Do you have 4 minutes to learn a healthcare campaign strategy that leaves the hospital across town in the dust?

Not too long ago, a hospital or medical practice could get by just fine winging their marketing campaign strategy — decent branding, a solid reputation, and maybe one of those billboards advertising online ER scheduling to reduce wait times was enough.

That was before patients became the third largest payer behind Medicare and Medicaid. Now, weak lead generation has the potential to break your already slim margins and devastate your cashflows before you can say “bad debt collections."

But things don't have to be this way. Successful healthcare marketing campaigns can get you caught up with, and even blow past, the competition across town. But, only if it's tested, optimized, refreshed from time to time, and aligned with today's consumer demands. If you want to see what that should look like for your organization, keep reading.

Focus on Lead Management
Lead management is definitely not the most common term tossed around in healthcare marketing circles, but these days, it's the secret to achieving your most important goals. That's because lead management is the fastest track to true, patient-centered marketing. If you want to keep track of the patient experience from pre-registration to final bill, take control of your leads.

A modern approach to lead management helps you fine-tune your strategy, zero in on real ROI, stay connected with channel-specific metrics, and even dive into the service line-specific campaigns that are critical to helping you stand out in the minds of your care community.

Establish Your Goals
Your organization has pain points it needs to address and your healthcare marketing strategy can do a lot of the heavy lifting required to get you there. Objectives like acquiring new patients, decreasing readmissions, promoting preventive care, increasing ROI, and improving outcomes all tie back to lead-centered marketing campaigns.

Decide which goals are critical to your organization's success as well as which metrics you want to use to evaluate, and start thinking big picture in the form of a documented strategy. Remember, you can hit any of those goals across one or two campaigns, but keeping them going, in the long run, requires a multi-channel strategy and consistent execution.

Creating Your Campaign
Now that you're starting from an optimal perspective, it's time to look at the kind of execution modern healthcare marketing campaigns require.

Evaluate Your Current Position
You won't know how to move forward with lead generation if you aren't aware of where you currently stand regarding consumer contact. Before you begin your campaigns, I highly recommend auditing your internal operations, capabilities (access and technology), competitive differentiators, and ensure you aren’t running your campaigns in a vacuum – bring in, and work with, IT, finance, patient experience, and anyone else that wants to increase revenue or volume, and is concerned with putting your brand’s best foot forward. Sit down and evaluate not only your metrics but also your current campaigns (by channel) to determine how strong or weak your pipeline is. For example, if you're killing it on Facebook but Google's a little weak, that's valuable information you're going to want to take action on later. Here are a few handy questions I think you should ask as you are planning ANY campaign:

  • What health care services and technologies will we offer? When? Where?
  • How will we compete? How will we distinguish and differentiate our service line from those of our competitors?
  • How will we align and integrate with our physicians to truly provide value in the marketplace?

Identify Your Stars
You have a specific set of healthcare consumers who stand out as stars, and they're your best bet for optimized ROI and strong, predictable results. If you haven't yet identified your key target markets, it's time to consider upping your lead targeting power with a CRM that aligns with your needs as a healthcare provider.

Execute Omnichannel Campaigns
Your monthly newsletter is great, but your consumers are living in a much more complex world. They're engaging on social, search, email, and mobile, but are also invested in traditional communications like phone and direct mail. Your CRM should provide you with the insights to understand where and how far along their healthcare journey consumers engage with different channels as well as what their buying (or scheduling) cycle looks like across time. Listen to that information and execute accordingly.

Keep Tabs With Reporting
Once you get your campaign moving, it's time to take another look at your reporting. As information begins to pour in, you'll want to adjust aspects like spend, investment in creative, content strategy, and overall effectiveness. Reporting that gives accurate, near-real-time, insights will be critical in optimizing these adjustments.

A quick note here: If you aren't measuring your effectiveness in near-real-time, you're falling behind. If you’re not measuring at all, it probably isn’t worth doing (or your c-suite stakeholders won’t let you do it for very long). Consumer behavior moves fast, and you need to understand what's happening here and now, not a week later. It’s critical in today’s marketing ecosystem that you're able to quickly pivot and re-engage to optimize and move the needle in consumer’s decision-making process. Also, considering the complex and often long-term nature of the healthcare decision-making process, your reporting should be able to focus on downstream results and measure across multiple touchpoints in the process.

Perhaps more than anything else, you're going to want to keep things flexible. Healthcare consumers are evolving quickly. They're changing their habits and decisions based on information from you, their communities, and even your competitors. If you want to be able to make the decisions that will keep you successful in responding to their demands, you need a system that can handle the constantly evolving nature of the data your leads are generating every minute of every day.

Want to learn more about nurturing and converting the most leads possible? This will get you started. Or to dive into how a healthcare CRM's data-driven insights can help you achieve your goals, download our Definitive Guide to Healthcare CRM.