Software developed specifically for healthcare is an increasingly crowded market, dominated by heavyweights with huge marketing budgets. In this daunting industry, it can feel impossible to stand out from the rest. But with the right marketing strategy in place, even smaller healthcare software companies can attract their audience.
There are four common misconceptions about marketing healthcare software that we come across time and again.
1. Inbound marketing isn’t just for big business.
In fact, the opposite is true - inbound marketing delivers more bang for your marketing buck. HubSpot reports that inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound leads.
So, what is inbound marketing? In a nutshell, inbound marketing is about attracting people to your business by creating useful content on the subjects most relevant to your niche. Instead of paying through the nose for advertising space or sending out flyers which potential customers have learned to ignore, inbound marketing helps the people most likely to benefit from your software to find you. For smaller healthcare software companies, an inbound strategy can be a more cost-effective and efficient way to connect with your niche and establish yourself as an industry expert.
In the words of one of our clients at Surgical Information Systems, a healthcare software company:
“From a marketing perspective, I think the general inbound methodology can be applied to any size business. I think the trick is and especially with what we do at SIS is, one: we understand why we do things, how we do them, and who we do them for. We understand that we aren’t those industry heavyweights and we are filling a much different niche and a much different market.”
2. Buyer personas aren’t just for marketing agencies.
There can be a perception that some of the more “touchy-feely” aspects of marketing strategy, such as creating buyer personas, are only for creatives in advertising agencies - something “nice to have” but not relevant to creating a practical marketing strategy.
In fact, a strong understanding of who is buying your software, and why, is fundamental to growing your business. This is, even more, the case when marketing B2B (business-to-business) software. To be effective, your marketing strategy must be built around the idea that you need to attract both the end user and the buyer. Well-defined buyer personas (fictionalized versions of your “ideal” customer, including traits, needs, online behavior, and so on) are an invaluable way to keep your marketing efforts on target and to the point.
If you’re unsure about how to really pin down your buyer personas and make them work for you, we’ve put together a detailed guide to get you started.
3. Content marketing is not just for B2C.
There is still a common perception that content marketing doesn’t work for B2B marketing. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Software buyers are carrying out in-depth online research before making buying decisions, just like any other customer.
In fact, in the world of healthcare software, content marketing can be even more crucial. Clients are particularly careful to research online when choosing such a potentially high-impact product; your online presence is critical to convincing decision-makers that they are in safe hands with you.
Creating a content marketing strategy means more than creating great quality content. You also need to make sure you’re getting the most value out of your content by harnessing the power of social media.
On the one hand, Google algorithms now favor long-form content (think longer blog posts, 700+ word articles, detailed tutorials, eBooks, and white papers). On the other hand, attention spans are getting shorter: a somewhat depressing Microsoft study found that we lose concentration after just 8 seconds. (By comparison, a goldfish has a 9-second attention span.)
Our recommendation is to create high-quality original content but promote it in small chunks using social media channels where your buyers spend time, such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
4. Sometimes, the best way to get new users is to delight the ones you already have.
Regardless of what you’re selling, word of mouth is still the most effective marketing there is. Delighted users tend to talk - think forum posts, online review sites, and face-to-face recommendations to peers in other organizations. This isn’t just a question of creating great software - your marketing team should be getting in on the game too and focusing some of their efforts on keeping existing users happy. After all, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that it is up to seven times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
So, what does a customer-focused marketing strategy look like for healthcare software?
- Treat users like human beings. That can mean connecting via social media and creating highly targeted, personalized user content. It could be making sure you're practicing "social listening" - keeping a close eye on your social channels and responding to negative feedback and comments immediately. It could even be as simple as remembering to say “thank you” to loyal customers - think special offers, discounts, or increased access to support for long-standing users.
- Keep an eye on the UX of your website. Klein and Partners found that a worrying 11% of healthcare provider websites were creating “new, negative feelings” about their brand - make sure you don’t follow in their footsteps. Other than your software, your website is the main way your users will interact with your brand, so take steps to make sure that the experience is smooth, enjoyable - and of course, mobile-friendly! Keep a close watch on your web user analytics and consider using a UX tool like Hotjar or Crazy Egg to make sure your website reflects the same high quality you’ve built into your products.
- Ask for feedback. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs estimates that for every user who complains, there are 26 who haven’t bothered to share their dissatisfaction. Ask your users for feedback as often as you can without becoming irritating! Listen carefully and react quickly to feedback and you’ll keep your users coming back for more.
- Go above and beyond on customer service. This is just common sense, but it’s easier said than done, especially if you’re a small company with limited time and resources. Nevertheless, delivering consistently exceptional customer service may be the most important thing you can do for your bottom line. Failing to take care of your existing customers may not only cost you those customers, but all the other potential prospects they complain about you to. Review sites are a power to be reckoned with for all SaaS products - keep your customers raving about you and you’ll never be short of new business.
If you’re in need of marketing support, we’d love to help out. Schedule a 30-minute chat with Spot On to learn more about how we develop and implement killer healthcare software marketing strategies.