Digital marketing in the healthcare industry is just as disruptive as mobile apps and digital tools that have surfaced in this sector over the past few years. A strong healthcare marketing strategy can set you apart from the competition and position yourself to create the utmost patient engagement.
Once the industry started using big data to its operations, it created an opportunity to create more digital marketing efforts that providers can leverage to successfully execute a campaign.
“According to a recent study by Epocrates and other device manufacturers, 96 percent of physicians own smartphones and between 56 percent and 76 percent own tablets. Multiple studies have shown in-house physician smartphone use at approximately 80 percent.” Inc reports.
Why Digital Marketing Matters In Healthcare
More people are online more than ever, even doctors. This means that the healthcare industry must create digitally focused efforts in order to successfully reach a customer or audience.
“A recent report reveals that out of 20 searches on Google one search will be related to healthcare this is because, as a maximum number of people going online for information and searching for a solution for their health-related issues.” DigitalReady reports.
Digital marketing in healthcare has to target an audience in order to spread a message or represent an initiative. Many private practices and large providers in healthcare use marketing to address what the organization stands for and can use campaigns to be interactive.
Marketing in healthcare can be tricky, because often times, the topics that are displayed through the campaigns are things that people don’t like to discuss, or normally, don’t approach on their own. Illness, cancer, unhealthy eating habits, are all negative things that although are necessary for patients to be aware of, can also be topics that are not easy to talk about. That is why when you are using marketing in healthcare it is important to make the message clear and transparent, to the point, and easy to understand.
According to Vi Marketing & Branding, the healthcare landscape has changed because:
- Hospitals and other healthcare entities understand the power of a respected brand. The consumer has the power today because they have access to information. In this case, the capabilities of a hospital, infection rate, number of specialists, rankings, and other things that influence our opinion of a hospital. Hospitals know that if they don’t establish their position in the market, it will be done for them; by their competitors, through word-of-mouth, and by consumers who have data at their fingertips.
- The healthcare landscape has changed dramatically. With physician-owned hospitals and surgery centers that concentrate on specific medical specialties, minor emergency clinics, and large physician groups, consumers have a lot of choices, and sometimes their primary physician never plays into the equation. Medical tourism takes a share of the patient pie as well. Whether for a better price, a better facility, or a better doctor, consumers are willing to travel across the country to receive the healthcare they desire. Competition has never been more fierce.
Not only are the messages in healthcare hard to address through marketing, HIPAA compliance also comes into play. As we know, HIPAA puts restraints and guidelines for providers to follow, in order to create a clear and understood order in the industry. This means that patients and their information are protected, which means that they cannot appear in the digital marketing intiatives.
HIPAA prohibits the use of photos and patient testimonials in campaigns. Therefore, digital marketing intiatives must meet the requirements of the modern day healthcare landscape. Mastering a strategy that brings new leads while being creative is something that healthcare professionals will benefit from in the long run.
“The widespread distribution of digital technology has changed the nature of marketing. Businesses are now moving away from the distribution of massive, shotgun-style email campaigns and implementing targeted efforts aimed at getting in touch with more focused demographics. The healthcare industry historically has not been keeping pace with these developments. In fact, comparative research done by MarketingProfs shows it is about two years behind other industries.” Marketo reports.
So, what exactly can healthcare professionals do to further implement marketing strategies?
Healthcare marketing has become more complex too. A high-tech, high-touch television campaign, billboards, and print ads no longer fill the need. Healthcare entities need to engage their prospects, not just push messages to them. Today, we use social media in several ways to position healthcare brands. We develop seminars so that prospects can learn and make choices. We use video to provide information. And a good, modern website is crucial to successful healthcare marketing today. All of these are great tools for building a healthcare brand. And that is what the consumer is buying, a brand.
You guessed it, content is a huge factor when it comes to marketing in healthcare. Like many other industries, the content that professionals put out surrounding marketing campaigns is a vital source of information that can increase SEO ratings, target the proper audience and just send an overall consistent message about the brand.
Creating new content is important as readers engage with your website. If you decide on a campaign, creating visual content around it can make it interesting, and worthwhile for your audience. This content must be valuable and credible, and most of all, engaging.
“It is impossible to build a successful strategy without the right online content,” Lugo said. “To succeed in today’s developing healthcare industry, physicians and hospital groups need to constantly produce new content that not only gets them found but also enables them to capture leads for new patients.” Inc. reports
It is no surprise that digital audiences are fixated on images and videos. Our society is constantly buffering information in and out of different platforms, sharing, liking, commenting, and most of this content, or the viral content, is visual. Visual components in content are attention-grabbing and will urge your customers to share and visit your website more frequently.
This content needs to be found easily through SEO, through the use of keywords attached to the visual components in order to increase search ranking.
Yes, the healthcare industry can use social media to carry out digital campaigns as well. In fact, this form of communication is proven to be very successful while carrying out marketing initiatives.
“Social media can be used to engage with patients, support physicians, and improve population health outcomes. Healthcare social media marketing strategies may include participating in discussions, networking, and promoting information about population health.” Evariant reports.
As far as healthcare professionals go, social media can be tricky territory. As discussed above, HIPAA plays a large role in the challenges that healthcare professionals face while using social media, but that doesn’t mean marketing efforts need to come to a halt.
Social media allows for communication tools that can be used among audiences and professionals in the field. It can be an effective outlet to deliver a message, gain an audience (Twitter followers help) or to simply be visible in the sector.
Not only do consumers get important health facts from social media, they also rely on social media to make decisions when it comes to their healthcare. This goes hand in hand with the content factor of the campaign. Professionals in the healthcare industry have an obligation to share informative, credible, up to date information with consumers on social media and beyond, especially during a marketing campaign. The truth goes a long way in healthcare.
Social media also can help reach a younger audience with marketing campaigns.
“18 to 24-year-olds are early adopters of social media and new forms of communication which makes it important for healthcare professionals to join in on these conversations where and when they are happening. Don’t move too slow or you risk losing the attention of this generation overtime.” Getreferralmd reports.
ABOUT DIGITAL HEALTHCARE TRANSFORMATION ASSEMBLY
The Millennium Alliance is pleased to announce that application for our bi-annual Digital Healthcare Transformation Assembly is now open! Seats are reserved for the C-Level executives leading the digital healthcare revolution to come together on December 5-6, 2017.
With the failure of Trumpcare, the start of the Obamacare repeal process has been delayed, making the future of healthcare hard to predict. What is clear is that we are entering a time of uncertainty for both the industry and the patient. The need for customer-centric transformation is more vital than ever, to be open and transparent to patients as they navigate new policies. Healthcare systems and insurance carriers are being forced to respond to new demand rapidly.
We are thrilled to announce that joining us for this edition will be Keynote Speaker Karen B. DeSalvo Former Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The Digital Healthcare Transformation Assembly has been designed for all of our partners, affiliates, and members to once again gather in our unique format to develop new relationships, collaborate with like-minded peers, and learn cutting edge intelligence to take back home and help tackle the biggest business issues of today.
Limited sponsorship opportunities are available. Download the Digital Healthcare Transformation Assembly Sponsorship Prospectus for more information >>
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