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10 festive campaigns to engage patients this holiday season

The holiday season doesn't have to be a slow time at your practice. Try these festive patient marketing ideas to drive engagement and joy!

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to engage with patients through holiday-themed campaigns that show the festive, personal side of your practice — and ensure that you’ll see an influx of patients taking advantage of the promotions you offer.

To help you create fun, attention-getting holiday promotions this year, we’ve created a list of patient marketing ideas you can use on your blog, social media channels, or email marketing. Check our list once — or check it twice! —to find engaging promotions to launch this holiday season.

Holiday patient marketing ideas for healthcare practices

1. Film a holiday Youtube video

YouTube is one of the most popular social media websites because people love to watch creative, funny, human videos.

The holiday season is the perfect time to make a video to share holiday cheer with your patients — and create lasting goodwill all year long. You don’t need a fancy production either: Just pull out your smartphone and start filming.

Invite your whole staff to join in on the promotional fun. For example, your entire team can simply yell, “Happy Holidays” or even sing a group carol. Or gather several fellow doctors together to sing a holiday song.

When your video is ready, get the maximum mileage by publishing it on all of your social media channels and emailing it to your patients with a personalized “Thank You for Your Business” email.

Check out: How to reach new patients using social media

2. Create a calendar for patients

Who doesn’t love a free calendar? Why not create your own calendar so your practice can decorate your patients’ walls or refrigerator year-round? There are several companies online that make calendars for you, like Shutterfly.

To make it special, make it personal. For example, think monthly health tips for runners if you’re a podiatrist, healthy teeth tips if you’re a dentist, or inspiring images of athletes if you’re an orthopedic surgeon.

3. Host a holiday-themed Twitter chat

Is there a holiday-related health issue you can address? Is there a topic that a large number of your patients have asked you about this year? Both of these would make excellent topics for a Twitter chat.

A Twitter chat (or tweet chat) is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. A hashtag is used to filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest, or host is available to engage in the conversation.

To participate, tweet during the designated time with the appointed hashtag. Start promoting your event a few weeks before by announcing it on your social platforms and blog, in your practice, and to your patients by email. Even if your patients don’t connect on Twitter, you’ll build a reputation as a thought leader in your field.

Look: Twitter 101 for healthcare providers

4. Hold a Facebook photo contest

Patient involvement is a powerful way to engage people in your business, and pictures are worth a thousand words. Combine both into a photo contest, and you have a match made in patient marketing holiday heaven.

Facebook and Instagram are the easiest, most visual platforms for your clients to upload pictures and videos. On Facebook, tell patients to post to your practice page; on Instagram ask them to tag you in their post and use a hashtag you’ve created for the contest (e.g., #xmasbeverlyhillsdental).

Invite your patients and followers to contribute photos of themselves related to living a healthy lifestyle or interacting with their pets around the holidays. Then have your staff vote on their favorite photos. Give away a fun (and healthy!) prize for the winner. Dermatologists, for example, can give a package of skin care products, while dentists can give away professional teeth whitening strips.

Announce the winner on social media to create more buzz around the campaign, and some friendly competition for your next holiday campaign.

You might like: Instagram practice marketing tips

5. Create a Free “Holiday Survival Guide” eBook

How can you help your patients stay healthier this holiday season? What about advising them to limit their intake of holiday treats or be sure to always find a designated driver if they drink at holiday events? A great way to share healthy holiday tips with your patients is to create a free “Holiday Survival Guide” eBook that they can download from your website or social media pages. You can also divide the eBook chapters into blog posts to post throughout the holiday season. Ask your staff to contribute chapters to the book, or find the best writer on your team and give them a great opportunity to indulge in a creative project.

6. Send a holiday email campaign

If you like the idea of sharing healthy tips with your patients this season, put your tips into a series of emails. Create a “12 Days of Health” email campaign to send for 12 days during the holiday season. Include educational as well as entertaining content.

If you think that email is boring compared to modern marketing vehicles like Facebook and Twitter, think again. In fact, email is one of the most powerful ways to market your services today. It consistently performs better than any other platform.

Do think outside the typical (read: boring) email design. Many email platforms have a variety of templates you can choose from, including some with holiday themes. Or try a free email service like MailChimp that gives you the opportunity to easily design your own emails, along with many other useful email features — all for free!

7. Write your holiday story

Do you have a funny or poignant holiday story from your childhood? Everyone loves touching stories, especially this time of year.

Imagine how fun it would be for your patients to read a creative story written by their healthcare professional about the time they caught Santa Claus kissing mommy, or you gave the wrong gifts to the wrong people, or the dog ate the dinner ham! Compose them into a small storybook to share with patients. It’s a gift they’ll never forget.

8. Create a holiday-themed blog series

Now is the perfect time of year to spike your creative blogging  juices by publishing several new blog posts.

You can enlist your entire staff in the fun. Ask everyone to contribute one interesting holiday story, such as something interesting, unique, or funny that happened in their childhood. Then post them throughout the season on your blog. Don’t forget to include images; research shows images significantly increase the odds that your blog posts get read.

Read: Why healthcare providers aren’t blogging — and why they should be

9. Think like Google!

Have you ever checked out Google just to see its latest doodle? Copy Google this season by creating a holiday-themed logo on your website!

Hire a good graphic designer to, for example, wrap a wreath around your logo or have snowflakes fall down around it. Or you can go even bigger and create a whole winter wonderland scene around your logo. To gain added traction, put your holiday design on all of your social platforms.

Listen: Developing a healthcare practice brand

10. Sponsor a holiday giving campaign

What’s the holiday season without heart-felt giving? Use this time of year to boost holiday cheer by sponsoring a giving campaign.

For example, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital created an interactive Christmas tree to engage supporters during the holidays. People were encouraged to decorate their own digital ornament, including a personal message, for the patients at St. Jude’s and the opportunity to give a donation.

Your practice doesn’t need to go all out like St. Jude’s to give your patients the opportunity to give this season. A simpler approach could be to choose a local charity in your community. Patients who make a holiday donation get to feature a holiday photo of themselves on the wall or your waiting room. The campaign will bring good cheer to everyone who visits your practice as well as to the organization receiving your donations.

Don’t allow the holidays to slip by without trying your hand at one or more of these patient marketing ideas! You’ll add to the joyous season and also inspire goodwill among your patients.

For more patient marketing tips, check out the blog post “The 6 best communication channels to drive patient retention.”

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