Is your hospital planning for 2023 yet?

Is your hospital planning for 2023 yet?

It seems like 2022 just began, yet here we are on the cusp of November. With just two months remaining, now is the time to determine how you will market and promote your hospital, clinics, and services in 2023.

Effective strategic planning is crucial to growing your hospital and clinics. Whenever I meet with a new prospective client, I am always asked how soon is too soon to begin planning for the New Year.

Ben Franklin once said, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The most important thing is that you recognize that a strategic marketing communications plan is essential to a successful business – no matter the industry.

As we progress into November and December, I challenge you to consider the following five questions and their answers. They will help you put a strategic communications plan into perspective and lead you down a path of business success.

How did the hospital and clinic(s) perform over the past year?

Asking this simple question is a great starting point when planning for the upcoming year. Savvy administrators can usually tell me in an instant how their facilities are doing because they are constantly tracking performance.

When comparing your marketing communications programs to your sales, you should see a correlation between what tactics worked and what did not. This knowledge will help you assess how to plan for the coming year, what tactics to continue, and what you need to change.

What specific goals do I want to accomplish in 2023?

Whether it be patient count, the number of procedures, or anything else, goal setting is critical for your facilities. A great way to set a goal is to aim for a realistic figure.

For example, one might want to increase patient volume in 2023 by 20 percent. If that is realistic, then perfect! Put the goal in writing. Now that the top goal has been established, how will you achieve it?

Additional goals that can contribute to your success would be growing your social media presence, increasing website traffic, or having your clinic(s) gain a certain number of new patients.

How does this relate to marketing communications?

The answer to this question should be straightforward—a written strategic plan. A communications plan is critical to achieving your goals.

Your strategic plan should include tactics, timelines, and responsibilities to yourself and your team. Once created, you should reference it continuously throughout the year to remain focused and on track. Think of a written marketing plan as the roadmap to achieving your destination – or in this case, your goals.

How often should I monitor performance?

Every month, every week, every day! Depending on the tactics and goals you have outlined, monitoring your hospital’s performance may be essential. If something does not seem to be working, you may need to tweak your tactics or adjust your goals to something closer within reach.

The most important thing to remember is to monitor frequently. You do not want to end 2023 and realize that your program has flopped and you did not progress toward your goals – and bottom line.

When should I start planning for 2023?

Now is the perfect time to begin planning for the New Year. As our economy continues to change, planning for success has never been more critical.

Do not let a single day of 2023 be a missed opportunity! Give SRJ a call at 214-528-5755 for a free consultation on how a strategic marketing communications plan can help streamline your hospital’s marketing communications initiatives to use your resources better and help you achieve bottom-line profits.

Opening Communication with your Community

Opening Communication with your Community

Time has a way of going by quickly. I cannot believe that it has been nearly 34 years since I started SRJ Marketing Communications and have been working with various rural hospitals, clinics and organizations to improve their marketing communications programs and achieve bottom-line results.

Over the last three decades, I have also developed quite a niche and passion for rural healthcare marketing. I learned that most of the challenges with rural hospitals have to do with the lack of external communication.

When rural hospitals fail to develop a comprehensive and consistent external communications program, local awareness tends to dissipate over time—leading to out-migration.

While the reasons for out-migration may vary from one hospital to another, opening up communication with the community will go a long way to help resolve many of the simple challenges your facility faces.

Out-migration almost always starts with the idea that bigger is better. That is, a hospital in a nearby metropolitan area is better equipped with the staff and technology to handle their medical needs.

While this idea may have an element of some truth to it, educating your community and increasing marketing communication activities can make a significant difference in curbing negative perceptions of your hospital.

In most communities that I’ve worked with, most patients’ medical needs can easily be accommodated at the local level, meaning that they generally do not have to travel far distances for healthcare. Despite this fact, rural hospitals typically fail to convey this message appropriately.

With a purposeful, integrated approach to marketing communication, you can build a strong case of goodwill and awareness in your community. Most importantly, you can not only recapture market share, but you can also increase it!

Rural hospitals must raise awareness by educating local residents about the capabilities and services of their local hospital and medical clinics. Doing so will also deliver measurable and tangible results if you have the right measurements.

To begin, you must find an innovative and creative way to develop a message that will resonate with the community.

As I always say, “Exposure=awareness=sales.”In small and rural communities, positive word-of-mouth can travel quickly and have a tremendous impact.

It is possible to brand your facility in the eyes of potential patients as not only the closest but as the best option to serve their immediate medical needs.

If you’re ready for a free consultation to learn how a professional marketing communications strategy can benefit your facility, I invite you to call me at 214-528-5775. I can explain how an improved internal and external communications program can help your facility increase all three components of exposure, awareness, and sales.

Time for a Communications Assessment

Time for a Communications Assessment

The year is almost up, so now is the perfect time to begin thinking about how your hospital or healthcare system will approach marketing communications in 2023.

As you reflect on the current year and what you would like to accomplish in the New Year, planning a communications audit might be extremely helpful in determining what marketing communications-related changes need to be made in the future.

Communication is essential in today’s market for small and rural hospitals to maintain patient relations and improve community outreach. Adapting and improving your strategy is crucial for meeting and exceeding next year’s goals.

Performance Assessment

Are you on course to meet your year-end goals? Crunching the numbers and going over the spreadsheets is not the most exciting aspect of healthcare, but in a data-driven industry, paying attention to the data can give you a better picture of what is working and what is holding you back.

Assessments also mean evaluating your staff. This often takes the form of performance reviews and one-on-one meetings to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of everyone’s role in the overall communications strategy.

Reviewing your business goals and internal capabilities together helps you determine what gaps, if any, exist. This information is critical in your move-forward approach in the New Year.

Review Messaging

Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of the primary goal of healthcare communication – reaching out to patients and addressing their needs.

When reviewing your messaging, ask yourself what you are communicating, whether it addresses your audience’s need(s), and if there is an action statement.

Your marketing and communications strategy should not be about your hospital and brand. Instead, your messaging should supplement the patient’s experience at your hospital.

Messaging should provide timely, helpful information about your patient’s healthcare needs and show how your facility’s services and expertise will provide them with the proper care.

Comb through Collateral

Marketing materials and techniques evolve over the course of time. Collect all your promotional material – whether in physical or digital form – and review them closely for consistency of style, message, and clarity.

Do your messages across all mediums speak with the same voice? Do your print ads reflect the same topics and tone as your digital materials?

Losing consistency can damage the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and create confusion for patients. So, if you notice any disparity in messaging, aim to streamline that in the coming year.

Look for Opportunities

After reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of your communications program, decide how you can build upon your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Do not forget to analyze how the market has changed over the past year and use the changing conditions to outline next year’s strategy.

With the New Year coming up, there is still plenty of time to review your communications strategy to begin a successful program starting in January. Being proactive and self-critical will help give you the building blocks for a successful 2023.

Do not let a single day of 2023 be a missed opportunity! A communications assessment and strategic marketing communications plan can help streamline your hospital’s marketing communications initiatives to use your resources better and help you achieve bottom-line profits.

If you are not sure how to maximize your communications in the New Year, please give me a call at 214-528-5755 for a free consultation.