How to promote the launch of a new hospital 

Identify your audience, and engage them

Promoting the launch of a new hospital involves a whole range of marketing activities, including PR, advertising, digital marketing, and SEO. You need to use every channel available to engage your audience, including patients, clinicians, key stakeholders, and the public.

The opening of a new hospital is an incredibly exciting day, but the marketing effort starts years before the first patient receives treatment. At 42group, we’ve been involved in several NHS hospital launch marketing campaigns – and are happy to share our insights, approach, and strategies that can help you.

As a marketer, you’ll want to get involved immediately. Content and creative campaign ideas can be generated at every stage of the process. From the first announcement of funding to welcoming the first patients, you need to capture everything and use it to your advantage in promoting your hospital.

Who is this guide on launching a new hospital aimed at?

This guide on promoting the launch of a new hospital can be used by those within the NHS launching a new hospital, urgent-care centre, walk-in centre and other facilities. While the principles of launching a hospital and a GP surgery are similar, we’re working on a guide on promoting the launch of a new GP surgery separately.

This approach outlined in this guide is also relevant to other healthcare providers, including the private sector, who want to launch a new clinic, hospital, or healthcare service.

At 42group, we work with both the NHS and private healthcare providers, helping them to connect with patients, the public, and key stakeholders.

10 steps to promoting your new hospital launch

In this guide, we’re going to work our way through 10 steps to launching your new hospital. These steps are a logical way to identify, engage, and inform your audience. 

We’ve made some assumptions here (that you have the skills to engage the media and the budget to pay for adverts), but you don’t need to do every activity here. In fact, you should only do the activities that will benefit your audience. 

Here are 10 steps to launching your new hospital:

  1. Identifying your audience
  2. Build a launch brand
  3. Creating a content calendar
  4. Mobilising the NHS network 
  5. Internal comms
  6. PR 
  7. Paid-for advertising
  8. Digital marketing
  9. SEO
  10. Managing ongoing engagement

This guide uses resources from across the 42group site, with links to in-depth guides on things like the basics of digital marketing for health and healthcare SEO. You can find more articles, information, and insights about healthcare content and marketing here.  

Identifying your audience

Every successful marketing campaign begins with a clear understanding of your target audiences. It’s easy to assume a hospital launch is relevant to everyone in an area, but that won’t help your campaign strategy.

When developing campaigns with limited resources, you’ll want to be as targeted as possible with your communications – which means understanding your audience.

You will want to work with internal stakeholders, patient engagement leads, and digital marketing experts like 42group to help drill down into your audience. 

We can classify your audiences into some of the following basic categories:

  • Internal audiences: The NHS and its 
  • Location-based audiences: These are all the people who will be directly impacted 
  • Priority patients: If services are transferring to the new facility, you must communicate directly with those patients affected by this shift. This isn’t marketing as such, but about service provision, but it’s likely to land on the marketing team’s desk.
  • Service providers: This includes all organisations and individuals that will work with the service, including GPs, social care organisations, other hospitals, emergency services, and more.
  • System stakeholders: These are the system stakeholders that will directly interact and influence the project. This could include other NHS organisations, public sector groups, politicians, third-sectors groups and more.
  • Key external stakeholders: These are stakeholders who won’t directly influence that process, but are interested in its progress. This could include other NHS organisations, public sector groups, politicians, third-sectors groups and more.
  • General public: OK, so we said not to consider the general public, but we’re going to include the general public here. This is the audience that will 

Identifying the audiences you need to communicate with is the first stage. You’ll need to understand the best channels to connect with them. One effective strategy is to create a series of personas that cover the main audience groups you want to target. This could include:

  • Patient persona
  • Service provides
  • Key internal stakeholders
  • Public persona

We don’t have the space to describe the process of creating personas, but we will do so in a future blog post (which we’ll link here when it’s created).

Build a launch brand

The NHS has one of the world’s strongest and most recognisable brands. If you’re part of the NHS, you’ll have to adhere to the NHS Brand Guidelines (as well as internal guidelines) that dictate what you can and can’t do. This doesn’t need to constrict your freedom to develop creative ideas; it simply contains it. 

Every hospital launch should have its own brand. That can include unique creatives, a strong strapline, and a compelling messaging framework. Developing these communications pillars ensures that all communication is clear, branded, and always on message. 

The creative choices are yours, and we urge you to work with a specialist healthcare branding agency (if you have the budget for it). Your messaging framework uses your audience personas and develops messages for each that address their concerns (in marketing speak, their pain points), requirements, and motivations to develop messages that will resonate with them. 

The messaging framework can – and should – be reviewed, refined, and updated at each stage of the process. The messages you want to share when the decision is made to build a hospital are different from those you’ll need to share on the first day it launches, for example.

Building a launch brand is a critical part of the process that you can’t overlook. While the NHS has incredible strengths, you adopt a commercial marketing approach to engaging your audiences.

Creating a content calendar 

Content calendars are a place for your whole marketing team to sketch out your launch activity schedule. Using an online tool like Asana, Monday, or Trello is a much more sophisticated and effective approach than using a Word template or Excel sheet.

A content calendar provides a visual breakdown of all activities – including PR, internal comms, social media, and digital marketing – in one place. Digital content calendars are accessible and flexible, enabling entire teams to contribute and collaborate.

Want to know more about content calendars? You should check out our content marketing calendar guide.

Mobilising the NHS network

The NHS network includes a huge range of providers (GP surgeries, hospitals, some dental practices, walk-in care providers, hospitals, and more) and a whole range of third-sector organisations, patient groups, and private providers. 

Launching a new hospital should involve every part of the health service, planning the promotion of any new facility and exploring how you can mobilise the NHS network (and wider groups) to engage your audience.

We recommend exploring how you can access existing communications networks and content promotion channels. This can include all the channels we mention below (so read on!).

Internal comms

Internal comms are critical to any effective communications campaign in the health service. You’ll want to spend time identifying key channels that you own or have access to, as well as those you can share messages with that are managed by partner organisations. 

Examples can include:

  • Intranets and internal websites
  • Newsletters
  • Email updates
  • Message boards
  • Social media channels (that are focused on internal staff)

It’s easy to forget stakeholders like GPs and other clinicians in this process, but they’re a core audience – especially if they’re referring patients to the new service. While they’ll receive referral information from service leads, it’s essential to keep them up-to-date with progress. As well as personal interest in the new facility, GPs and other clinicians are also likely to be asked questions by the public. Keeping them informed through regular internal comms updates will ensure they always have the answers they need.


Public relations (PR) is essential to your new hospital launch promotional plan. You can – and should – involve the media at each stage of the process. Of course, you’ll want to create regular press updates, but this isn’t enough. You’ll want your media team to get proactive and engage local journalists with news stories and opportunities for them to get involved. 

At 42group, the team is packed full of current and former journalists, and we understand what makes the media take notice. We can help you create press releases, media statements, and updates that engage your audience, generating coverage in print, online, and on TV and radio.

Paid-for advertising

We’re not a specialist paid-for media agency, but we have experience in the field. Some of the advertising channels you may want to consider are:

  • Targeted print ads
  • Radio ads
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Promotional giveaways

We have insight and experience in creating, managing, and analysing pay-per-click advertising campaigns for the NHS, health providers, pharma companies, and third-sector organisations. 

There are incredible opportunities to use PPC to target your key audiences through advertising on websites, Google searches, and social media platforms (including Facebook and LinkedIn). 

One of the benefits of paid-for-advertising like PPC is the ability to directly target your core audiences. We can use your personas to create campaigns that are laser-focused on your key groups. We can use the built-in tools to target individuals and groups based on their locations, demographics, or other key characteristics. 

By using the power of retargeting, we can maximise the impact of your advertising, pushing your budget as far as possible to create connections. As a trusted Google Partner, we may be able to support your new hospital launch with a Google grant to provide free advertising across its platforms. (If you want to start this process now, get in touch!). 

Digital marketing & Content

Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of online activities to promote your hospital launch. We’ve written a guide on the basics of digital marketing for health and encourage you to start there. Digital marketing includes PPC, SEO, and content to educate, inform, and inspire your core audiences. 

When we talk about healthcare content, we mean a broad range of communication materials for patients, clinicians, partners, and key stakeholders, including:

  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Patient communications materials, including leaflets
  • Whitepapers
  • Animations
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

At 42group, we specialise in managing content creation and content management for health service partners. We approach each project with a fresh perspective and a whole host of processes to help us. Working together, we can develop a content strategy with your audience at its centre. 

When promoting the launch of a new hospital, for example, we would recommend creating a broad range of content assets to support you, including:

  • Detailed and customer-driven content plan covering every stage of your hospital launch project
  • A range of promotional materials (posters, leaflets, newsletters, and branded direct mail and email campaigns 
  • An integrated online promotional plan that links back to your content
  • Infographics and animations that bring the project to life
  • Videos to capture the progress of the project and share customer and clinician stories

You can read more about some healthcare content marketing examples here.

These are some ways we can use your content to increase engagement, generate excitement, and ensure everyone understands the positive impact of your new hospital on the local healthcare system. The key is to ensure that every piece of content has a strategic purpose – which is why you should work with a dedicated healthcare content marketing agency like 42group.

You can read more about healthcare content marketing and how it works in our healthcare content marketing guide.


Search engine optimisation (SEO) for healthcare uses commercial techniques to improve your ranking on search engines. The positive thing is that, unlike competing with other businesses, you should find your site (or microsite) ranks well for key search terms – especially if you’re using an NHS domain. 

You can read about the fundamentals of healthcare SEO in this guide.

As well as ensuring your site appears prominently in search engines, SEO best practices can also improve the user experience and accessibility of your site. SEO experts will assess your site and make changes, like adding tags, including better imagery, ensuring content is clear, and maximising performance and speed, making it easier for users. 

Many in-house NHS marketers don’t consider the impact and benefits of SEO for healthcare organisations, but it’s a critical part of promoting a new hospital launch.

It’s important that you work with a specialist healthcare SEO agency like 42group that can work within the legal requirements and accessibility demands – all while putting patients first.

Managing ongoing engagement

Every campaign should be managed, monitored, analysed and improved. Of course, the tools you use and the metrics you manage are dictated by the channels you use, the strategy you’re following, and the suppliers and partners you’re working with. 

When we work with any client (from any sector), we create a dashboard with all the key metrics identified. Together, we agree on some key targets, ensuring they’re all realistic and achievable (while stretching us to do our best). 

This is captured in a dashboard that’s updated regularly and forms part of our regular review process. We’ll mention hard stats (like website visits and PPC clicks) but also include sentiment analysis to ensure we’re reaching your audience with content that resonates with them.

Developing a measurement plan for all activities is vital to capturing the impact you’re having. By measuring engagement and accessing the tools available, you can identify audience gaps – and target them. This gap analysis ensures that nobody gets left behind. 

Once the campaign has been completed and patients are being treated in the new facility, you can wrap up the project and produce a lessons-learned document – driven by data – that captures this critical organisational learning to improve future promotional projects and activities.

Promote your hospital launch with 42group

Planning a new hospital launch (or other healthcare service)? We’re here to help. At 42group, we’ve worked with the NHS and other health providers to create marketing plans that engage, inform, and inspire patients, clinicians and the public.

If you’re looking for an experienced agency partner to work with you, the answer is 42.

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