Digital Relationship Marketing for Hospitals

Three strategies for continuing the consumer journey after discharge

Every hospital’s duty is to help patients get better so they can go home and, hopefully, never come back. But that doesn’t mean the relationship between hospital and patient has to end at discharge. Hospitals must communicate frequently with their former patients and those patients’ loved ones in order to grow and maintain strong relationships.

The first step for continuing the consumer journey after discharge is to discover the healthcare decision-maker. This step is simple; 80 percent of the time, the decision-maker is female. Whether she is the patient or she’s closely connected to the patient, her opinion is very important.

So how do you connect with female consumers after they visit your hospital? Below are three strategic and efficient ways to continue the consumer journey via digital marketing.

  1. Promote reviews: When a patient is released from your hospital, include a link to your Google My Business review in the patient’s paperwork and ask your staff to point it out. Why Google? According to ReviewTracker, six out of 10 consumers look to Google for reviews. Providing consumers with a direct path to reviewing your hospital will not only improve its overall sentiment and SEO ranking; it will also give consumers an opportunity to further engage with your hospital once they are released. When your female consumer publicly shares her positive opinion online, she is more likely to remain loyal to your hospital.
  2. Targeted social media messaging: A large percentage of your social media followers have been to your hospital. Whether it was for a surgery, to give birth or to bring a family member in for an emergency, they’re following your hospital’s social account because they have a connection to your hospital. Make room in your content calendar to speak to your existing followers while keeping in mind that you are likely talking to mostly women. Thank them for their support, offer wellness checks to former patients or ask them to share their experience with your hospital in the comments. The best part of this strategy is that you only need to boost this content to existing followers. Save money and remember: It’s not always about getting new patients; it’s important to also focus on retaining your existing ones.
  3. Google Customer Match: There are smart and relevant ways to use consumer data to continue your patients’ consumer journey. Google Customer Match gives hospitals the opportunity to use information (e.g., Gmail addresses) that your consumers have shared with you to target ads to those specific customers. The watchout with hospital marketing is to ensure your ads do not imply knowledge of personally identifiable information. The ad content must be broad, but it should call to mind positive memories for former patients and visitors no matter how long ago they were in your hospital.
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