Marketing and media are essential to every organisation.
Medical practices or healthcare companies are no different.
A report by the Pew Research Center stated that 72% of internet users looked online for health information. And a study by campaign group Wholegrain Goodness discovered that Britons are more than twice as likely to search the internet for health advice than to consult their doctor.
The truth is, society has transitioned to seeking information on the web. Which means health professionals and brands need to move with the times and establish a strong online presence.
Here are seven ways in which medical marketing and media strategies can be applied to boost brand recognition and profitability in the healthcare industry.
Optimised blogs and website
Forget the Yellow pages – Google is the new go-to place to find companies which meet our needs.
These days you can literally type “breast enhancement” or “chiropractor” and there’s a list of local services. Search engines are so sophisticated that they will even provide the most authoritative professional within a 10-mile radius.
But what do we mean by “authoritative”?
Google ranks pages based on two primary metrics:
- Authority – a measure of how many people share or link back to your content
- Relevance – content which relates to keywords users type in to find you
Websites and blogs which create relevant content which gets found by internet users, and then gets shared across the web, is deemed as being authoritative.
One doctor who is a master of healthcare marketing, creating highly relevant and authoritative content is Dr Wendy Sue Swanson, of Seattle Children’s Hospital. She started the blog Seattle Mama Doc to give childcare health advice and share her professional journey.
She has established a social media network of more than 34,000 Twitter followers and she’s been featured in TIME magazine’s Best Twitter Feed list.
Engaging Social Media & Referral Marketing
Research by DC Interactive Group discovered 41% of people would choose healthcare based on its social media reputation.
Which proves it’s not only restaurants and hotels which get reviews on social media. People will share a positive or negative experience at a hospital or with a specific doctor or nurse.
But social media can be used in lots of different ways for the healthcare industry.
Philips Healthcare, for example, created the Innovations in Health Linkedin group to facilitate discussions and build credibility to connect with their target audience – healthcare professionals. The group has thus far attracted more than 141,000 members worldwide and helped establish thought leadership and expertise in their field.
More health practices are becoming mobile savvy to support the shift in how internet users consume content.
Sk:n Clinics was able to reach its target audience through a mobile marketing campaign which resulted in a 42% increase in calls from people enquiring about the company’s products.
A click-to-call mobile campaign drove potential customers to the website to fill out a form requesting a free consultation. Sk:n understood its audience was constantly on the move, so the best way to reach the consumer was by having a consultant call them directly after they filled out the free form.
This is true of many healthcare services, which would do well to follow this example to improve user engagement.
Healthcare mobile apps also have their place, if a brand can add value to the consumer with useful information and online tools.
Mobile isn’t the only way to get creative with a healthcare marketing strategy. YouTube is also a very effective tool.
And the video of the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pink Glove Dance is a great example of how a simple idea can increase your reach and bring customers your way.
Staff choreographed a dance sequence to Pharrel Williams’ song Happy as their entry to the Pink Glove Dance contest, which started in 2009 to raise funds for breast cancer research. And in 2014 they won.
Video can be a pivotal component of hospital research and awareness. And from an online marketing perspective this is shareable content which can go viral - if you're lucky.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Paid-for adverts through Google Adwords, LinkedIn Ads, and Facebook local ads are a time-saving and cost-effective way to gain more patients, referrals, and recognition. A budget can be controlled by setting a maximum spend.
Geocentric’s report on How Health Consumers Engage Online revealed that Google processes more than a billion search requests daily – and 44% of those are looking for doctors, while 81% of people click on a sponsored link when seeking health information.
This should be included in any marketing plan for healthcare.
Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns
More than half of doctors and other healthcare providers communicate mostly via email.
So an email marketing campaign is a must, if your brand or product doesn’t want to miss out on a huge chunk of its customer base. It’s also important to optimise emails for mobile web devices so they’re easily readable on the go.
According to researchers MedData, 75% of physicians use smartphones and tablets for professional reasons, and checking email is the top reason for using these mobile devices in the workplace.
So targeted email lists should bring about a strong email marketing conversion rate.
Compelling Offline Media
Despite the online revolution in healthcare marketing trends, there is still a place for TV, print, and outdoor media, which also works for the healthcare industry.
Everyone has different media preferences. People often consume both offline and online media before making a decision.
In a 2012 Google/Compete Hospital Study, 84% of patients used both online and offline sources for research.
And of those who went offline for research:
- 32% of patients used TV
- 20% used magazines
- 18% consulted newspapers
Saint Francis Hospital’s Orthopedic Center in New York hired an agency to help them run an emotionally compelling campaign via TV, print, and outdoor ads which resulted in 75% market penetration in primary and secondary markets. The agency identified their target audience, what their pain/problem was, and then spun it in a way that was positive, informative, and resonated with that customer base. And finally, they included a clear call-to-action.
More than 150 joint surgeries were attributed to the campaign, which generated revenue exceeding 4,500% of the cost.
For help with healthcare marketing challenges, contact us on 0800 612 9890.