Have your hospital and clinics been lacking in marketing and communications? We often discover that many rural healthcare organizations fail to communicate because of a lack of strategy and knowledge of where to begin.
By focusing on your messaging, finding the right audience, and engaging in communication, rural hospitals and community clinics can quickly rectify the “they’ll never know what we do” mentality.
Focus on your message
Local healthcare in many communities can be broad and diverse these days, and trying to reach every field and touch on every subject will only exhaust you and your audience. Therefore, it is essential to identify your most compelling strengths and opportunities and focus on them.
There is no need to get carried away explaining every little detail of your services in your marketing material. Let your medica providers and in-house experts do that.
Focus on the most important strengths that make for a good narrative and set your facility apart from the rest. Do you offer a service that no one else offers? Tell your audience about it!
Similarly, are there opportunities for growing patient volumes in certain areas? Physical therapy, obstetrics, swing bed, surgery? Decide what these opportunities are and develop a messaging strategy around them.
Identify your audience
By understanding your hospital’s strengths and growth opportunities, you must develop a strategy for sharing these with an audience.
Start by identifying those in your market who need to hear from you and focus your energy on them. Of course, it is not always obvious where your target audience lies, but with the right metrics, you can get a better idea.
Test your market by using data gathered from internal databases to determine what segments of your community are more likely to use your services and apply that information to your strategy.
This may seem like a simple concept, but you might be surprised how many healthcare facilities do not take advantage of the valuable information already on hand and use it to benefit their marketing plan!
Once you have established messaging and identified your audience, it is time to start the communication.
Sometimes it can be as simple and old-fashioned as a phone call or a mailer, but the act of contact can be one of the most powerful tools in developing repeat business and gaining leads to new clients.
A comprehensive marketing plan and budget can help dictate what tools you can use to connect with your target audiences. It can be a mix of direct mail, telemarketing, print advertising, and digital marketing. The possibilities are abundant, but a budget will help dictate how and which advertising vehicles you can realistically use.
Engage with your community
One crucial way to get information into the community is to engage with those living in your area. We often spend so much time looking over the horizon for new leads that we overlook that they are right outside the door—in our front yards!
Engage local business groups and host community events to get your neighbors involved. Demonstrating loyalty to your community and those around you can generate a lot of goodwill.
A great place to start is by joining and participating in your local chamber of commerce, Lion’s Club chapter, and community center. Opportunities will quickly arise from your participation in those organizations/groups.
Not sure how to make it happen?
With over 33 years of experience working directly with rural and small community hospitals, clinics, physicians, and healthcare organizations, SRJ Marketing Communications is your resource for improving communication and stopping out-migration.
For a free consultation to discover if SRJ Marketing Communications might be a good fit for your facility, call 214-528-5775. You’ll be glad you did!