How much return do you get on your marketing activities? Are you sure your campaigns created new business? Which of your campaign channels is most effective? How much business does your online presence create? Did the last education event you organized result in more patients? If you can not answer any of these questions, you are not alone.
Many companies in healthcare do what I call “Feel good marketing.” They invest in marketing activities that seem to be the right ones, but their decisions for these activities are mostly based on assumptions that are not proven or based on facts. In order to implement more effective marketing and business development, you should establish a culture of measuring and a continuous process to capture all the key performance indicators of your marketing activities. At the end, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to measure your marketing activities in healthcare, but the following are some examples and ideas on how to measure your effectiveness.
Print advertisement, brochures and other print media
Print advertisement is important and in healthcare it is wide spread. However, we see a lot of wasted marketing dollars that would be better invested in other media and activities. How can you track and measure your print campaigns? Unfortunately you can’t get to an exact answer, but you can get indicators that tell you if an advertisement has an impact:
- If you are a hospital, make your advertisement specific to a topic, service, department, location or other areas of your hospital. General advertisements are usually less effective.
- ALWAYS put in a reference to your website. However, don’t direct readers to your home page, but rather to a landing page that is specific to the topic specific to the advertisement (example: www.yourcompany.com/specific_topic). This page should be created specifically for this advertisement and will enable you to track how many people went to this page, which in return will give you an indication if you were able to reach readers with your advertisement.
- Use a special telephone number for all major campaigns. You can do this either through your telephone system or through easy to create online numbers. The telephone numbers are auto-forward to your desired number in the hospital. This mechanism enables you to run reports on how many calls a specific campaign generated.
Online campaigns (Pay-Per-Click)
In past articles, I wrote about the importance of online campaigns. They are still heavily underutilized in healthcare; despite the fact that 68% of people that need to make a healthcare decision go first online before making a decision. The results of online campaigns are measurable since it gives you statistics on how many people clicked on that specific ad. If you are seeing that an ad for a specific service you are offering is getting more clicks than others, that information than shows you what the public is interested in and how to form your future marketing activities.
Events and community outreach
Similar to the print and online marketing, you have to apply the same techniques to events. Always have a registration/sign-in form so you know if any of the people who attended your event became a patient. Create special offers for people who attended the event for easy tracking of new business that was generated by the event.
Internal Marketing Measurements
Internal marketing is one of the most effective and cheapest forms of marketing. Internal marketing is patients informed of all your service lines and make sure they are happy with their experience so they will come back to your practice or refer their family or friends.
In order to measure these efforts a patient satisfaction survey can be implemented. Questions should include who referred them to the practice, the courteousness of the staff, effectiveness of the treatment and if they would recommend a family member or friend. This allows your practice to make the proper improvements and adjustments to your practice.
There are more techniques on how to measure the effectiveness of your marketing dollars. Once you start measuring and collect more meaningful data, you will see that it will significantly influence your marketing budget and how much you invest in the different categories. Based on what we see with our clients there is a significant imbalance between print advertisement and online marketing activities. Review your spending and put processes in place to measure the effectiveness in cases where you feel that the assumptions are too weak or not based on facts.