Creative healthcare marketing ideas can help engage patients, recruit providers and educate the community on important public health issues. While creativity and healthcare may seem an unlikely pair, a little strategic planning, brainstorming and (most importantly) having fun can help your campaigns, messages and organization stand out in a crowded market.

top of a woman's face with an illustration above her head showing an idea and creativityBut, in the rush to meet deadlines, create new content and post to social media, it can be easy to fall into a rut with your organization’s healthcare marketing campaigns.

Fortunately, injecting a little creativity into your marketing efforts is an easy pill to swallow. At WriterGirl, we’re honored to work with many organizations that create, implement and measure creative marketing ideas and campaigns.

Here’s how you can make creativity a priority for your healthcare marketing.

1. Start with your brand

The best place to look for inspiration for creativity is your brand. Look through your organization’s brand story, guidelines or mission and value statement. Find the unique attributes that set your hospital, providers, medical centers and organization apart from competitors.

Starting with your brand will help you think of new ways to bring marketing campaigns to life in a way that’s authentic to your organization and interesting to your audience.

One of our clients, Providence, lives and breathes their brand and organization’s mission every day. Their promise to the communities they serve is “Know me, care for me, ease my way.

They bring this to life in all marketing materials — not just by creating content that’s easy to find and read, but by always putting their patients and communities first. And that was certainly the case this spring when healthcare workers were facing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The team at Providence quickly responded by developing a call to action for people eager to support healthcare workers during COVID-19. The result: The 100 Million Mask Challenge. They launched an ambitious project by partnering with community organizations to provide PPE for healthcare workers.

Now, this campaign is being led by the American Hospital Association and has expanded across the country. All because of one creative idea from an organization that knew its brand and dared to dream big.

2. Take a team approach

Once you’ve refreshed yourself on your organization’s brand, bring a team together that spans departments. Invite marketing, digital, operations and other relevant groups to the table. When you come together, you can discuss challenges your departments may face, what’s feasible and come up with new opportunities to connect with audiences.

Maybe your social media coordinator wants to try sharing engaging healthcare content on Reels, Instagram’s answer to TikTok. Or, perhaps the digital team can share advice on what blog posts have been most popular or keywords visitors are searching for on your site.

Each person who is ultimately involved with launching a healthcare marketing campaign — down to the receptionists who greet patients at the office — can offer a unique perspective to share that can make an ordinary idea extraordinary. You just need to listen.

3. Think outside the box

By reviewing the brand, discussing challenges and opportunities first, your team will be well-positioned to springboard into brainstorming creative ideas — the most enjoyable, exciting and sometimes daunting aspect of creativity.

Have a fun, successful brainstorming session with a few simple tips:

  • Establish ground rules that foster collaboration. This includes being open and respectful to all ideas, taking turns talking and encouraging participation from everyone
  • Find an interesting place to brainstorm. These days, it’s tough to gather in a room together. Encourage your team to take laptops outside or another part of the house during those Skype or Zoom meetings.
  • Write down all ideas. Be sure to capture everyone’s ideas — no matter how off-the-wall or seemingly unfeasible they may seem.

One fun marketing initiative we’ve recently launched here at WriterGirl is our Word of the Week (an idea that came from a marketing team brainstorm session). These fun, informal and personal videos highlight a WriterGirl team member’s favorite word across our social media channels. So far, we’ve shared “akimbo,” “besotted,” “cattywampus,” “ambiguous,” and “anathema.”
Not only is this campaign true to our core values (empowered, curious, kind and fun), but it’s always a creative way for us to showcase our team. And, smartphones make it easy to shoot, edit and share these short video clips.

4. Elevate the favorite healthcare marketing ideas

After brainstorming, go back through the list and circle the healthcare marketing ideas that stand out. Discuss what everyone likes about the ideas and how the teams could bring them to life. Then, sleep on it. Take a break and walk away to give each person a chance to consider the ideas and how they may (or may not) work.

Spend this time researching ideas and seeing what other healthcare organizations (and organizations outside the industry) have implemented. Consider if their success is something that your team could replicate (and make it your own) or see if there’s something you could do better.

Thanks to Google, it’s easier than ever to find examples of creative healthcare marketing ideas. You can also turn to marketing blogs, like HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, Moz and many others, to research ideas and brainstorm marketing plans.

5. Work out the details

Schedule a follow-up meeting to go through the ideas and identify which ones are the best ones to try first. Have an open and honest discussion about what campaign ideas may work and what you should save for later. Be clear about expectations and roles, and most importantly, decide upfront what metrics you’ll use to demonstrate success.

Most of the time, this comes down to your ultimate goal. Sometimes, these metrics are easier to identify than others. For example, do you want more people visiting your website? Then web traffic should be included in your evaluation plan. Other goals, like new patients, can be a little trickier to measure. It’s not always clear if a new patient is a direct result of healthcare marketing campaigns, word of mouth, or a combination of efforts.

Fortunately, you can still use metrics like new patient signups, phone calls to offices, website traffic to a specific URL and even certain types of social media engagement to identify trends in behaviors. If all these metrics are on the rise during your campaign, then it paints a clear and compelling picture that your efforts were successful.

Once your new creative healthcare marketing campaign is launched, monitor and evaluate its success. Adjust it as needed, but be sure to give it time to connect and resonate with audiences.

Interested in learning more on how to come up with creative marketing ideas? Find out how WriterGirl can help with our custom content approach and services.

Editor’s note: This blog post was updated on August 13, 2020. It was originally published in June 2018.