Welcome to the brave new world of healthcare.
It's filled with increased competition, cost control measures, and mandates and regulations coming down from government commissions. And then there are the patients, who are all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and increasingly involved in making their own healthcare decisions.
In this new, modern world, healthcare marketing has never been more important. And that's why you're probably looking for a partner.
Finding the right healthcare marketing partner can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be—if you follow these seven tips for finding the right collaborator.
1) Start with the stars
Every industry has its marketing stars. In retail, it's Target. In technology, it's Apple. In healthcare, it's whoever you admire—and that's where you want to start.
Take a look at the organizations who you think are doing a good job by creating enjoyable blogs, lovable social media content and exceptional emails. Getting an understanding of how you'd like your marketing to look can help you vet and choose the right partnerships.
2) Get social
In today's world, you need to have a healthcare marketing partner who understands social media. So naturally you'll want to dig into the social media profiles of the clients of the people with whom you're considering working.
Make sure their social media content is compelling, easy to digest and consistently engaging.
3) Use Google
Google is a powerful tool that can tell you an awful lot about a potential partner. So use it!
Do a little (or a lot) of online research about the companies with which you're considering working and their clients. Use the "News" search feature to see what kind of media coverage they've gotten. You'll get a good feel for both the health of the companies you're researching and the general marketing picture of the clients.
4) Get engaged
One of the best ways to determine whether a company will be a good partner is to engage with it the way "normal" people do. That means signing up for newsletters and reading blogs on a regular basis.
If you love the content and feel like you could see them representing your organization, it might be a fit.
Listen to the "voice" with which the company speaks. Consider the calls to action. Look at the images that are used. If you love them all and they fit your company's personality, it might be a good fit for you.
5) Read reviews
In today's world, online reviews simply cannot be ignored. Sure, most might be written by people who have had bad experiences, but they still tell compelling stories if you know what to look for—common threads, trends and real-world examples.
If the reviews are mostly positive and the organization is actively educating its customers, you may have found a partner.
6) Request references
References matter, even in today's digital age. So ask around for references. Leverage your LinkedIn contacts. Call another clinic to see who they've worked with in the past. References and recommendations from people you trust adds another layer of protection and peace of mind.
7) Make the call
Once you've your list narrowed down to a few possible partners, it's time to make the introductory call.
This is an opportunity for you to see if you truly vibe with the other people. First impressions matter, so make sure they're excited about your organization, knowledgeable about the industry and easy to converse with.