If your hospital website is like most, it has realized significant increases in traffic over the last couple of months. And, chances are, your telemarketing programs – both inbound and outbound – have pushed the boundaries of overtime and exhaustion. Of course, your halls and beds have never been busier or more full.
Hospitals across the country are the focus and centerpiece of their hometowns during this latest surge in the COVID pandemic. While national news and subject matter experts are providing the science and insight at “10,000” feet, it’s the local organizations and providers that are making it real and working the trenches.
As hospital branding and marketing folks, you have an incredible opportunity to showcase your organization in more ways than ever – because people are actually paying attention to what you are saying and doing. Let’s face it, in “normal” times, people just don’t give their local hospital or health system that much thought. Unless, of course, they’re in need of a procedure, treatment, or intervention. But now, my guess is, you’re in the news a lot and many of your executives and healthcare workers are being interviewed and/or featured. Healthcare and hospital brands have a unique opportunity to put their best foot forward in order to help communicate with patients, families, and others impacted by this health crisis.
Here are some thoughts for hospital marketers:
Maintain your website with brand and interest.
Visiting hours and policies are constantly shifting during COVID. Families and loved ones want to know what they are, now! Save the time and hassle of calls to your front desk by providing the most up-to-date information. Many healthcare organizations have found success in creating specific landing pages and micro-sites which contain all the information pertaining to the pandemic. It’s time to double down on your website maintenance personnel and/or resource to make sure they’re relevant and timely, and offer brand and interest.
Coach your spokespeople.
As said, chances are pretty good you have leadership team members and medical staff being contacted daily about interviews and insights. Select the two or three you want to have out there and coach them on speaking techniques and appropriate content. They are linked to your hospital branding so it’s important the right “tone” and position come across in their words and actions.
Be visible in the market.
Now is not the time to go completely dark with your ad spending. Studies have proven over and over again, that you want to maintain some presence in the market so that when conditions are corrected, you don’t have to start from scratch to gain awareness points. Besides, you should be out there with important messages about vaccinations and tests – guiding your community through this craziness. They are actually looking and listening to you for advice. Especially those who might be considering putting off procedures. Let them know it’s safe and what you’re doing to keep them that way. Key service lines also require some attention so preference exists long after this pandemic exits…hopefully soon!
Communicate internally and support your heroes.
Healthcare workers are mentally and physically drained. Show them some love and support by thanking them in public and within your walls. Involve the community and invite them to do the same.
Make social media count and offer brand and interest.
Each post you share needs to support the points referenced above. Whether they be around your heroes, new policies, updated numbers and insights, or other relevant information, make them count. Communicating safety protocols and procedures go a long way in reducing fears and calming the waters.