Another holiday season is just around the corner, but like almost every other occasion this year, seasonal celebrations are going to look a little different. With COVID still occupying our minds and dictating our decisions, in addition to the typical end-of-year hustle and bustle, you might be asking yourself if focusing on marketing right now is even worth it. We’re here to tell you it is. As the uncertainty of COVID lingers, your patients and communities look to your healthcare organization for the latest information, resources and reassurance. As we approach the holidays and new year, consider adding some new, relevant marketing strategies to your playbook.
What to Market
Safety at Your Facility
While taking COVID safety precautions is a must, some patients have been avoiding going to the doctor to avoid possible exposure. Even emergency room visits for serious health problems, including stroke and heart attack, are down across the country. According to a Johns Hopkins Medicine article, numbers of patients their Community Physicians group is seeing has declined by 20% to 30%.
Especially during the holidays, when the number of cardiac deaths is at its peak, it’s important to communicate to patients that you’re still there for all their healthcare needs. Tell patients the safety precautions and cleaning procedures you’re taking to keep everyone healthy. Additionally, now is a good time to advertise virtual visits as a convenient and comfortable alternative.
Mental Health Services
The holidays can be stressful enough, and COVID will only add an extra, complicated layer to the situation this year. Whether it’s canceling traditions, facing a new financial burden or dealing with the loss of a loved one, this season will take its emotional toll on many of us.
If your facility offers mental health services, use your marketing efforts to remind your community members that they’re not alone this holiday season. Showcase how easy it is to make an appointment, and let them know about any virtual therapy options.
Some Holiday Cheer
Right now, we’re all looking for reasons to smile, and a little positivity can go a long way. Sonja Lyubomirsky, vice chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of California at Riverside, says in a Washington Post article that “anything that’s distracting from negativity and that gives you positive emotion – that makes you feel happy – is worthwhile.”
Consider sprinkling holiday messaging, expressions of gratitude or fun pictures into your monthly publications or social media posts. Showing the human side of your healthcare organization will help your patients connect with you on a deeper level – and find some much-needed joy during the holiday season.
How to Market It
If you thought email marketing was old news, think again. According to a study, 61% of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands through email, and 99% of email users check their email every day! Plus, with many people working from home right now, there’s never been a better time to show up in inboxes.
Using effective email strategies, you can engage, inform and inspire current and potential patients. Take your email efforts one step further – and take some work off your plate – by utilizing the power of Marketing Automation.
During the pandemic, the USPS has been a beacon of hope for many Americans – keeping them positive and feeling connected during isolation. In fact, the USPS earned the top spot on The Harris Poll’s Essential 100 list. Something as simple as a holiday card signed by a patient’s healthcare team or a letter detailing your newest safety guidelines can make a lasting impact on your audience. Additionally, consider pairing direct mail with digital strategies for a comprehensive, multi-platform campaign.
We’re nine months into the pandemic, but news stories surrounding the virus are still pumped into the airwaves every single day. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. Use your organization’s social platforms to give your audience real, local and trusted information. In addition, this is a great place to show pictures of your staff dressed up for the holidays or feature a patient story.
With everything your healthcare organization is handling right now, it may seem impossible to also adapt new marketing strategies. However, organizations that adjust their sails now will emerge stronger as we enter 2021 and new stages of the pandemic. At image.works, we’re here for you, and we can work together to create campaigns that keep your audience engaged heading into the holiday season and beyond.