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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of the primary goal
of healthcare communication – reaching out to patients and addressing their
When reviewing your messaging, ask yourself what you are
communicating, whether it addresses your audience’s need(s), and if there is an
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.
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
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.
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
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.