How to Increase Patient Engagement for Hospital Service Lines
As CMO, you know that service line marketing is a tightrope walk. You’re promoting your service’s unique care approach to reach new patients. At the same time, you’re stoking engagement to remain top-of-mind for existing customers. Developing a “brand within a brand” isn’t a linear process, but it’s far less harrowing than it sounds. We’ve put together four tactics on how to increase patient engagement.
Target Your Audience-in-Waiting
Patients already know the general appeal of your service: its connection with other service lines, and its place within the larger hospital system, provides access to a broad network of resources while offering the benefits of a specialty practice. New healthcare consumers—those drawn from relatively untapped demographics, such as millennials—may very well be potential patients, but they might not be in-market, or even aware of their need for your services. That means creating a campaign that acknowledges an audience’s unfamiliarity with your hospital system and provides a succinct, fact-based (rather than sales-centered) introduction to your service line’s philosophy of patient-centered care.
Define Service Line Identity
For healthcare consumers, reiterating your brand’s story in your campaign is pointless if your storytelling doesn’t illustrate how “who” you are is related to what they need. Make the benefits of continued patient engagement clear and support your claims with real-world examples. Is your hospital’s maternity care service line ahead of the curve on cutting-edge treatments for high-risk pregnancies? Use your campaign copy to connect your brand’s stated identity (as a pre-natal care innovator) with specific examples of its translation into value for patients (a 40 % reduction in post-pregnancy readmissions after using advanced perinatal scanning technology) to increase patient engagement.
Leverage Social Conversations
Millennials, Baby Boomers, and GenXers have a significant trait in common: the majority use the internet to seek healthcare information and read consumer reviews on health services. Spark patient-brand conversations across your social channels which relate to healthcare issues relevant to your service line. Meaningful interactions on social media are knowledge-based; offer your audience health information that fits the context and tone of existing social conversations. Create a social media account specific to your service line or lines—one for bariatric patients, pediatrics, prenatal, etc. Publish info-focused content that’s evergreen and designed to promote audience interactions. Those conversations offer an opportunity to respond with answers to trending questions and keep patients and non-patients engaged with your brand.
Listen and Act
A service line’s reputation can make or break the impact of even the most brilliant marketing campaigns, but some providers are missing an opportunity to engage consumers by seeing complaints as problems, rather than marketing opportunities. Use your social media channels to listen to what patients are saying about your brand, and respond to negative posts with examples of how your brand handles patient complaints. Take advantage of your social platforms and use it as a bully pulpit: post “problem solved” first-person accounts or case studies to show how your proactive stance exemplifies a commitment to patient-centric care delivery.
Increasing patient engagement to your hospital service lines requires a deep understanding of your consumers and what connects them to your brand story and messaging. We can help. Get in touch for a free consultation, and we’ll find the right strategy for your service line together.