What is a hospital's relationships with their community really based on? Do they openly embrace direct communication, or hesitate to engage directly via social media and content marketing? Are hospitals willing to jump right in to the communities where patients and physicians are spending time, such as Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest?
Hospitals have always been eager to spend big money on traditional TV advertising in order to get patients and recruit healthcare providers. So how can they begin using inbound marketing to drive new patients and healthcare providers?
What we know is that, depending upon the community personas and patient needs, consumers are using a variety of online resources to get health information and make hospital centric decisions. While they may stop at a hospitals brochure-like website, the influence of that website to drive conversion is waining largely because most hospital websites were are not built to empower their physicians to leverage their online influence, blogging, an social to empower and engage the hospital's community. Steps need to be made in the direction of inbound marketing for hospitals to compete and capture market share.
Hospitals need to forget the old strategy of talking at the community and begin having a two-way conversation with them, finding out where their targeted customers are spending time online and joining the discussions. Having the hospital's HCPs lead that discussion can be instrumental in building trust and visits.
Hospitals can’t let fear of lawsuits and lawyers keep their messages from reaching consumers directly. There are many ways to educate consumers with solid content and information on medical conditions by using evidence based medical information that the hospital is most likely paying for and enabling MDs to curate it.
Hospitals need to learn more about the conditions their communites are talking about online and social media. Patients will Google their conditions, giving hospitals a unique opportunity to be a trusted source of information by providing MD-Guided content that will resonate in the search engine results.
The takeaway for hospitals is that building trusted MD guided and curated content builds business. The time is now to rethink TV, print, online and ad buys, and consider inbound marketing as a successful solution to having a have a more direct, personal relationship with their communities.