Building Patient Loyalty For Your Rural Hospital

Feb. 04, 2020

Do you watch what your big-city competitors are doing to build brand and increase revenue? I do.

As a rural health CEO, I’m sure you do, too. So you’ve probably seen many health systems jump headfirst into the social world, abandoning more traditional ways of reaching consumers. It makes sense, since print is dead and no one reads magazines anymore, right? Contraire!

It seems many C-suiters have been lead to believe this misperception. Some are hesitant to launch a custom publication because they think it will only appeal to a handful of Baby Boomers.  Other CEOs have shelved the idea of a community magazine because “everyone” turns to the internet for trusted healthcare information. 

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But the facts indicate differently ...

According to the 2019 Magazine Media Factbook, 91% of American adults read magazine media, and that number increases to 93% for adults under 35 and 94% for adults under 25.

The research also reveals that consumers who read magazines feel they are “better informed about their health than most people,” are “especially health conscious” and “take action online – and offline – to maintain their health.”

Granted, smartphones and tablets are replacing printed materials in many respects. And digital and social media must be a big part of your marketing mix. But I can tell you from experience that many successful rural hospitals are leveraging the power of a customized community magazine. Why? Because, put simply, facts are facts. Our own Legato research confirms that print and digital magazines remain the preferred source of healthcare information among consumers.[1]

A customized community magazine is much more than just a complementary tool in your arsenal for reaching a diverse audience. It can – and should – be one of your primary tools to engage and educate consumers, build brand loyalty, and ultimately increase patient volume and revenue.

I work with rural health CEOs across the country, and I can tell you emphatically that those who successfully develop community publications have:

  • Established their facility as a leader in the medical field, an active part of the community, and a positive source for information and insights.
  • Increased awareness and volumes of service lines, including those that may not warrant their own ad campaigns.
  • Helped improve outcomes by educating and empowering readers to take an active role in their healthcare through captivating storytelling told through the voice of real people.

There’s another benefit of developing a customized publication. Remember, that I mentioned digital media is also a “must” in the marketing mix? Content created for your publication can easily be used across platforms without reinventing the wheel for your website, blogs, social posts ...

I just shared my professional insights and current facts about the importance of adding a publication to your business strategy. So I’d like to leave you with these comments from a few of your colleagues. Each of these rural health organizations continue to see tremendous ROI from their community magazines:

  • Beartooth Billings Clinic (Red Lodge, MT): “Many of our mature patients have commented on how refreshing it is to receive our community publication. At the same time, duplicating the content in social channels and providing a direct link to a digital version of our publication allows us to engage a broader age demographic ...”
  • Syracuse Area Health (Syracuse, NE): “It has allowed us to showcase our facility and our services to those that might not otherwise be aware of all that we have to offer ...”
  • Howard Memorial Hospital (Nashville, AR) “The educational articles with the local residents have especially made a great impact. Now our patients are asking to be interviewed regarding their experiences at our hospital ...”

 

Are you wondering about the time commitment and investment to create a print publication for your rural health organization? Learn more, view creative samples and use our price calculator today.

You can also email me at mikem@golegato.com or call me directly at 920-544-8102, ext 101. 

[1]Based on research conducted by Legato in a survey of patients in communities across the country.