It’s not something most people think about, but hospitals and healthcare organizations are made up of lots of little communities.
Like other communities, hospitals rely on events to foster and grow these communities. From boot camps for first-time dads to lactation classes for nursing mothers to cancer support groups for families, survivors, and patients, hospitals often become community hubs.
Small and large events have become powerful ways for these healthcare organizations and hospitals to serve their communities in better ways. As we’ve mentioned before, there’s no better way to build community than hosting events, so let's take a look at why events are important and how hospitals and healthcare organizations can make them better.
Like it or not, you must promote your company or hospital in the marketplace like any other business. Drawing in new patients is critical and your reputation will proceed you.
Hosting live and virtual events for large and small communities is a great way to build trust in your brand, educate the public, and demonstrate new technologies or research. Of course, all of this is done in service of people's health and wellbeing which makes it doubly effective.
And because most healthcare organizations and hospitals try to meet the diverse needs of their populations, the types of events you’re able to host can vary as well.
A fundraiser can elevate awareness for particular causes while conferences about original research or shared learning give credibility to doctors and staff. You can even vary the classes you offer depending on the most common needs of your communities. Some may want to learn how to lead healthier lives while others seek support or guidance. Be sure to help people in whatever capacity they're coming to you.
It's important to design your events to encourage participation too. Not many people will be drawn to passive information sharing. Screenings, simple health tests, exercises, or even blood donation centers are a great way to get buy-in and keep people active.
You can also look for ways to customize events to fit the specific needs of those who you're trying to attract. For example, if there’s a dearth of fresh food in your area, host workshops that teach people how to start a garden or set up a network to share crops or join a CSA. If obesity is a concern, host a 5k run or bike ride for local schools and teach healthy living from a young age.
Varying your events and finding ways to engage people during the event can have a cumulative effect that creates deeper engagement. That engagement — and those shared bonds — not only help people trust your brand but it facilitates the growth of your larger community.
The best marketing strategy will connect you with your community on the channels they’re most familiar with. For most, that will be email and social media.
And if you choose a software platform that can help you manage these channels, you’ll not only build your community faster and easier, but you’ll consolidate important information that will help you improve future events.
At a basic level, you’ll want some sort of aggregated calendar, one that allows an administrator (or 3) to approve events that then show up in a single place online. This makes it easy for people to find the event as it relates to your hospital or organization, while also seeing other events you're hosting. If your centralized calendar has the ability to filter by event type, that’s really helpful too in that people will be able to see just the event types they're interested in.
Secondly, you should have the ability to quickly and easily create event registration and landing pages. This makes it easy for people to indicate their interest online, see who else is coming, purchase tickets, or RSVP to free events.
These pages should also have SEO capabilities baked into them, making them indexable by search engines. Once your events are more discoverable online, you’ll see an uptick in awareness leading to an increase in attendance.
With a centralized calendar and event pages in place, you’ll then want to email people directly and talk about your events on social media often.
Being sure to comply with HIPAA guidelines, direct outreach via email will be your most effective channel (the vast majority of people check their email every day).
You can promote upcoming events in newsletters or event-specific emails tailored to audience segments. This relevance will garner you better engagement and attendance. You’ll also be able to follow-up with attendees using surveys or polls after your events.
Because there are so many social media channels, managing and posting to them all can become its own beast. But relying on a system that lets you post to all of them at once can be a game-changer. This saves you time in promoting your events and ensures consistency in the information you’re providing (and has your branding baked in for added trust signals).
Lastly, you’ll want to use a technology or software that allows you to gather event data. Knowing how many people attended, how many registered but didn’t show, and which events have the highest attendance rates will provide you with valuable information about what kinds of events to host next.
Want help promoting your events, aggregating data, and centralizing everything into a single calendar? Localist is built to connect communities large and small and we can help you. Schedule a free demo now.