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The Pros and Cons of External Marketing for Healthcare

The Pros and Cons of External Marketing for HealthcareIf you're studying the ins-and-outs of healthcare marketing, you know inbound marketing is where it's at. Since the large majority of your patients use smartphones and other gadgets to find you or check up on you, it makes sense that a significant amount of marketing energy should be focused on inbound practices that pave the way for patients to come looking for you.

Even so, while inbound marketing provides collectively better results than external marketing tactics, a recent MOZ consumer survey revealed that the attention of more than half the consumer population is still grabbed by traditional marketing (aka "external") methods. Also, Nielsen found that successful radio spots (also "external") are excellent for driving brick-and-mortar traffic – just the kind your healthcare practice is looking for.

External Marketing isn't Dead; It's Just Different

Those who drink the inbound healthcare marketing Kool-Aid often imply that external marketing is dead when, in fact, it's just very different. Brochures, local magazine ads, radio spots, and guest speaking engagements – all examples of external marketing – still hold a special spot in the marketing toolbox.

The key is to make sure they faithfully circle back to your inbound marketing campaigns, so you always expose yourself to the largest share of the prospective market.

Pros and Cons of External Healthcare Marketing Strategies

Here are some pros and cons associated with external marketing:

  • Pro: Reaches a Broader Audience
    When you pay for a radio spot or advertise in a local magazine, your ad is heard/seen by the host entity's consumer population. Thus, you have the chance of hooking clients your inbound SEO campaigns might have missed.

  • Con: Your Target Personas May Not Be a Part of That Audience
    Your material can be lost on the wrong persona, or may be missed altogether by your ideal persona, who may or may not listen to the radio or read that particular magazine. Another niche? Those who don't use the internet. According to Pew, 15% of Americans don't use the internet often at all. In that case, external marketing is your only hope for that small – but noteworthy – internet-free population, constituted predominantly by seniors, the poor, and minority ethnicities, races, and communities.

  • Pro: Messages Will Reach the Older Generation
    Unsurprisingly, the older generation is the least likely to use the internet. Pew finds that almost 4 in 10 adults 65 years or older do not use the internet at all. Since a good chunk of that percentage are Baby Boomers, a population that requires increased healthcare services, this statistic is worth noting. Outbound marketing will continue to be your best bet in order to reach this demographic over the next decade or two, until more tech-savvy generations begin to fill in the gap Boomers leave behind.

  • Con: Lots of Boomers are Tech-Savvy
    That being said, that leaves 60% of the Boomer generation online and searching for your well-written content. Boomers are a prime example of why it makes sense to use a mix of both external and inbound marketing materials. While a notable portion of seniors won't pay attention to online information or social medial posts, the large majority of them are already Googling to find healthcare providers like you.

  • Con: External Marketing is More Expensive
    There's no "Pro" for this one. The cost-per-1000-impressions (cost-per-mille, or CPM) of external marketing is significantly greater than that of inbound marketing. For a comparison, the cost of outbound advertising has a CPM between $10 and $34, while the CPM for most inbound advertising falls between $1.54 and $10.00.

Unite External and Internal Marketing Methodologies

What's the solution? Use external marketing to gain a visible presence where that particular media counts most. Then, tie it back to your website and social media posts (and vice versa) wherever you can. That way, the cycle promotes itself, and you're much more likely to benefit from a marketing ROI that makes you – and the boss – happy.

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