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The US B2B digital advertising spending grew by 32.5% from 2019 to 2020 to reach $8.68 billion, and by 2023, that figure is expected to climb to the $15 billion mark, according to a recent report.
There’s a reason digital advertising has grown so quickly over the last few years: it’s an effective way to reach almost any type of business customer or client. That’s especially true in B2B healthcare digital marketing, where prospects tend to look online for research.
While many healthcare SaaS and technology companies may be spending their time and resources on digital advertising, we often see many of them make critical mistakes that limit the performance of their ads. For optimum success, you need a strategy that governs how you create, distribute, and measure ads.
We talked to Brian Cauble, Partner and Digital Strategist for The Spot-On Agency, about the most typical healthcare advertising errors he sees when developing and executing healthcare advertising campaigns.
One of the distinguishing elements of purchasing in the healthcare software field is the regimented nature of the purchasing process. Since these purchases are typically approved at the system level, most organizations have defined a multi-level buying team to make the decision. “Sometimes, it's only two people, but other times it’s a buying team of eight people and there are 176 touch points over six months before they make a decision,” Cauble says.
Cauble recommends that marketers ask very specific questions about these buying teams prior to launching ad campaigns: Who are those specific people on the buying teams? (Is it the director of pharmacy? Is it the CFO of the company?) “It’s about understanding who you're trying to reach first and foremost,” Cauble says. He knows firsthand how valuable it is to spend time with clients to clearly understand what they know about their target market.
So whether you’re trying to reach a physician who owns a practice, an executive at a hospital system, or a medical office manager, your ads will be most effective when you have a distinct target for your healthcare advertising campaigns. One of the best ways to sharpen this understanding is to create one or more buyer personas and then use them to tailor your ad campaign strategy.
Many companies implementing healthcare digital marketing rely on software demonstrations as a key tool in their arsenal to convert leads. There’s nothing wrong with this approach: it’s important to have confidence in your offering — showing someone firsthand how you can address their pain points can be powerful.
But that doesn’t mean you should immediately try to set up a time to demonstrate your healthcare software to a prospect as soon as they express interest by signing up for an email list or filling out a contact form, Cauble cautions. It’s impossible to tell whether they are ready to purchase, and they’ll likely need to spend some more time learning about your solution before being ready to set up a meeting.
“How many times do you click on an ad and go, ‘You know what? I'm going to read for three minutes, then I'm going to spend $100,000?’” says Cauble. “It doesn't work like that—the truth is there's a small percentage of the people ready to demo your software immediately.”
This is especially true if you’re offering any kind of technology service or product in your healthcare digital marketing. According to Gartner, the average technology buyer takes over 16 months to complete a business purchase. Add in all the regulations and legal standards in the healthcare field, and it’s easy to see why it’s so important to give prospects plenty of value and time to move through the buyer’s journey.
If you give a healthcare software buyer time to move through the buyer’s journey, how do you keep them engaged enough to remember your company and think of you when they are ready to make a purchase?
This is where the magic of nurture funnels drives your healthcare digital marketing. Also known as nurture sequences or lead nurturing, these processes are vital for building trust with people who’ve recently discovered your brand and are learning how your offering can solve their problems. Nurturing is especially important for people who discover your brand via ads since it’s a less organic way of finding out about a potential vendor.
The process of nurturing leads begins almost immediately after they click on one of your ads. Leads should be directed to a customized landing page tailored specifically for them, directly related to the information they were presented in your original ad. From there, you might consider creating an email sequence that gets sent out over the next few weeks to help them learn more about your business.
Cauble says that landing pages can be problematic for healthcare marketers if they are not designed well. “Let's assume the ad is targeted well, and it's written well because they know how to speak to the prospects,” he explained. “But then it's sending them to the landing page without any focused action. If they're not requesting a demo or offering a case study or checklist to download, then the ads will not be effective.”
One of the best things about digital advertising in the healthcare industry is the amount of data generated. Social media platforms, search engines, and other applications offer a wealth of data about how your ads are performing, who is viewing them, and when they are being viewed and clicked.
The important thing to remember is that it’s not enough to track only the numbers on your ad campaigns: you have to track the right metrics to truly gauge whether your ads are successful, Cauble explains. For example, some marketers may point to a significant volume of traffic to their ad campaign landing pages as evidence that their ad is doing a great job attracting prospects. “We call those vanity metrics,” says Cauble. “They look good, but are they the right people?”
Without understanding how much of that traffic takes another step or converts into a genuine prospect, it’s tough to tell how successful your ad really is – it’s possible that an element of the ad is inadvertently attracting a different kind of audience that doesn’t have any interest in purchasing your offering. But even if your ads are attracting your target prospect, you need to dig deeper to find out what is actually happening. What actions are they taking? Where are they going after responding to an ad?
Understanding your ad campaign’s conversion rate is the first place to start when it comes to identifying metrics that really matter.
It’s not enough to put together an ad campaign to direct people to your website and hope that it attracts the right audience. Healthcare software buyers are discerning, well-educated, and pressed for time. There is plenty of success to be found with digital ads when you start with a well-crafted strategy. This is where an experienced healthcare software digital marketing agency really shines.
They can design an effective ad strategy and then help you complement it with a comprehensive marketing plan. Prospects also expect you to have helpful content and specific solutions to their unique professional challenges.
Looking for help managing all the elements of your digital ad strategy for healthcare software leads? Schedule a time to talk with one of Spot On’s expert team members. We’d love to help.
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