As far as digital marketing goes, the healthcare industry is fairly new to the concept of strategically driving visitors to a site. By “strategically,” we mean optimizing a site to receive non-branded traffic, which essentially consists of visitors who may not know an organization’s reputation or are simply not searching for a specific brand to find a solution. Of course, getting potential patients to the site is just the beginning; the ultimate goal is to obtain repeat and referral business from patients. Healthcare organizations can accomplish this by facilitating the completion of tasks, which in turn builds trust between the patient and brand.
Trust has become one of the most important commodities of a healthcare brand. Patients want to know a hospital or healthcare center has their best interest at heart, so they are turning to the web to find out if this is the case. Over 80 percent of Internet users have searched the web for healthcare information.
ALIGNING CONTENT WITH A PATIENT’S DESIRED OUTCOMES
According to Franklin Street’s 2016 Marketing Trends Report, patient journey mapping, online, is a critical element of successful healthcare marketing. By defining clear goals that encompass the entire online presence, a healthcare brand can maximize marketing efforts and consistently increase conversions.
Trust starts with consistency. The online presence is an extension of a healthcare company, so when current or potential patients visit a website, interact with the brand on social media channels and communicate through email, they expect the same positive experience they would encounter during a phone call or office visit. To earn trust, which then develops into strong relationships, an organization must ensure consistency of the brand’s tone. Healthcare professionals, ask yourself: Does your message speak down or talk up to your consumers? Are you using technical words or phrases your audience can’t understand? Or are you speaking to them in layman’s terms?
ATTRACT POTENTIAL PATIENTS
Healthcare organizations should already know how often their websites are being found in local and organic searches and how their sites stack up against competitors. Substantial content is necessary for a healthcare website, but if it isn’t even being found, the brand is missing out on helping potential patients and generating trust. To ensure a site attracts patients, healthcare organizations need to start with extensive keyword research. This process illuminates the terms the ideal audience is searching. From these lists of keywords, healthcare marketers can develop SEO-friendly content strategies that answer visitors’ questions in simple formats.
For a website to be an inbound marketing tool, it must capture leads. For example, getting visitors to opt into a monthly newsletter or a special healthcare tip guide is a great way to collect their contact information while simultaneously delivering quality information that will generate a sense of trust.
To collect this information, request visitors complete a form, before they can access content. Make sure proper fields are included and lead information is properly stored for future targeting. Fields to include are:
A healthcare organization’s marketing strategy should track how many and on which pages visitors are opting in. This illuminates which aspects are working and what needs tweaking for maximum success. The data received from tracking behavior patterns should then be applied to future efforts as well as shared among the organization’s service lines.
A marketing strategy should have clear steps on how to continue reaching out to prospective patients.
Are you sending them a follow-up email?
Do you touch base with them over the phone?
Have you invited a patient to participate in a webinar?
The method will vary depending on the reason each visitor submitted information; someone who signed up for a workshop may be receptive to a confirmation phone call. A new e-newsletter subscriber, however, would find that method of contact to be invasive. Trust, remember, is the foundation of a marketing strategy.
SPREAD THE WORD
Growing a healthcare company is as much about attracting new patients as it is about retaining current ones. Converting leads to sales is essential, but if a brand doesn’t put equal (or more) emphasis on keeping patients, it will be constantly struggling to stay relevant. By providing an exceptional patient experience and timely follow-up, a healthcare organization establish itself as a caring company that puts patients’ well-being first. In addition to maintaining a consistent flow of appointments, the brand will also benefit from word-of-mouth advocacy by satisfied patients.
ALWAYS BE IMRPOVING
Setting goals and tracking results allow for consistent evaluation of what’s working. What messaging on a website gets the most click-throughs? What emails have the best open rates? Which social media campaigns have the best traction? Equally, as important, what isn’t working? Adaptation is critical, which is why healthcare professionals must be prepared to constantly refine and tailor the website’s direction to meet patients’ needs and wants.
Evolve’s approach to healthcare marketing involves creating a strategy for growth, that is centered around a patient’s jobs to be done. It is based on meaningful metrics and informed keyword research. Check out the video summarizing how we build frameworks and strategies for healthcare brands.