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Healthcare Marketing in the Midst of COVID: Moving from Panic to Pro-action

How are you communicating with your patients throughout COVID-19? Meet them where they are with a multichannel approach.

If we have learned anything during this pandemic, it is that online marketing channels are key to driving critical communications and marketing success. As we shift from panic mode to our new normal, healthcare marketers are working to shift their tactics to be more proactive, and swiftly adjusting their communication plans, marketing strategies and multichannel campaigns, while exploring and adding additional channels to further their reach. They are also adjusting tactics critical to healthcare marketing, such as in-person events.

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how patients and consumers are interacting with your healthcare brand. From tele-health services, social channels, sharing the most up-to-date check-in policies, to online events and more, patient interaction is moving online or at least, away from in person. To ensure a successful future, healthcare marketers should consider increasing, and shifting, their marketing focus to a multichannel strategy.

Research supports this strategy, showing that an integrated multichannel marketing program can deliver revenue uplift of 15-35%. And though the initial reaction by marketers was to freeze, or greatly reduce, their marketing spend – with upwards of 90 percent of marketers are delaying or reviewing their marketing budgets due to COVID-19 – this is an opportunity to build loyalty and trust with potential patients. And historically, cutting marketing budgets during any crisis has been a strategic failure for some very well-known brands.

Here are 4 tips on how to shift your marketing plan to a localized, multichannel approach:

1. Increase brand presence with digital marketing. Google reports that search ads can boost brand awareness by as much as 80 percent, making consumers more likely to remember your brand and interact. With consumers spending more time online during COVID, shift dollars to digital marketing (PPC, SEM, Display Ads, Retargeting, etc.) to drive brand awareness and promote new services. You can also proactively add negative keywords such as “COVID-19” or “coronavirus” so that your brand will not show up when people search for these topics.

2. Don’t forget about social.
Facebook and Instagram ads are affordable, easy to create, and allow for your ads to be targeted to specific audiences to increase awareness and boost traffic. It is a critical component of a multichannel campaign, as social media is the most relevant advertising channel for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials. Healthcare is highly personal, and social media allows you to connect with target audiences to build trust, loyalty, and relationships.

Leverage your social channels not only to share marketing communications but also to engage with your community, provide expert (but general) advice to build trust, communicate new policies and procedures, and more. The more engaging the content, the more engaged your prospective patients will be. If your organization is leveraging social channels, it is important to have someone monitoring reviews (learn more about reputation management here).

3. Shift in-person events online or to video. With COVID making events (nearly) impossible to hold, leverage technology to meet your consumers online. Lunch & Learn type events can shift online to video conferences, and in-person tours — popular for assisted care facilities — can move to video tours. To simplify the process for accessing video calls or tours, create and store patient access instructions and video links in a centralized place for easy access for staff – which can then be shared with patients/prospects.

Leverage lower-cost options like targeted direct mail or EDDM®. According to a Gallup poll, 41% of Americans (of all ages), look forward to checking their mail each day. And looking at effectiveness, response rates for direct mail are 9x higher than that of email (Data & Marketing Association). Turn-key solutions, such as direct mail and EDDM, allow you to get your messages to every household — fast and affordably. They are low cost, effective channels to reach new patients – reinforcing brand awareness while providing relevant information such as a map, hours, new services, or more. While EDDM is the most cost-effective, it works best to promote general healthcare services with mass appeal – such as a PCP (primary care physician) services.

For healthcare organizations that are more specialty driven – such as assisted living facilities or orthopedics – direct mail with list rental capabilities will be better aligned to help you achieve your marketing goals by targeting specific personas and addresses with personalized, variable messaging.

Stand out from the (socially-distant) crowd

To be successful, healthcare organizations need to stand out in all of the channels where patients go to find care. And with COVID affecting in-person marketing strategies, testing new channels is critical to success. Let OneTouchPoint’s team of experts help you bridge digital and offline strategies, build loyalty and trust with target audiences through marketing, communications, consistent messaging, and branding - all while helping you get to market quickly and efficiently.

Learn more here about how OneTouchPoint is here to help support the healthcare industry adapt to the ever-changing patient journey with beautifully-produced marketing materials and programs, delivered efficiently and effectively in our end-to-end services guide

4 Reasons Why to Create a Single ‘Home’ for Your Critical Internal Communications

Arm your teams with the ability to access and leverage critical information with a single home for communications.

Patients have high expectations on how they interact with your healthcare organization’s brand – expecting personalized, consistent, multichannel connections with the healthcare organizations they use. This has placed increased pressure on healthcare marketers to adapt swiftly to ensure a patient-rich experience that builds both trust and loyalty to capture new (and repeat) patients. No easy feat, especially in this highly regulated industry.

And in 2020, healthcare marketers now must deal with the complexities of COVID – and swiftly adjust marketing plans and campaigns, while exploring and adding additional communication channels, as they look to replace in-person events marketing efforts.

With teams still working remotely, and information changing almost daily on COVID-19, internal communication is essential to success. Arming your teams with the ability to access and leverage critical information, the most up-to-date policies and procedures, assets, and campaign materials ensures that communication is effective and efficient across all of your locations, departments, physician liaisons, and affiliate hospitals.

Here are 4 reasons why you should create a single ‘home’ for your internal communications (and COVID-19 updates):

  1. Give your teams 24/7 access to mission critical information: Create and manage a centralized command center, making critical information, assets, and communications easily accessible, 24/7 with web-based access.

  2. Keep critical care information front and center: Update the homepage with the latest updates, policies, and procedures, so that critical care information is front and center. Keep the content relevant by adjusting the content based on the user, so that the information is directly relevant to them.

  3. Never miss an important health update: Create and maintain a “COVID-19” specific area and store all of your communications, content, and assets here – from how COVID is changing visitor polices, to how you're handling move-in dates for Senior Living centers, to downloadable safety signage and new operational procedures – for easy access, downloads, print-on-demand and/or ordering.

  4. Create a seamless, positive patient experience: Gather input from your internal stakeholders, and produce (or update) assets with COVID information to create a seamless, positive patient experience. These newly created/updated assets can be turned into approved marketing templates that are easily accessible in a brand command center, which can then be customized/localized, ordered, and paid for by the user - all without bogging down the corporate marketing team.

Learn more about how OneTouchPoinnt can help centralize your brand here.

Ensuring Patient Privacy in Healthcare Communication

When it comes to mailing confidential material, how can healthcare organizations ensure patient privacy without breaking the bank?

Perhaps more than in any other industry, healthcare companies have to be laser focused on protecting their customers’ privacy. Lapses in security that lead to individuals’ protected health information (PHI) becoming public will not only anger a lot of customers, but they may also constitute HIPAA violations and land the organization in hot water. Yet they also need to communicate sensitive information — from notifications of physician departures, brochures on new medical procedures to sensitive mailings, insurance policies and more — in direct mailings throughout the year.

Of course, the high stakes don’t overrule the need for efficiency and cost containment. So, short of appointing one person to print, stuff, address, double check and send every piece of mail individually, how can healthcare companies ensure their mailings won’t put confidential information at risk?

Here’s the good news: healthcare organizations don’t have to handle their sensitive mailings — or any mailings, for that matter — alone, if they find the right print marketing execution partner who can take on the management responsibilities of printing and mailing variable materials while both ensuring patient data is protected and keeping costs within the budget.

5 Things Healthcare Companies Should Look for in an Execution Partner for HIPAA Compliant Mailings

There are plenty of print marketing execution vendors out there, but not all of them are equipped to handle private health information. Here are a few things to look for as you begin your search.

1. Data Management Practices

You’ll want to ensure your vendor has a secure method of encrypting and electronically transmitting data, such as through a secure VPN or FTP. Additionally, find out whether there are any circumstances under which a vendor discloses information in their possession.

2. Personnel Training

Who will be handling your customers’ sensitive data during the printing and fulfillment process? Look for a vendor with comprehensive training on HIPAA for employees, and a commitment to vetting every team member who may have access to client data. Nobody who isn’t qualified should be touching sensitive materials.

3. Quality Control

How does the vendor ensure items are correctly printed, sorted, and mailed? What do those double- and triple-check processes look like? It’s critical that Jane Doe doesn’t receive John Smith’s benefits statement, or visa-versa, so you’ll want to find a vendor with 100% match mailing capabilities, which should include a stringent QC process and a track record of accuracy.

4. Materials Disposal

In cases of overprinting or duplications that leave confidential materials sitting in the warehouse after a mailing is complete, what happens to the waste? Is it simply tossed in the alley recycle bin, or does the vendor have a disposal method that ensures continued privacy until the papers are destroyed?

5. Cost Efficiencies

All these strict process and procedure requirements don’t necessarily lead to exorbitant costs. Look for a vendor with print-on-demand capabilities that minimize the costs and waste of excess printing, ideally with the capability to localize printing to minimize delivery costs and onsite USPS experts to ensure every mailing meets regulations and is fulfilled at the most cost-effective rates possible.

At OneTouchPoint, our solutions check each of these boxes, enabling companies to lower costs and provide timely service while maintaining airtight information security. We mail over 155 million mail pieces each year, and hundreds of thousands contain sensitive information for companies in and out of the healthcare industry. Our recurring mail platform and client vault network are HITRUST certified, and our 100 percent match mailing process ensures each patient receives the correct information. Our employees are trained annually on HIPAA requirements, and we have a 98 percent on-time delivery rate with higher than 99 percent order accuracy.

We understand the burden of cutting waste and managing spend without compromising patient privacy, and we’re dedicated to partnering with healthcare organizations to ease that burden — and improve print marketing and communications effectiveness overall. To discover how we partner with healthcare organizations across the country, contact us to learn more.

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