Healthcare marketing, like the healthcare industry itself, can be challenging and complicated. With intense competition, changing consumer behaviors, and online sources becoming the norm for individuals looking for healthcare, it’s a difficult task to ensure you are standing apart and sharing the right message with the right audience at the right time.

When creating your strategy for the coming year, avoid making these five common mistakes.

Skipping over the research

Oftentimes, organizations skip this step due to cost and resources. Healthcare organizations must operate strategically and that means doing market research to gain insight about their patients. With an increase in competition and cost paired with the desire for good customer experience, consumers are shopping around for healthcare. Understanding their wants and needs will help organizations develop better brand messages, acquisition and retention strategies, and identify what tactics are best for which audiences.

Failing to focus on long-term relationships

Patient acquisition is important but developing a plan to keep your patients coming back is equally as crucial. Strong communications plans that go beyond the appointment are one way to build long-term relationships with your patients. In addition, sound customer experience strategies considering everything from booking appointments to wait times and communication with clinicians to patient feedback will be essential to achieving this goal.

Forgetting about your brand

In this era of consumerism in healthcare, a strong brand presence gives your organization a competitive advantage. A strong brand builds trust and helps you develop a relationship with consumers by connecting with them in various ways. A brand is more than just your colors and logo – it’s the organization’s value and purpose and the way those are communicated and acted upon in every interaction.

Not building a social strategy

More people are searching online for healthcare providers and that includes doing research on organizations’ social media sites. Social media is a great way for healthcare organizations to educate followers, promote health resources, and engage and interact with patients, which in turn builds trust. Developing a proactive social media plan to follow throughout the year will help avoid having to create last-minute content and posts.

Ignoring online reviews and opportunities for online content

Google receives more than 1 billion health questions every day, so it’s pretty evident that reputation management needs to be a priority for healthcare marketers. Whether it’s building a strong online review management strategy for providers or ensuring you have SEO-rich content so you show up in organic online searches, you must pay attention to this area in your plan.

As marketers, we all make mistakes or have strategies that fail. Identifying common mistakes and building your marketing strategy to ensure you avoid them will help solidify your future plans.