Most articles that tout to offer up the “best healthcare marketing ideas” are little more than vapid blather.
If the writer (no doubt some intern who just learned to copy/paste) had an inkling of what the best marketing strategies were, they would probably be in a different job altogether.
And the truth is, you already know what “everybody else is doing.”
Billboards, social media, content, SEO, pay-per-click, video — you name it. They’re doing it. And spending a lot of time and money to make a lot of noise.
So while I’m going to mention a few of these things here, I’m not going to do a word vomit to please Google’s algorithm.
That would be a waste of your time and mine, dear reader.
I’m going to focus on the threads that tie all of these marketing tactics together – the big “why” questions and answers that so often go unchecked.
Healthcare Content Marketing
No doubt, every time a user clicks a WebMD article to diagnose a weird symptom, another medical editor gets their wings.
Content is the driver of the marketing engine. Without a reason to click, there would be no digital marketing.
So I’m going to challenge you to think about content differently.
It’s not enough to say that you need to “do content” and do it well.
You also need perfect clarity around what job content is supposed to be doing inside of your marketing funnel. And there are different types of content for different jobs to be done.
Mobile Responsive Website
Yes, you need a mobile responsive website. The numbers don’t lie. Mobile healthcare ad spend is up almost 20% YOY in 2020.
So no, going with a mobile-first design is no longer optional. On average, U.S. adults spend more than three hours per day on their smartphones.
So your website? If it doesn’t work well with mobile, you’re leaving money on the table.
Digital Healthcare Marketing
Finding the right mix of digital advertising media placements isn’t so easy. Everyone will tell you that you need a strategy. And yeah, you do.
But beyond that, the trick isn’t just figuring out where to buy ads. It’s about how to increase your average order value, how to understand your customer lifetime value and how to yield the best financial returns possible from your advertising dollars — ROAS.
Optimizing your campaigns for ROAS means understanding the cost to acquire a new patient or customer. It also requires your marketing to be truly accountable to your bottom line – not just guessing your way to an empty bank account and an empty waiting room.
Healthcare Social Media Marketing
Ask any doctor you know and they’ll tell you word-of-mouth is STILL (yes in 2020) one of their chief sources of new patient referrals.
More and more, social media users choose to crowdsource their life issues. How many times have you seen questions like this in your Facebook feed:
“Who here has experience with Dr. Jones? Trying to decide if they’re the right fit.”
And inevitably, there is a rich comments section full of opinions, links to doctor’s websites and so on.
Your social media presence is important as a trust factor for your business. It’s not enough to post once every few weeks or even months and say that you’re “doing social media.”
Consistency communicates trust. What are you communicating?
Let’s be honest. Did you spend too much time on TikTok last weekend? If this is you, you’re not alone.
Not to get into a debate about media consumption or the relevance of certain platforms, but platforms like YouTube are relatively well-trusted and show good longevity predictions for a growing user base whereas with TikTok, the jury is still out.
Video is a direct way to connect, create trust and form bonds with your audience. And with the growth of telehealth as a necessity in a mid-pandemic world and beyond, the medium has never been more relevant.
Healthcare Marketing Consultants
Do you need to hire a healthcare marketing consultant? Maybe and, then again, maybe not. A consultant is not a panacea. They can’t do sales and marketing magic or rescue your business from the pitfalls of things like bad customer service, poor business practices and the like. But they can hold up a mirror for you to see these things for yourself.
A consultant can be incredibly valuable if you know how to use them in a constructive and directed way.
When it comes to vetting consultants, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
What is the ideal outcome of working with a consultant? Who else has gotten results from working with this consultant? Can this consultant actually provide proof of their abilities and do they have the subject matter expertise that applies directly to your business problem?
If so, proceed with a sense of clarity about the processes and outcomes you’re trying to achieve.
Location-Based SEO (Local SEO)
When your business relies on its physical location to perform services, a local SEO strategy is paramount. For businesses in metropolitan areas with no shortage of competition, appearing on the first page of Google becomes a twofold war of keyword bidding strategy and organic reach strategy.
Appearing locally for the most revenue-relevant searches should be at the top of your priority list. But that’s not all you should focus on.
Simple things like hours of operation, correct business information and descriptions of your services or products are the kind of data that search algorithms rely on to display your business in location-based searches. So with the Google My Business platform, just keeping these fields up-to-date is an important foundation for your local SEO work.
Improve User Experience
The patient experience or user experience when it comes to your website? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when looking to improve your UX:
- How easy is it to make an appointment online? Is it even possible to do this?
- How many steps are required?
- Could a person with very little tech acumen complete the task with ease?
- How simple is it to find basic business information on your website (location, contact info, hours of operation, phone numbers)?
- When someone calls your phone number, does a human answer the phone promptly?
These questions sound basic, but it’s shocking just how few businesses can give strong, simple answers to these questions.
The patient/user experience is a signal to everyone who interacts with your business. What are you signalling?
Consumer Focus/Targeted Audience
Are you focusing on your best customers or patients? When it comes to your marketing messages, the platforms you populate and the kinds of content you create, keep in mind that you can’t be everything to everyone.
Speaking directly to one audience about one kind of problem using a simple, human-centered approach is much more effective than fancy brand campaigns that get plastered up on billboards and bus stops.
Quality Health Care Products
It should go without saying that the best marketing is born from being in a category of one when it comes to quality. This could mean that yours are the best quality healthcare products, or you could have the best customer service in your field. Either way, a superior service or product is its own kind of marketing.
When people invest in their health through you, they are investing in the best version of themselves. So make them believe in that investment by never compromising on quality.
Top Healthcare Marketing Trends in 2020
Obviously, one of the top healthcare marketing trends this year has been to promote services that can be delivered via telehealth. But telehealth aside, one of the most overlooked marketing strategies is voice.
With more people spending extended periods of time at home and through the growth of voice-enabled devices in U.S. homes, the market for voice-based advertising has never been better.
How Do I Market My Healthcare Business in 2020?
Marketing your business in 2020 is far from a paint-by-numbers endeavor. 2020 has been the year of the “pivot” alongside a host of other groan-worthy vocabulary terms I won’t mention here.
That said, now is the time to start thinking more strategically than your competitors.
Billboards are dead.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
So forget the feel-good picture of the doctor on the billboard and invest in measurable digital strategies that you can optimize and leverage for profit.
What is a Healthcare Marketing Plan?
A good healthcare marketing plan is like an investment strategy. The ultimate goal is to create a system that brings you new patients profitably so that “your money makes you money.” When you put dollars into the marketing machine you’ve built, you get them back as multiples of your initial investment.
Doing this requires that you understand the patient or customer journey and the key metrics that really matter when it comes to costs and returns.
Only then can you approach this problem from a mathematical standpoint. From here, you can apply all of the creative means that marketing has to offer.
What is the Best Healthcare Marketing Strategy in 2020?
If you’re wondering where to go from here with marketing your healthcare strategy in 2020, it comes down to a few simple questions:
- How do you deliver your products or services?
- Are you bound by geography?
- Who are your customers?
- Where do they spend time online?
If you’re not tied to a specific location, then your first marketing task is to look at how you can expand your customer base through acquisition marketing.
If you are location-dependent, your first task is to figure out how to capture the maximum share-of-voice locally so that your business can be in a category of one or present a unique selling point that your competition can’t stand against.
There’s no magic bullet, no “one-size-fits-all” marketing strategy to save your business. The best thing you can do is invest in smarter processes and apply systems thinking approach to your marketing. Easier said than done. If you need some help to figure out what next step is right for you in your business, I’d be happy to work with you. Drop me a line or check out my consulting options to get started.