We’ve come a long way from doctors making house calls in their starched white long coats and their black medical bags. Now, consumers are doing their own in-home diagnosis by searching online despite recommendations to seek medical advice from traditional sources. Before many patients will connect with healthcare facilities, they’ve already searched for symptoms and information.
This unprecedented access to information means consumers may be better informed when they do talk to healthcare professionals, but they can just as easily be misinformed. There’s a lot of bad info floating around on the internet. This is one of the reasons why the medical industry is so heavily regulated by government officials and marketing platforms alike.
Shouldn’t the consumer be getting high-quality medical information from a trusted source? So why is it that so many healthcare providers shy away from putting credible information online or marketing their services?
The Challenges In Healthcare Marketing
One of the major healthcare marketing trends is to create high-value content. It represents an opportunity to educate and market at the same time.
There are three big stumbling blocks typically cited as to why healthcare providers are limiting their marketing:
- Concerns over compliance
- Content Creation
Many healthcare providers avoid the red tape that goes along with content creation. Not creating that content misses out on significant opportunities, however. It’s a chance to educate consumers and establish your organization as a trust-worthy source. In a highly-competitive field, you are missing the opportunity to market.
Creating health-related content does take diligence. Legal compliance limits medical advice due to liability concerns.
SOLUTION: Stay away from anything that appears as a diagnosis. Stick to the facts and include citations from trusted sources.
Using SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) is a powerful tool. It engenders trust and showcases your brand in an authoritative way. Doctors, technicians, or medical industry specialists are busy. They rarely have time to contribute deep content topics for community education, public relations, or content creation.
SOLUTION: Create a culture and process to collect industry feedback. This might include surveys, monthly meetings, and other scheduled initiatives to create a routing process to gather information that can be used to create content. Short Q&A sessions can be an effective way to gather information without being time-consuming.
Challenge: Content Creation
When medical professionals think about content creation, they often think about research papers and articles for industry trade journals. The reality is that there is already too much high-level content focusing on outcomes. There’s a lack of content about awareness to basic health concerns, solutions, and available services. This represents an opportunity to bring awareness to a new way of doing things.
SOLUTION: Create a schedule for regular content creation and distribution. Look for opportunities to tie into topical events. Consider using a healthcare marketing agency to help with content creation and generating awareness from new prospects.
Healthcare Marketing Trends
Organizations often have a wealth of case studies, testimonials, and other supporting high-level documents. However, they lack strong content and initiatives to bring awareness from new audiences at the start of the buyer journey. It’s crucial to develop these materials for all stages of the consumer decision-making process.
Manage Your Online Presence
It’s not good enough to have a website.
People search for healthcare providers in a variety of ways. More than 80 percent of Americans (93 million) have searched for healthcare information online. They aren’t coming directly to your website in most cases. They are starting with a search engine, such as Google, and then clicking on links to high-authority websites or directories, such as HealthGrades, RateMDs, or Vitals. Make sure your listings are accurate and comprehensive on these directory sites and your website employs SEO techniques to show in relevant searches.
Consumers are paying more attention to reviews than ever before. It’s important to solicit satisfied patients to post reviews. Many healthcare organizations are offering small incentives to patients that post reviews. 74% of people report they have gone online to research a doctor, dentist, or medical professional. Nearly 70% (69.9%) say positive online reputation to be very or extremely important.
Create educational and informational content to catch people as they begin their research. It should include information about the services and the unique value proposition you offer as they begin to make decisions about where to go for healthcare. You need supporting subject matter content, such as eBooks, Case Studies, or White Papers. These are most effective as “gated offers” requiring emails to access. This generates new email lists and lead lists for further nurturing.
ChatBots And TeleMedicine
People are now used to getting almost instantaneous answers to their questions. Growing healthcare marketing trends include adding Chatbots and Video Appointments into your digital marketing strategy. Chatbots works 24/7 and can help with basic inquiries, such as scheduling appointments or requesting medication refills. Video appointments are growing in popularity. Already, half the hospital in the U.S. offer telemedicine and two-thirds of patients say they would welcome the use. These can become significant marketing advantages.
For years, advertising medical practitioners was seen in a negative light. That’s no longer the case. Social media ads, targeted web ads, TV, and radio can all be effective when presented along with credible information.
Take the time to understand your target consumer and commonalities. Advertising can now be targeted very specifically at niche demographic groups that align with your target consumers. This allows your marketing spend to be more efficient by targeting the people most likely to respond to your marketing messages.
A Healthcare Marketing Strategy
Developing a consistent healthcare marketing strategy can quickly set you apart from any competitors and move your organization ahead. Only a small percentage of organizations will create a marketing strategy and stick to it.
The healthcare industries are strongly regulated for liability and compliance. You need to pay particular attention to these factors. Don’t let them deter you, however, from effectively marketing your healthcare organization. While others are timid about marketing, this creates an opportunity to move past the normal and create exceptional results. The ultimate challenge is building in these processes and working to accelerate content marketing and inbound marketing efforts.
Selecting a knowledgeable and experienced healthcare marketing agency as a partner to guide you through this process and help you get past these common objections. The ideal agency would understand these core challenges, be ahead of the curve on the latest tactics, and work closely with your team to improve inbound leads.