With the growth of the healthcare in general, the position of healthcare manager is also poised to rise – up to 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether you manage a facility, the people in it or both, as a manager you are likely to be seen as the authority on growing the business, and that includes a strong focus on sales and marketing.
Today, when we talk about healthcare marketing, we’re really talking about inbound marketing (some might be calling it content marketing). It only makes sense – the decline of traditional “outbound” marketing, like direct mail, Yellow Pages and outdoor boards aligns with the rapid rise of online interest and, of course, the explosion of mobile devices that let people take their information anywhere. Because of this shift there is more pressure to find a path that has a direct, measurable impact on sales, an actual increase in revenue generation since it is no longer possible to simply throw advertising dollars at some specific channels and automatically see revenue goals met.
Bridging the gap that commonly exists between marketing messaging, the more emotionally driven side of health related businesses and a direct impact on sales, the plain fact that there are revenue goals that must be met, has its roots in understanding the changes. How people now use the Internet as the first, and often only, source of information on health needs and that it now directly impacts their decision on where they might go for treatment.
Prospective patients post their questions to friends on social media.
They Google for information, using keywords tied to their most pressing concerns.
They want control of their communications with health providers, including having access through web, texting, and other around-the-clock channels.
Today’s patients respond to informative blogs, videos, articles, infographics and podcasts that are at the heart of inbound marketing. Being a successful content publisher raises your profile online and, just as important, establishes your practice as trustworthy and experienced.
How do healthcare managers build the path between marketing messaging and revenue growth?
COMMIT TO IT. Top-down management systems demonstrate to employees and patients that you are committed to inbound marketing and expect that same level of commitment from others. You can enlist specialists in your own office to talk about their areas of expertise, cover the latest health trends or simply create Top 10 lists of medical info of interest to your target audience.
GET A PARTNER. For most medical managers, blogging and other content creation are not part of the daily “to do” list. Learning what your online needs are will help you wisely choose outsource partners to help you set things in place and generate the necessary content to impact your bottom line. Understanding what's needed is paramount to success because not everyone is up to speed with these new marketing strategies and choosing the wrong partnerships could have you following outdated practices that do more harm than good.
MAKE IT PUBLIC. Inbound marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum and has a lot to do with consumer expectations of transparency. Promote your social sites, content and special offers to your audience and encourage them to share information (that complies with HIPAA regulations, of course). Put yourself out there, too. As a manager, you can be a valuable resource to others’ content marketing. Part of your content mix should involve the creation of content bylined by you – which serves to make you more recognizable and your facility’s website easier to get found online. By doing all you can to attract people to your content you create a direct channel for generating sales qualified leads - people who trust you enough to become a patient of your facility.
There’s no time like now to go to work on the gap between marketing efforts and solid measurable business results with inbound marketing. Since it requires a foundation you're likely already behind some of your competition who are already generating the content that generates new patients. Start now by learning how to generate the right kind of content, engage people online, and build a natural path that nurtures them to become patients.