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Patient Acquisition Marketing Strategies During COVID-19

By Alyssa Carter, Director of Marketing at Wellsource

Hospitals and health systems have had to adjust their messages to patients and the public as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. Healthcare marketers are charged with growing service line revenue, bringing patients back into the hospital, and allaying fears around safety protocols. In the early months of the pandemic, patients were told to stay home. Now, healthcare marketers are wondering: how we get patients back?  

Whether you’re working to more effectively communicate your COVID-19 procedures, or you are ready to welcome patients back across service lines, patients are looking information and guidance from their local hospitals and health systems. In fact, local hospitals and health systems are viewed by patients as one of the most trusted sources of reliable information on COVID-19. 

We’ve put together a guide of 13 patient acquisition marketing tactics to consider during the pandemic, breaking the tactics down to three distinct messaging phases:  

Phases of acquisition marketing-01


Phases of acquisition marketing-02


Phases of acquisition marketing-03

Educate and raise awareness


Reinforce brand recognition and personalize your outreach


Get patients to book— and keep—appointments 

Preview some of the tactics below, or click here to download our guide and read all 13 tips and tactics.  

Educate and Raise Awareness During COVID-19 

Messaging Goal: Draw in patients looking for more resources—and establish your hospital or health system as a trusted source. 

  1. Use digital tools like chat bots or FAQ pages to give patients the quick and reliable answers they need when it comes to COVID-19 procedures and general hospital operations.  
  2. Build a dedicated web page or microsite that details the steps you’re taking to protect patients and team members, such as virtual check-ins, screenings, masking, social distancing, staggered appointment times, or cleaning schedules.  
  3. Concerned about your high risk and chronic care populations? Prominently display links to tools such as health assessments for patients to self-identify their need for condition-specific care. 

Reinforce Brand Recognition and Personalize Outreach During COVID-19 

Messaging Goal: Deepen brand recognition and tell the story of your facility and the people within to build emotional connections and personalize your outreach. 

  1. Use your platforms to recognize and share stories of gratitude for colleagues, especially those on the front lines. Tell the stories of individuals in critical roles, putting themselves at risk with a commitment to improve health for their community. 
  2. For specific service-line growth strategies, produce content detailing your health system’s capabilities. Include on these web pages or blog posts links to health assessments that help patients self-identify their need for that particular service line. Learn more about using Wellactivate condition-specific assessments. 
  3. Personalize the patient experience with communications and services tailored to individual needs. Comprehensive patient data can help you communicate more effectively–from recognizing the patient’s preferred communication mode, to understanding their specific health concerns and tailoring messages around those concerns. 

Get Patients to Book—and Keep—Appointments During COVID-19 

Messaging Goal: Enable action by removing any friction to taking the next step, making the process as intuitive and easy to complete as possible.  

  1. Help patients self-identify their need for care. Consumers are turning more frequently to digital channels for advice and to check their symptoms. Using quality, evidence-based health assessments will help patients self-identify their need for care across service lines. See our current available  Wellactivate condition-specific health assessments for service-line growth. 
  2. Be discerning in your outreach programs. Use health assessment data to target your communications to only the subset of patients who are most in need of services. Target service-line promotion messages to only those at high-risk health conditions. 
  3. Consider the ways interactive and digital communications can improve patient satisfaction and retention. A timely email or text message can remove barriers in the patient journey, while a patient who finds themselves on hold waiting to speak to an under-resourced call center is less likely to have an excellent experience. 

Patient Acquisition Strategy for 2021: Agile Approaches and Digital Experiences 

As vaccination efforts get underway and more patients become comfortable with in-hospital care, marketers should plan on agile patient acquisition strategies for the foreseeable future. This is a rapidly evolving landscape and recovering service line revenue will require digital tools that can be quickly deployed, monitored, and provide clear attribution to your plan’s success. 

Interested in more tactics? Download our latest guide 13 Patient Acquisition Tactics During The COVID-19 Pandemic for additional ideas for patient acquisition and service line growth during COVID-19, including tips that will help you welcome new patients and boost loyalty and engagement among existing patients.  

Patient Acquisition Strategies During COVID-19

Tags: engagement

"Comprehensive patient data can help you communicate more effectively–from recognizing the patient’s preferred communication mode, to understanding their specific health concerns and tailoring messages around those concerns. "

Alyssa Carter, Director of Marketing Wellsource