Here in Michigan, marketing in healthcare is essential — especially with big changes to hospital systems. For instance, Beaumont and Spectrum merged to become Corewell Health in Oakland County. Sparrow Health System is joining University of Michigan Health in Ann Arbor. Among others.
But you've likely felt the effects whether or not your name’s changed. There’s more competition and a need to stand out or even rebrand. All while reminding patients of the exceptional care you provide.
It’s a fast-changing landscape, and we understand. Zoe Marketing & Communications has been helping healthcare providers in metro Detroit reach patients through our sister company, Metro Parent, since 1986. Over time, we’ve fine-tuned a mix of tactics that help hospitals succeed.
Wherever you are with your marketing efforts, you’ll walk away with a good pulse check on what works best. And you can decide whether to tweak or shift your focus to meet your goals.
Get attuned to the healthcare concerns of metro Detroiters
First, an understanding of what your potential patients want is critical. This will shape your marketing message. After all, if you’re not speaking to people’s needs, why would they choose you?
People’s expectations have grown in the post-pandemic era, too. That's raising the stakes for quality marketing in healthcare. Here are a few demands we’ve seen trending:
Fast wait times for nearby hospital emergency rooms
Specialized services like cardiac care, orthopedics and elective surgeries
Pregnancy and birthing resources, as well as specialized children’s care
Diagnostic testing and lab work
If you offer services that meet these needs, highlight them in your marketing. It shows you’re listening to people’s questions. And this positions you as a trusted community resource.
4 best marketing strategies for healthcare providers in southeast Michigan
So, which marketing approaches are most effective in reaching new patients? There’s SEM, traditional media, streaming video and targeted email.
1. SEM to ensure metro Detroit people find you while searching
These days, people’s first stop to find healthcare providers is the web. Google in particular.
Search engine marketing, aka SEM, is a powerful tool to ensure you rank higher in search results. With a platform like Google Ads, you’ll pinpoint keywords your potential patients are looking up. You’ll then pay to complete to appear in those results.
SEM increases your odds of appearing in front of people actively searching for your services. It’s a vital branding tactic.
And, if they click on you, the landing page you take them to is critical. It should be cleanly designed, easy to navigate, and contain helpful information.
This ensures their first interaction with you is a positive one. And that increases their likelihood of converting from a visitor to a patient.
2. Traditional media advertising still matters in the Michigan market
Traditional media continues to play a role in building up your brand with a local audience. It helps establish your authority and credibility in highly visible places.
These methods include print ads in city newspapers and regional magazines, and radio spots during heavy commuter hours. There's also commercials on over-the-air (OTA) TV and even billboards.
The key is to create ads that speak to your potential patients. Quickly show or tell the benefits of choosing your facility — and always have a clear call to action.
In our experience, hospitals invest about 10% of their monthly marketing budgets here. It can also be extra effective for reaching older demographics that are less web-savvy.
3. Streaming video ads reach metro Detroiters in daily viewing places
Platforms like Hulu, YouTube and TikTok are a big part of people’s lives. That’s why doing over-the-air (OTA) TV ads isn't enough. Tap into these over-the-top (OTT) streaming ads, too.
OTT allows you to select your target audience more precisely than traditional TV. You can pinpoint age, ZIP code and people’s viewing habits to deliver your message to the right people.
They’re also easy to share, particularly on social media platforms. That’s a big bonus for reaching even more people.
Messages that resonate
Building trust is essential with OTT. After all, you’re interrupting people while viewing their favorite content. Storytelling with testimonials is one potent way of engaging and connecting.
For example, a brief video ad might show a local Oakland County patient talking about their experience with a knee replacement.
Again, remember that the content should be relevant and valuable. And it should have a clear next step for people to learn more.
4. Targeted email blasts hone in on the right southeast Michiganders
Targeted emails are especially effective for more specialized healthcare services. With this tactic, you’re sending out simple, direct emails to people who might be interested.
Of course, medical privacy laws prevent contacting people based on conditions or illnesses. That’s sensitive information, so it’s important. But there is another way.
Hospitals can target emails to certain ages, locations or browsing interests. You can then send follow-up emails to those who opened the email — a method called retargeting.
With these email blasts, simple is best: A strong image, 50-200 words of description, and a clear call to action. Use them to promote relevant programs, services, webinars and open houses.
Next steps for effective healthcare marketing in metro Detroit
Navigating Michigan’s healthcare marketing landscape can be challenging. But with a strong mix of SEM, traditional media ads, streaming ads and targeted emails, you can stand out. And you can connect with future patients.
While each tactic has strengths, the most successful campaigns often blend all four.
Are you ready to put these strategies to work for your healthcare services? Talk to us. Whether you need to tweak your strategy or shift your focus entirely, Metro Parent can help. We have 35+ years of marketing experience in southeast Michigan to help you meet your goals.
Next up? Keep evaluating your marketing. Learn why different tactics work at different times — and why a combo is the best approach.
Michele Potts is sales director for Zoe Marketing & Communications. Constantly evolving during her 20+ years in the field, she values building trust and helping clients in various industries understand the basics of complex digital marketing.