How to Utilize Brand Ambassadors in Your Hospital Marketing

Use social proof and word-of-mouth to boost your brand’s credibility with women.

We believe what our friends say. According to a report by Nielsen, recommendations from friends are the most trustworthy form of advertising. And women are more likely than men to trust word-of-mouth, with 72 percent reporting that they’ve made a purchase based on a friend’s recommendation.

What does this mean for hospital marketers? Cultivating a strong foundation of brand ambassadors, or women who are loyal to and willing to speak out positively about your brand, will strengthen your hospital’s brand and make it attractive to new customers. Here’s how.

Look inward first.

To create a positive outward impression of your hospital, first look inward at the people most likely to act as advocates for your brand: employees. What impression do they have of their workplace? Is it just a place where they earn a paycheck, or do they see themselves as part of a community? An internal marketing campaign might help you foster a sense of community, streamline information flow and improve morale. Employees who believe in your mission and want to help you accomplish it are likely to act as brand ambassadors for your hospital.

Communicate on multiple channels.

The most successful healthcare brands engage their customers via multiple channels: email, social, apps, phone, in person, text messaging and more. The more convenient the user experience is, the more likely a woman is to rave about it: Consider the mother who schedules an appointment easily through an app while holding a sick toddler in her other arm.

Also, encourage feedback: Make it clear you want to hear what your patients have to say, and genuinely listen. When your consumers post about negative experiences on social channels, respond to them quickly and compassionately. Flipping one person’s experience from negative to positive can have a remarkable ripple effect.  

Tell people what you want them to do.

Loyal fans don’t necessarily equal brand advocates — yet. To truly reap the benefits of the women who already trust your brand, you must get them to share those opinions with their networks. When you’re crafting your social media content, don’t forget to ask followers to take the action you want of them, whether it’s relaying their own story in the comments section or sharing a “meet the doctor” post about the physician who treated their child. Invite them to write testimonials. Patients who feel a sense of ownership in your brand are more likely to advocate for it.

Provide service worth talking about.

Last year, CMO reported that people are more likely to feel loyal toward brands that prove they care about their customers. What is the user experience like for women coming into your hospital? What about online? How were their family members treated? Do you have a user-friendly dashboard or online system where they can keep track of visits, test results and more for themselves and their families? Do you treat their data with care — and make sure they know that? None of the directives above will bear fruit if you aren’t providing service worth sharing.

 

Kathy Selker
I’m Kathy Selker. My work as CEO of Northlich, a Cincinnati-based healthcare marketing agency, has taught me a great deal about how hospitals and health systems can best connect with women to make the most positive impact in their lives.
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