The Coffey Blog

5 tips to turn your hospital events calendar into a results machine

Posted on: Monday, October 12, 2015

Marcus Corder, Client Advocate/Project Manager

Whether it's in print or online, your hospital events calendar can be an important (and timely!) tool for engaging healthcare consumers in your community.

Hospital calendar strategies and best practices

Here are 5 ways to help your events and classes calendar shine—and to support your hospital's mission and success.

1. Be guided by your goals. Like your other hospital marketing strategies, your events calendar should be rooted in your brand's overarching goals. For example, you may be aiming to increase traffic to your key service lines or to promote your doctors as the go-to experts in your area. Or your hospital's mission when it comes to events and classes might lean more toward community outreach, wellness education or foundation fundraising. 

It's easy to take these goals for granted. But reminding yourself and your team what you're aiming for may bring new insights and ideas to the table.

2. Put a system in place. For example, set up a shared calendar where stakeholders—service line leads, department heads, foundation liaisons, etc.—can add classes, events and notes. Or create an email form that they can use to submit events to be included in the calendar. If it's for a printed piece, be sure people know the timing details—both the submission deadline and when it will be distributed. 

3. Highlight the good stuff. Identify which events and classes should get top billing or special treatment. These questions may help: 

  • What events most contribute to your hospital's marketing goals?
  • What are the main health issues identified in your Community Health Needs Assessment? 
  • Are there classes that are clearly valuable—but still have low attendance? 
  • What service lines could use a competitive boost in your marketplace?
  • Is there a compelling patient story or engaging instructor profile that could help highlight an event or class?  

You can also use your answers to these questions to guide other marketing efforts—what you'll promote on Facebook, for example.  

Pro tip: If you plan to promote an event heavily, make sure to inform your registration desk or call center. A flood of unexpected calls can be a disaster if staff isn't prepared.

4. Make it easy and clear. Make your calendar listings easy to navigate and understand. A few tips:

  • Organize your calendar by topic area—so people can easily find what they're looking for. 
  • Keep copy light and tight. Use inviting language—and trim wordy, vague or boring descriptions. 
  • Show the value. Tell people what they can get out of attending—what's in it for them. Here are more tips on writing strong calls to action
  • Get the details down—and anticipate questions. What's the cost? How long will the class last? Can people register online? Is parking free? 
  • Make it pleasing to look at. Allow some white space (resist the urge to cram it full!), and use positive imagery to add interest and appeal. Seasonal shots can help make it feel timely and relevant.

5. Define success—and track it too. What does calendar success look like? Get input from others on what's both ideal and achievable when it comes to community engagement. For example, maybe there are 15 more people this quarter in your weight-loss surgery info sessions or 50 families attending your new maternity center open house.  

And here are a few quick tips for tracking how people learn about your events—to help you further sharpen your strategies:

  • Use unique and trackable phone numbers in your magazine or newsletter calendar. You'll know how many callers come from your direct mail piece. 
  • Add a question to registration forms asking where people learned about a class or event. 
  • Set aside time to look at your online calendar analytics. You can see where traffic is coming from and how people are experiencing your website.   

Let's put a time on the calendar to chat!

Coffey can help you integrate your calendar efforts—in print, online and on social media—for the best results. Not sure how to get started? Call us at 888.805.9101 or email us and ask about scheduling a calendar audit.

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