3 bad habits every hospital marketer should drop

In the spirit of Spring cleaning, it’s time to throw out of some of these unproductive behaviors

Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to get into the spirit of Spring cleaning. Although yard sales are great, we’re talking about you and your hospital marketing team purging some of those “bad” habits you might have picked up throughout your career.

Let’s face it — we’ve all unintentionally fallen into patterns that do more harm than good. For instance, does your marketing team still use stock photography?  Stock photos, although convenient, can be problematic because they’re unoriginal. They can be downloaded and used by other healthcare organizations for advertising purposes, especially if it’s royalty free imagery. Stock photos are also generic, and nowadays consumers can smell a stock photo a mile away. We recommend creating original photography or purchasing rights-managed photos if you have the budget.

Freeing yourself of old habits can help simplify your day-to-day work life and make you more productive at the office. Here are three other habits to try and reverse this Spring:

Stop getting the doctor’s buy-in too late

Have you ever waited until the last minute to get a doctor’s approval on a marketing campaign? This can cause the entire project to derail if they disapprove of the strategy or a piece of creative. For instance, let’s say your marketing team develops a stellar headline and imagery for a cancer campaign. Your internal team approves the content and moves forward with production without consulting “that outspoken oncologist” first. Then, four weeks later, the doctor sees the project and finds fault in the concept. Now your entire campaign is held up until the problem gets resolved. Does this sound familiar?

If so, try to gain buy-in from clinicians earlier on in your campaign process, ultimately before creative work begins. Our agency interviews doctors and presents pencil sketches of all of the creative first before following through with production. The sketches are an excellent way to seek approval from essential members of our client’s team and helps avoid any deal-breaking problems down the road.

Stop measuring the success of a hospital marketing campaign by traffic

Although web traffic appears like a straightforward metric, it can be dangerously convoluted. A majority of web traffic today is saturated with “spam” or non-human traffic that’s created by little pieces of code. We tell our clients not to fixate on this metric too much when measuring the success of a hospital marketing campaign. Four years ago, non-human traffic eclipsed human traffic for the first time, and my guess is that percentage has grown exponentially. Therefore, it’s not an accurate metric to measure for results of a campaign.

We suggest creating actionable metrics that align with your business goals instead. For instance, are you trying to increase appointment requests to a particular service line? Then drive all your advertising to a landing page with a conversion form and measure how many patients fill out the request. Conversions are much easier to measure for accuracy. Additionally, if something goes awry, your team can pinpoint what is wrong with the landing page or form and make adjustments accordingly.

Stop thinking shortsightedly

A wise man once said, “Failing to plan ahead is planning to fail.” If your hospital marketing team isn’t creating a yearly marketing plan, it could lose out on some of the richest opportunities and some of the lowest hanging fruit. For instance, planning ahead for a bariatrics campaign could help your team prepare for a January launch. After the New Year, people’s weight loss goals are in full force, making bariatrics surgery seem like a more viable weight loss method. If your hospital capitalizes on this opportunity ahead of time, the results could be impressive.

If you don’t know how to get started, here’s a link to the Hospital Service Line Marketing Calendar. Our clients receive a bump in results when they schedule their service line campaigns around National Health Observances — it’s cost effective and helps them get ahead of the competition.  This calendar can help you keep track of National Health Observances, plan when to promote which service lines, which NHOs generate the most keywords, and what those keywords are.

Old habits die hard, but we’re here to help. Improving these habits can contribute to making your work life a bit easier and more productive. Try to create goals for yourself and your team and attack it one day at a time. Stay tuned for more helpful tips, and life hacks to help make your work life simpler.