It is called community building, but why is it an important part of hospital marketing? As advocates for public health, hospitals have a responsibility to the communities they serve. This is the pool of potential patients they draw from, so it makes business sense to create a presence there. Consider some ways hospitals can market better within their community.
Make Them Aware
Gallup asks a question that all hospitals need to ponder: “Does the community know we exist?” It starts with making a name for the hospital with well designed street marketing. Posters at community sites like bus stops and social centers. Add street ads, as well, to that mix – billboards, bus and taxi advertising make hospital marketing mobile.
Spread the word through local search advertising, too. Add the hospital to local directories, and have physicians list it as an affiliate in their online and print ads.
Reach Out to Educate
Engage the community with education that improves their health and career opportunities. Offer seminars on wellness care or managing chronic disease. Take part in CPR and defibrillator training. Partner with local churches, schools and community centers to develop programs that matter to the public like newborn care, flu shots and pregnancy prevention.
The more active local hospitals are with the agencies and businesses in the area, the better their reach. Being a participant in the health education of area residents improves the hospital's presence and helps the community at same time.
The Affordable Care Act has shifted the public’s attention toward preventing chronic disease. Hospitals can further enforce that by creating interventions that improve the overall health of the community.
Partner with local organizations and businesses to develop free diabetes and high blood pressure screenings. Hospitals can use this involvement as part of hospital marketing campaigns to bolster their image and reputation (both online and offline).
Develop the Right Reputation
Reporting on Health points out that hospitals will need to practice what they preach in the community. A facility that educates the public on living healthy, but doesn’t promote that internally loses points with the public. Create policies and programs that encourage the staff members to quit smoking, lose weight and stay active.
Use hospital marketing to develop an image as a patient and family oriented medical facility. The hospital can foster that caring attitude further by hosting a farmer’s market or a community garden.
Help Plan for the Future
Make the hospital an integral part of the growth of the community. As the city and county spread out, the hospital should expand, as well. Upgrading in the facility, by adding a trauma or burn center for example, is part of bringing attention to the community and advancing its opportunities, as well.
Make the community a healthcare partner by being active in it. Hire local talent and create hospital marketing campaigns that are as much about the area served as the medical service. Working with the community for better public health benefits both the hospital and the local population being serviced.