Healthcare Marketing Leaders: Invest in Your Digital Front Door
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Healthcare marketers are facing a wave of new challenges in 2021.
An average healthcare system may have tens of thousands of Find a Doctor searches in a week, discovered through both internal and external search properties. This is requiring marketers to keep a real-time pulse on the performance of top physician profiles and improve SEO rankings.
Organizations historically focused on call in / walk in patients have had to face the digital age likely before they were fully prepared.
The revenue of the average US health system was significantly impacted in the last year, and marketers are expected to reprioritize their efforts toward the specific departments within their organizations needing help.
As a result, there’s more pressure than ever not only to invest in digital experiences but to prove the value of that investment, an increasingly difficult task as touchpoints from audiences come from new devices and sources every day.
The answer is here: you must invest in your digital front door.
What is Your Digital Front Door?
According to Relatient, “The digital front door is a strategy for engaging patients at every major touchpoint of the patient journey using technology that patients have already adopted for everyday use.”
It’s not new, but it’s absolutely surging. Two-thirds of healthcare consumers accessed a digital front door in 2020.
Digital front door is intended to triage your audience’s most important needs the moment that they approach you. Do they need a referral? Quick answers to a billing question? Exploring profiles of your specialists? In any case, this is a critical moment in their journey with your organization to get them to their intended destination.
We also know, as marketers and patients alike, that visitors entering your digital front door will possess varying levels of urgency in their need for an answer. Marketers are expected to deploy various tools—for example, mobile-friendly pages and search bars—to reduce friction in user journeys, specifically for these visitors.
In short, your digital front door is about meeting audiences where they are most comfortable - using the technology already adopted in their lives - and exceeding their expectations for care today when so many other industries have surpassed healthcare in digital innovation.
Why Your Digital Front Door Matters Now
Investing in your digital front door as a business tool is extremely important, but not nearly as important as taking care of your community. Facing the current age of technology and automation and finding ways to bring your organization up to speed will have a significant impact on patients’ lives as they find answers to their healthcare questions faster and with less confusion.
Nonetheless, it is also important to reduce friction in these user journeys to improve your organization’s relationship with its audience. Consider, for example, that the adoption of live video care increased 11% in 2020. Now, 2 in every 5 of your patients likely seek video consultation as their preferred first touchpoint. Without this interaction available (or easily accessible), those patients may seek care elsewhere or prolong their search for a solution.
Digital Front Door in Action
To illustrate how a digital front door can best help triage your visitors, consider the varying degrees of familiarity your audience has with your brand:
In both cases, the audience needs a significant amount of information upfront to make their decision. But the type of information varies between users, and providing too much information is known to create friction in healthcare’s already-complex journey.
Your digital front door is the first and most crucial opportunity to engage your audience, enabling them to self-identify what they need from you. This interaction data comes back to your marketing funnel, and the very specific user experiences required for each audience at each stage
Using this audience behavior data in future communications can inform and optimize your messaging. For example, page paths of cohorted visitors can help determine what it means when audiences search for vague terms such as “Care.” Did those visitors end up resolving their visit on a primary physician page or an urgent care page? This data is essential for better understanding your audience.
Why Rise is Uniquely Positioned to Help
What is a performance marketing agency’s role in this? As illustrated above, the data coming from your digital front door is not only helpful but essential to the future of our industry. First party data and the methods for acquiring it should be a top priority for marketers to solve today to be able to compete when third party data has gone away.
For large health systems like Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Rise is leveraging these user experience customizations in tandem with targeted digital media and analytics to drive qualified audiences to the digital front door, track user trends, and optimize the user journey accordingly. Hospitals and healthcare organizations offer a wide variety of support, service, and care—most healthcare offerings are merely clutter to each individual visitor as they pursue very specific solutions, at times the most important thing on their minds. The digital front door gives clients like Nicklaus Children’s Hospital the opportunity to focus on that unique need for care in the digital conversation with patients.
Healthcare marketers: this is your next era. Reach out to Rise for guidance investing in your digital front door and to learn more about how a performance marketing agency can lead the way.