5 Essential Medical Marketing Strategies for 2015
New year, new marketing plan … right? Well, not necessarily. If you marketed your healthcare business in 2014, focusing on important areas such as content marketing, you won’t necessarily have to start from scratch. However, your strategies will probably need a few tweaks and updates to reflect the latest trends in healthcare marketing.
Experts predict that consumers will spend more money on healthcare services this year, in part because they previously delayed needed care due to the economic downturn. In other words, there are more potential patients out there in 2015, and you need to attract them to your practice using the most effective marketing strategies available.
Based on 2015 healthcare marketing trends, here are the top five most crucial strategies for marketing your brand online this year. These strategies range from developing more effective content marketing, to placing a greater emphasis on branding, to optimizing your website for a better mobile experience.
1. Make it snappy
“Bite-sized” content is a big trend healthcare marketing trend for 2015, with more healthcare marketers focusing on delivering short, snappy content. People have a limited amount of time for online content, and are already inundated with content from a multitude of sources. So, you need to get to the point with your content, and fast.
According to a blog post from healthcare marketing experts Smith and Jones on 2015 hospital marketing trends, most people won’t even scroll through a lengthy infographic anymore – healthcare marketers need to use images you can see in their entirety without scrolling/swiping.
In addition to (screen-optimized) infographics, some other examples of snack-sized content include brief videos (e.g., Vine videos). Photographs are another excellent form of short-form content; a picture, as they saying goes, says a thousand words, but the right picture can get a million likes.
Social media sites like Pinterest are great places to share “snack-sized” content like infographics, photos, and short videos.
If you do post a lengthier piece, such as a long article or white paper, make sure the content is broken up into digestible pieces using numbered lists and/or bullet points.
To be clear, quality is the most important attribute your content should have, regardless of its length, and long-form content marketing can also have a place in your content marketing strategy. But for videos and posts on social media, shorter is usually better.
For more ideas on how you can integrate your content and social media strategies, check out our blog post Social Media and Content Marketing for Doctors, 6 Ways You Can Dominate.
2. Build your brand
Brand building is another major trend for healthcare marketing in 2015. By putting even greater emphasis on building your brand (I say “greater” because I hope you already did some brand building in 2014), you are able to differentiate your practice in an increasingly saturated healthcare marketplace.
Once your business’s reputation is more established in your local market, prospective patients will be more inclined to choose you, and current patients will be more likely to stay with you. Brand building can be especially effective with multi-location practices.
Effective branding requires you to identify your unique selling proposition (USP), which is what sets your business apart from your competitors. What’s your brand’s trademark? What makes you different (and better) from all the rest? Once you know this, make it a key component of your marketing, so that people in the community you serve associate this advantage with your brand. Use it in your newsletters, website, direct mail, etc.
Having a catchy logo is also key to establishing the visual component of your brand and thus differentiating your practice from the sea of competitors. For instance, a chiropractor might include an image of a spine in their logo.
Content marketing, which I’ll cover more in depth in just a moment, is yet another essential way to establish your healthcare brand.
For more information on the topic of branding, read our blog post Why Should Customers Buy from You?
3. Make your patients feel good
Much of today’s healthcare content is “feel good” content. And there’s good reason for this. No one wants to read something or watch a video that makes them feel depressed. While health is an understandably uncomfortable topic for many people, healthcare providers and patients also have stories of inspirational recoveries. From both a marketing standpoint and a humanistic standpoint: these are the stories you want to tell.
An example of a healthcare provider that utilizes feel-good storytelling in their marketing is “Sharing Mayo Clinic,” the personal narrative area of the Mayo Clinic’s website. This site is where the clinic shares inspiring stories, always bringing the focus back to how Mayo connects with and supports their patients.
Besides inspiring readers and building your brand, uplifting content is also highly shareable, due to the strong emotions it evokes. That means this type of content has the potential to reach a lot of people. Whether it’s an inspirational video, an article, or a photo, find the humanity in the story and use it to connect with potential patients on a deeper level.
A few tips for feel-good content:
- Use real-life examples – For example, you can tell an inspiring story about an actual patient from your perspective as the provider, allow a patient to share their personal story in their own words, or include both the patient’s and your personal perspectives.
- Tell stories, not facts – According to Jennifer Aaker, marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, our brains are wired to remember stories, rather than cold, hard data.
- Use multiple media forms – A blog post is good, a video is better, but a combination of a blog post with a video (and photos as well) will make the greatest impact when it comes to this type of content marketing.
- Use social media – St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital is a great example of a healthcare provider posting feel-good content on social media. Every day, they publish photos and backstories of children and volunteers, posts which receive many thousands of likes, shares, and retweets.
4. Mobile-optimize your website
In 2015 your website, as well as your other content such as email newsletters, must absolutely be optimized for mobile devices. In fact, I will make the bold assertion that how your website looks on a mobile phone is even more important than how it looks on a computer.
According to Smith and Jones, 2.25 billion people around the world access the internet via their mobile phones, and one billion people this year will use mobile as their only form of internet access. As mentioned in a recent Titan Web Agency blog posts, more than 25 percent of mobile users are mobile-only – they never access the web from a desktop or laptop.
These numbers are becoming more pronounced every year, with an increasing number of people (i.e., patients) using their mobile devices to access the internet instead of a desktop or laptop. Considering these statistics, it’s essential that your healthcare site and content look great on mobile devices.
For healthcare providers in particular, it’s especially vital to have a mobile-friendly website, as people are turning to you for time-sensitive and sometimes emergency services. Patients need to be able to find your information quickly and contact you wherever they are, often when they’re away from their computer.
Depending on how mobile-friendly your current website is, you may need to have your healthcare website redesigned to provide a better mobile experience. While this may seem like a large endeavor, it is an integral investment that will more than pay for itself, as mobile users mean business (literally).
For more on the topic of optimizing your doctor website for mobile devices, check out our blog post Does a Dentist Need a Mobile Website?
5. Target content for your patients
Content marketing for medical professionals must be both targeted and relatable. You are marketing to a very specific group and your content should reflect the precise interests of your target group: your patients.
According to a Yahoo executive study cited by MediaPost, 78 percent of marketing executives believe that custom content is the future of marketing. While personalized content is a trend across all industries, it’s particularly relevant for highly personal fields such as healthcare.
This custom content should be timely, relatable, and helpful. Why’s this? Well, if the content is relevant to someone, the reader is so engaged that they may not even even recognize the content as marketing. Or if they do recognize it as an advertisement, they don’t even care. For example, Facebook ads have become so specific and targeted to individual users that most users don’t mind them and will often click through. It’s even easier to do get people to click on your website content, such as blog posts and articles, which are far less “ad-like” than Facebook advertisements.
Of course, you don’t have access to the advanced user algorithms and analytics that Facebook does. Nevertheless, is still possible – and essential – for you to create a targeted content strategy to forge strong connections with existing patients and potential patients alike.
First, you’ll need to identify your target audience – for example, people seeking dental services in St. George, Utah. From there, you’ll need to break that group down in to sub-groups and identify their shared interests. Website analysis tools such as Google Analytics are useful for such market research, and getting a consultation from a healthcare marketing expert can also help you identify your audience to develop a more targeted marketing strategy.
Need help? Be sure to read our blog post 3 Ways You Can Use Website Analytics to Succeed if you need more help, contact us for a custom consultation so we can help you identify your target audience and start building a plan to deliver customized content that this audience will relate and respond to.
Source: New feed