So, you’re a healthcare marketer looking to reach a local audience. Where are you going to turn? According to a recent BIA/Kelsey report, if your company is like most healthcare organizations, then you’re planning to spend nearly 90 percent of your local budget in offline channels, leaving little money left for leveraging an expansive range of digital opportunities.
We are living in the age of the consumer and becoming more user-centric than ever before. Yet, healthcare marketers are devoting just over 10 percent of their budgets to the digital channels where patients are spending 45 percent of their time. As marketers, our burning desire is to understand and speak to our customers more effectively, but many continue to spend the vast majority of their budgets in areas that offer few opportunities for personalized conversations, targeting, and tracking.
Below are six ways for you to reach your patients and prospects digitally and provide them with value throughout the sales funnel.
Digital Tactics to Dominate Local Healthcare Marketing
1. Invest in paid search. Just 3.5 percent of local marketing budgets are being spent on paid search. In fact, the average hospital has a virtually nonexistent program in place to capture local patients who are actively seeking healthcare. These aren’t people who are watching their favorite sitcom and happen to see your ad when it cuts to commercials. These are members of your community who are specifically in the market for your products and services. They are searching for what you and your competitors offer — right now — and they are ready to make an appointment. Paid search should be one of the first places you spend your marketing dollars, as it is the best way to guarantee engagement with consumers at the bottom of the funnel. Better yet, once you have identified a healthcare shopper, you can continue a dialogue with that individual and provide seamless conversion opportunities across desktop, tablet, mobile and even in-clinic experiences.
2. Take advantage of personalized media opportunities. Healthcare is a very personal experience. So much so, that there are numerous laws preventing marketers from digging too far into their patients’ lives for marketing purposes. That said, there is no excuse not to present ads that are appropriate for the age and situation of your patients and prospects.. Your physicians and staff provide special, individualized care for each patient, so why should your online presence be a barrage of generic creative? Technology allows you to better understand your users and show ads that help them feel more comfortable and understood during their most vulnerable times.
3. Use testing to inform your decisions. How often do you get to run two billboard or TV ads, track precisely how they are performing across a variety of metrics (including their contribution to the customer journey) and use that information to make real-time changes mid-campaign? Not often? Exactly! This is a unique attribute of online advertising. With the right testing solution, your online ads can be incredibly efficient and even inform your traditional media decisions before those dollars are spent.
4. Refresh your listing on directories and review sites. There are 50+ prominent directories and review sites sharing information about your brand. If you don't update those directories, you’ll still have listings, but they will be poorly populated and likely inaccurate. Negative reviews, especially in healthcare, need to be addressed; and positive feedback should be highlighted. Directories and review sites are out there, whether you like it or not, so tracking and managing them is not optional.
5. Use programmatic display ads. For those who seek the massive reach of TV, radio, or newspaper, but in a setting that can be more efficiently targeted and measured, display advertising is your solution. Did I mention that display’s efficiency makes these ads vastly more affordable than their traditional counterparts? Furthermore, targeting by audience groups allows you to concentrate your spend on individuals with employer-sponsored insurance. This gives providers a fantastic avenue to drive traffic from audience segments that will impact their overall revenue. You can even target down to the zip code level! These ads live where your future patients spend most of their time, and now, via programmatic TV, are entering the coveted TV space. This is where you build brand recognition and recall without slamming the doors on direct response.
6. Drive traffic to your site with content syndication. Virtually every player in the healthcare market is sitting on an incredible wealth of medical knowledge and expertise. Unfortunately, healthcare organizations are routinely missing the content opportunities that e-commerce brands know well. Content syndication platforms provide marketers with a fantastic way to drive top of funnel traffic to their sites at a low CPC. Using the content your organization is already creating for brochures, speaking engagements, classes, websites, press releases and the like, you can reach an audience that is actively seeking information and position your organization as a trusted thought leader.
Many healthcare marketers are missing opportunities to connect with, and better understand, current and potential patients. Meanwhile, traditional media is more expensive and difficult to accurately track. Digital opportunities like the ones above, provide a strong foundation for marketing success by offering vast reach at reduced costs, along with better targeting and tracking capabilities.
For more information on incorporating digital channels into your healthcare marketing strategy, contact Rise Interactive.