority and trust go hand in hand
The voice of authority is the voice of the strong and trusted father figure who has the ability and wisdom to provide for and protect his family from the dangers of the world. Authority shows confidence when the world is frightening. This is the voice you trust when times are difficult.
When people face serious health challenges, they want knowledgable, experienced, and confident doctors and health care professionals to guide them through the challenge and see them safely to good health and long life. By taking on this voice, your hospital can be the authority members of your community turn to at such times.
Showing your credentials
One of the keys of authority is to highlight the credentials of your staff and your hospital. Always use professional titles and try to include significant accomplishments or accolades from other authoritative sources. Showing partnership with other figures with gravitas can burnish your own image.
Phrases like “Leading the way”, “Proven commitment”, and “Trusted authority” all convey an image that strengthens this voice for your brand. Highlight how long you have been serving your community. Tout your successes and your credibility.
Use authoritative language
Authority figures are expected to speak clearly and directly. Avoid overly poetic language or long-winded explanations. Limit qualifying language only to cases where it is absolutely necessary. If you feel like you must include a lot of qualifying language, consider not making that statement.
Also, you also want to avoid the passive voice whenever possible.
In the Compassionate voice, we focus on “you” in messaging. With the authoritative voice, your institution and your experts should be the focus. Instead, talk about what you know, what you can do, and how you can provide the best care for your patients.
Hospitals exist in a dynamic between nurturing and authoritative. But whenever you are communicating with the public, choose one of the two styles and stay consistent with it. It is ok to put out both messages, but don’t mix them in one communication. Choose which will be your focus, and stay consistent with it.
Every brand should consider their voice. By this we mean, the style and tone of the words you use to represent and market your brand. Your brand’s voice speaks to your market at an emotional level sending messages about why they should trust you and use your services.
Two essential voices in healthcare
Honestly, fear is the emotion that your voice should be addressing. Fear of what is happening to a person’s health and what will happen in the future. Your brand’s voice needs to speak to that fear and to remedy it. There are two different voices that can do this: Nurturing and Authoritative. This week we will look at the Nurturing voice.
We are going to take care of you
The goal of the nurturing voice is to fight against fear by promising to take care of your patients. You take on the role of the mother who will do everything they can to protect their child and see to their well being. It is a very powerful voice for combating fear and uncertainty. It is essential in healthcare.
The nurturing voice also combats fears about the unknown. Many people have a negative view of hospitals as places that are cold and clinical. By adopting a nurturing voice you sooth these fears and transform their image into a place where everything is focused on the patient’s safety and comfort.
Elements of the nurturing voice
A nurturing voice starts with a personal tone. The word “you” is essential for this. You want to seem to be talking to only one person, the one reading or listening to your message. Speak to emotions. Show you understand someone’s worries and state clearly you want to help.
Words like “warm”, “compassionate”, “caring”, and “love” are powerful signals. You want to avoid technical and clinical terms. You want to consider how words make you feel as much as what they mean. Focus on what you are going to do to help and support others.
Not every marketing message needs to have the same voice, but within any given message, you absolutely want to stay consistent. If you have boilerplate messaging, make sure it matches the voice you want to use and is consistent with your brand overall.
A good practice is to review every piece of marketing material for voice. Have in mind what you are aiming for, and look for places to strengthen this voice and for places to remove competing voices.
Thanksgiving will be here soon but rural hospital marketing must be more aggressive now than ever before. Out of sight, out of mind! And, since this is the busiest time of the year for healthcare needs, you do not want to be ‘out-of-mind. The good news is that it’s not too late to market your services for the holidays.
Connecting your brand to the most positive parts of people’s lives goes a long way to building trust and awareness in your community.
Making the connection during the holiday buzz
The best connections have an emotional component. These will stick in people’s memory. That said, thematic or logical connections are also good. Let’s look at an example.
Connecting Wellness Exams to Thanksgiving
The end of the year is an ideal time to promote wellness exams. Most insurance packages will include a free yearly checkup but many people put them off or forget to take advantage of this benefit. Now is the time to remind them they can be pro-active about their health.
So how do we connect Wellness Exams to Thanksgiving? The goal of a wellness exam is to maintain good health. Thanksgiving is among the most family-centered holidays. One strong motivation for people to stay healthy is for the sake of their family.
Now you just need to put these ideas together.
This Thanksgiving – Stay strong for your family
Families across America are gathering together to give thanks this holiday season. And among the things we are all thankful for is the health of our loved ones. Taking care of your health is going to bring joy and peace to those you love.
Now is the time to take an active part in ensuring your good health. An essential part of this is to make sure that you have your yearly wellness exam. This is your chance to meet with your primary care provider, check your health, share your concerns, and chart a path to a long and fruitful life, one you can share with those you love for a long time to come.
The “Bigger is Better” mentality is a threat to rural healthcare
Far too many people have been led to believe that Bigger is Better when it comes to healthcare. It is a common misconception that large hospitals mean better outcomes for patients despite evidence to the contrary. The continued out-migration of rural residents to urban hospitals has put many rural hospitals in dire financial straits.
We must fight this idea
It falls upon all of us who are providing valuable
healthcare services in rural communities to fight against this “bigger is
better” mentality. There are two fronts in this battle. The first is to provide
quality care close to home. The second is to make our communities aware of
these services and their value through effective marketing.
You are the experts on providing quality care and we are the
experts at effective marketing. Here are some of the most effective marketing
strategies to fight out-migration.
Three ways to fight “Bigger is Better”
- Community Involvement
- A focus on local concerns
- Persistent messaging on the quality of small
As members of the local community, you have a unique advantage over out of town hospitals. You understand what events and organizations which are key cultural touchstones in your community. By partnering with these organizations and events you can build incredible social trust and recognition in your community.
Familiarity is a key part of trust-building. You want your brand connected to the local identity and in the mind of every potential customer. You want to show you are out there, caring for the community and looking out for people. This way, when people need help, they will have you at the front of their mind.
Focus on Local Concerns
The healthcare needs of rural communities are different from those of the city and are often unique in each area. If you can speak to what is specifically on the minds of local people then they will see you as understanding their needs far better than the corporate giant.
Make your patient’s concerns front and center in your marketing efforts and be sure to highlight how your services can help them with their health concerns.
Persistent Messaging about quality
A quick Google search about “Healthcare bigger is not
better” will lead you to a host of academic articles and expert opinion on why
smaller healthcare providers can be just as effective and more affordable than
mega-hospitals. You can use these kinds of articles in your social media
marketing or in press releases for local news.
The more you share these ideas in your community the more
this message will take hold. And if we all participate in this effort, the
combined messaging magnifies the impact. The more times you hear a message, the
more likely you are to take it to heart so persistence is key.