In this week’s Smart Spot, we're sharing an interview between Susie Kelley and Dr. Arlen Meyers, professor of otolaryngology, ear, nose and throat surgery at the University of Colorado, as well as the President and Co-Founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.
Healthcare software company marketers frequently utilize content marketing as a tactic. Pay per click advertising is also common. However, much of the time, these two tactics are approached separately, in a silo. But what if these two tactics were approached together for maximum benefit?
Marketers have a tendency to position inbound and outbound marketing as an either/or proposition - and these days, inbound marketing is on a winning streak.
Healthcare is a notoriously conservative industry - no wonder, with lives literally on the line - but 2019 may be a tipping point for healthcare technology. New approaches - like telemedicine and virtual reality diagnostics - are becoming increasingly standard, and the global digital health market is predicted to reach $206 billion by 2020.
To get ahead in the healthcare software industry, you need to stand out from the crowd. While most companies these days are already promoting themselves on LinkedIn or Facebook, to really reach your audience, raise brand awareness, and attract leads for your software, you may need to put in a bit more effort to get results.
In 2018, everyone is talking about video marketing, social media marketing, user experience marketing, even AI marketing. So is blogging on its way out?
The answer is a resounding no. Blogging should be a key component of any solid healthcare SaaS marketing strategy. Here’s why.
Healthcare SaaS is a tough industry - the marketplace is crowded, the competitors have deep pockets, and the sales cycles are painfully slow. For some healthcare SaaS companies, the last thing on their mind is content marketing. Content marketing takes time and patience, and worse, it can be hard to link it to a direct impact on the bottom line. So why should you bother?
Marketing automation is one of the latest industry buzzwords - but what does it really mean for your healthcare software business? In this article, we’ll take a look at the best uses of marketing automation - and what to avoid.
There’s little doubt that building a SaaS business with closely aligned marketing and development is one of the secrets of success. This is especially the case in a complex industry like healthcare. Building a clear and consistent message, backed up by a product carefully designed to fit the needs of your niche; carefully communicating the value provided by the software, and understanding precisely how its value is delivered to the end user; describing the product in language that speaks to the customer - all this depends on close integration between product marketing and product development.
In the increasingly competitive environment of healthcare SaaS, making your brand stand out can be a serious headache. We’ve found that one of the most effective ways to help our healthcare software clients in areas like brand recognition and engagement, is a social media strategy.
There’s so much that is encompassed in search engine optimization, or SEO. For a healthcare software solutions provider, you already know how important it is to get your products or services just right for your customers and potential customers.
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.
Patients in 2018 are more empowered than ever before to make healthcare decisions. They conduct extensive research into healthcare providers before making a choice. They recommend providers to one another. They also feel quite comfortable switching providers: in fact, a study by the West Corporation found that 88% of patients would switch healthcare providers if not completely satisfied.
So, how can you stand out from the crowd?
Healthcare marketing trends are changing every year. It’s essential for marketers in healthcare IT to pay attention to the latest shifts in marketing trends to ensure they are reaching their audience using the appropriate content and channels.
So, what’s on the minds of marketers in the healthcare software industry?
It's easy to come to the conclusion that companies have different tactics for how they do business, manage their teams, and develop strategy based on their size and their revenue. Some companies, like Epic, openly acknowledge that they spend less time on their marketing strategy than others because they achieved "brandeur" and success early on.
Regardless of how successful or big or small your software company is, having a healthcare marketing strategy will take you much farther than having none at all.
Today, one of the biggest challenges for healthcare providers is to find an effective way to attract patients.
Fortunately, more healthcare marketing managers are becoming aware that inbound marketing may help them encourage patient engagement and nurture relationships.
Last week for our podcast we had the opportunity to speak with one of our main clients about how they tackle healthcare marketing in 2017 effectively. Jake Behnke is the Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for Surgical Information Systems, a healthcare IT company serving mid-sized surgical centers from the city of Atlanta.
Human interaction is irrelevant during the creation and programming of a new software product. Sure, water cooler chat involves relationships, but you're not out there mingling with the population at large.
It's a very different story once you're ready to launch and sell your product, and if you don't give the power to the people, healthcare software marketing attempts will fall very, very shy of intended projections.
Being a copycat is never a good idea, but it is always wise to analyze successful healthcare SaaS marketing teams to see how they do what they do. What tools are they using? Where do they go to learn about their target market? What strategies are they employing to nurture prospects and clients?
Did you know your target market's attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? Research from Microsoft Corporation found the average adult attention span in the year 2000 was 12-seconds, by 2013 it was only 8-seconds. Since goldfish have an attention span of about 9-seconds, they win!
They say many hands make light work, and they often result in better work. This is why modern healthcare marketing should take advantage of partnerships and alliances that facilitate better physician-patient engagement and improve healthcare outcomes.
Welcome to the brave new world of healthcare.
It's filled with increased competition, cost control measures, and mandates and regulations coming down from government commissions. And then there are the patients, who are all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and increasingly involved in making their own healthcare decisions.
In this new, modern world, healthcare marketing has never been more important. And that's why you're probably looking for a partner.
What do healthcare marketing and reduced hospital readmissions have in common? Communication.
Every dollar collected from patients is another dollar added to your already slim profit margins. Collecting those dollars is another matter.
Here are a few stats for you:
- More than 75% of consumers use the internet to pay bills, and almost as many say they prefer the option to pay medical bills online or via apps.
- Roughly 76% of consumers report being confused about their insurance coverage as well as the medical bills they receive in the mail.
- In 2015, 74% of healthcare providers saw a decrease in insurance coverage (largely due to high-deductible plans) and an increase in patient-owed bills.
Those facts can serve as a guide of sorts as you structure information- and education-based content in a more relevant and applicable way.
(Insert sweet, instrumental music with slow-motion montage of smiling, be-scrubbed healthcare professionals dancing in a sea of checks. Then, a smooth voiceover begins...)
"Imagine a world where all patients paid their bills on time..."
We know, there's no imagination powerful enough to envision a world where all bills were paid on time. However, the advent of patient portals has certainly provided opportunities for more patients to submit payments in a timely fashion.
Hospitals and medical facilities are devoted primarily to the care of their patients—but cost is certainly a secondary priority. If your facility can't stay in the black, the ability to provide quality care diminishes, and this has a disastrous effect on attracting new patients and clients.
Marketing. It's part art, part science. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. And it's a necessity for healthcare organizations.
Yes, if you want to build a bigger, better business, you're going to need to market yourself, your company, and your products and services.
Behold the unbridled power of the well-populated healthcare marketing database. It provides information about businesses and industries, access to decision makers, and the ability to significantly shorten the sales process. Yes, a healthcare marketing database can be the bedrock on which your inbound marketing strategy is built. It allows you to know with precision whether your tactics are working or not – and then make smart decisions about how to enhance them.
That is, if it includes precise information about high-value prospects harvested directly from their LinkedIn accounts.
If 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.
Remember the newsletter? Printed and mailed on a monthly basis. Then bimonthly. Now quarterly. It's filled with useful information – clinic hours, new hires, and maybe a feature story about a new service. And then there's the canned content that you were forced to purchase because you simply didn't have enough time to pull together enough content to fill last quarter's newsletter... which serves as a reminder that the next one is right around the corner, so you'd better get busy.
If you only think about your healthcare newsletter once a quarter (and always at the last minute), your audience is probably thinking about it even less often.
This begs the question: When it comes to healthcare marketing, is your healthcare newsletter even worth all the effort?
Methodical inbound marketing is the foundation of successful medical practice marketing. It takes a trickle of website visits and turns them into a stream of qualified leads. Professional referral marketing, however, is the wellspring to tap if you want to unleash the Niagara Falls of new patients and clients.
There’s always a new development, event, or update in the world of healthcare. For those who work in healthcare marketing, it’s crucial to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s unfolding.
But what about your customers? Why is it necessary to keep them up-to-date when access to current events is easier than ever?
Three words come up repeatedly in regards to content creation: original, authoritative, and trustworthy. The first two are rather straightforward, requiring professional writers who are armed with the research, facts, and relevant news to support the content they create. Trustworthiness, though? Hmm. That part can be more elusive.
The idea of creating marketing personas sounds great, but the process itself can be pretty time consuming. It requires digging into the nitty-gritty details about the clients you have now as well as the types of clients you hope to gain in the future. The complexity of that task is daunting and can cause healthcare marketing teams to wonder if taking the time and energy to create detailed personas is really that necessary.
You have big goals for your healthcare marketing campaign. From engagement to personalization, you’re setting your sights high, and the sky’s the limit. A set of high-reaching goals is the ideal place to begin a successful healthcare marketing campaign.
Online marketing has certainly changed the nature of many industries, the healthcare industry being no exception. With the plethora of health-related content online, it's difficult to remember a time when we didn't reach first for our smartphones when looking for medical information.
If there’s one industry in marketing that’s changing at a rapid pace, it’s healthcare. Between more choices for patients and the growing use of online reviews, the world of healthcare itself looks very different than it did just a decade ago.
Perhaps the biggest change of all is the increased emphasis on patient-centric practices and care. Healthcare marketers can use this change to their advantage by developing campaigns that draw consumers in naturally. Inbound marketing does just that, bringing in 54 percent more leads than traditional marketing tactics do.
Healthcare is a funny thing. Few of us graduate high school or finish our degrees well-versed in the topic, yet all of us need to understand the core aspects of the industry to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
Few would disagree that healthcare can seem complicated and sometimes frustrating to those outside the field (and perhaps to many on the inside as well). This means that anyone who works in healthcare marketing has the obstacle of confusion to overcome.
"Medical practice marketers"... the phrase itself sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn't it?
The type of person who pursues marketing as a profession is typically creative – a "big picture" thinker, a "words" person, or what we often talk about as being "right-brained." Typically, science and math weren't their favorite subjects in school.
Then there are the doctors and physicians – the "subject experts." These medical practice pros are typically thought of as logical, linear, math-and-science-types. They think more on the micro-level and are decidedly left-brained. In other words, the strengths and talents of the former are not necessarily shared by the latter, and vice versa.
In today's tech-savvy culture, it seems that everyone with an ailment quickly clicks on their web browser even before calling their primary care provider. It's official: the game has changed.
Evaluating current statistics connecting headlines and SEO punch, you'd think a catchy headline is all you need to increase medical website marketing numbers. For example, MOZ cites that 80% of readers never make it past headlines and that if a headline resonates with a reader, it can increase website traffic by 500%.
Do you have a regular business you frequent in your hometown? Perhaps it's a restaurant where the waitress knew your parents and now asks about your kids. Maybe it's a bakery or coffee shop where the person behind the counter has your favorite pastry or coffee drink on the countertop when you arrive at the register. These gestures are thoughtful and meaningful ways to say, "I see you, I know you, and I want to honor our relationship." Healthcare marketing requires that same level of attention to personal detail and, when you succeed, it will always give you the competitive edge.
Is your healthcare practice like a regular Johnny-on-the-Spot, happily finding and fixing anything that isn't in compliance? Or, are you more like ostriches, "pretty sure" things are up-to-par and dreading when you'll have to raise those heads from the sand to put your beaks - or noses - to the grindstone in time to meet upcoming compliance deadlines?
The MedTech Marketing arena has evolved over the years and like so many other industries is facing the transition from offline, outbound marketing practices of the past to the online practices of the here-and-now.
You have poured time and resources into your healthcare marketing – yet your phone still isn’t ringing? The problem might be tied to four common tactical “failures,” all of which can, fortunately, be addressed with inbound marketing strategy.
Social media is big. How big, exactly? As of January 2014, almost three out of every four Americans on the Internet use social networking sites. In the healthcare world, social media networks are especially important. Over 40% of consumers report that information they find on social media networks will have an impact on the way that they address their health.
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.
Just as the digital revolution has changed the way consumers purchase goods and services, it’s also changing the way people seek out healthcare information – including finding medical professionals.
If your practice is still tied to traditional (and fading) “outbound” marketing tactics, like direct mail, outdoor boards and Yellow Pages, you could be missing out on valuable new leads. Consider these findings from a 2014 healthcare marketing whitepaper published by Smith & Jones:
You encourage patients to get regular check-ups – why not provide the same service for your healthcare marketing campaign?
If your marketing is tied to “outbound” methods like display ads, direct mail, radio or Yellow Pages, it’s time to take the pulse of your tactics. As any SEO company (and thousands of successful businesses) will tell you, inbound marketing is the ideal strategy to attract patients where they now live … online.
We all grew up with an impression of how advertising worked. A Madison Avenue creative type (think Darrin from “Bewitched” or “Mad Men” icon Don Draper) drew some stick figures and wrote some headlines, presented it to a client complete with cheesy pitchman and accompanying product packaging, ta da – a winning campaign was born!
If your healthcare facility is engaged in care for patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid you are likely feeling the pressure of the looming deadlines associated with Meaningful Use Standards. The clock is ticking the loudest in the ears of healthcare management professionals where patient records management is still heavily achieved with paper-based record keeping methods.
Like us on Facebook! If you’ve visited any company or organization’s website or blog in the past couple of years, you’ve seen that plea.
Every business wants to be liked on Facebook – for now, at least – because adults have overtaken teens and college students as the social giant’s biggest audience. There’s a lot of potential revenue tied to getting your social pages seen, liked and shared.
Healthcare marketing is one of the more challenging facets of managing a healthcare practice when you consider how quickly things in the marketing world change. It is widely accepted that the best way for today's healthcare practices to gain clients is through inbound healthcare marketing on the Internet, but this is an unfamiliar landscape for many healthcare professionals. To help you better understand how it can help your practice or medical facility, you must understand why it is effective and how each step in the process works.
Healthcare organizations need to market their brand and capabilities in a very unique way if they wish to succeed. Fortunately for those in the healthcare sector, there are more ways than ever for medical practices and healthcare professionals to grow their presence through the web. Healthcare marketing online can be done in several ways during the spring season if you want to bring in more patients.
Your healthcare advertising and marketing campaign needs a place to live. So why not think of it as a house?
The foundation of your healthcare marketing effort is in your overall messaging on your website. Just as you wouldn’t build a house on a shaky foundation made up of obsolete materials, you wouldn’t populate your site with messages and design that no longer work in today’s online environment.
Marketing is a field where trends and best practices are always shifting. For those operating in the healthcare marketing arena (and of course many other professions), web marketing represents the most attractive avenue available to help boost the profile and in turn, the bottom line, of a medically focused business. So why do so many healthcare marketing efforts end up losing return on investment (ROI) in the online arena?
Your healthcare marketing is in a state of transition – from yesterday’s “outbound” methods (direct mail, display ads, Yellow Pages) to today’s inbound marketing strategies designed to align with the web-surfing habits of your current and prospective patients.
At the heart of inbound marketing is content: those blogs, white papers, videos and articles that attract attention and build credibility. Producing that great content (and avoiding the pitfalls) is a process that demands attention and detail. But that same content is now what people expect, and search for, online.
First things first
It is no secret that in the modern world, inbound tactics on the Internet are at the head of the class when it comes to healthcare marketing. Any healthcare office that wants to make the transition away from traditional outbound marketing like billboards, television commercials, or direct mail might not immediately know what to expect. When your practice decides to transition to inbound healthcare marketing, there are a few things to understand to ease the difficulty of this adjustment.
There are many things said about online healthcare marketing, but one thing no one has ever called it is easy. Modern healthcare professionals are focused on inbound marketing, which differs from traditional outbound techniques often employed by marketers in the past. Many medical offices encounter a variety of challenges, both when they begin establishing online marketing campaigns and when they go to tweak or change them. Here are three of the most common issues encountered by healthcare professionals as they make efforts to establish and maintain a successful inbound healthcare marketing campaign through the web.
Creating Marketing Content With Poor Or Insufficient Strategy
It is true that content is key for successful healthcare marketing, but it is important that you put some thought behind the content that you place on your web site. A common mistake made by many healthcare marketers today is placing the emphasis on taking something from customers: traditional outbound marketing like television advertisements or cold calling requires patients to give something, whether it is their time or money.
With inbound healthcare marketing, your focus should be on giving something to your target audience. You need to find out what your prospective patients care about and try to provide resources that address their needs before you ask for something in return from them. Blogs, social media updates, and email newsletters are all appropriate channels on which to provide this information.
If you've been slow to incorporate Facebook into your healthcare advertising plan, you're not alone. Just as the healthcare industry has been slow to embrace digital content marketing in general, medical marketing professionals have lagged behind in the trend toward social media marketing. However, if you're following the crowd in this arena, you're missing an important opportunity to reach prospective patients.
Facebook’s recent announcement that it was adjusting its algorithm to flag certain memes from appearing in News Feeds became something of a news story itself. Web pundits were quick to comment on the social giant’s intrusion into the unfettered free exchange of content, but in reality Facebook applies many standards to its pages.
Because your healthcare marketing is tied to inbound marketing -- including social media like Facebook -- the development is one worth noting.
What is a meme?
When it comes to healthcare marketing, getting found online is a key goal, and social media is a powerful force. Why? Simply, that’s where the people are.
Your patients are probably looking at their social networks right now, and health topics are a key attraction. Just look at the Affordable Care Act. No matter what side of the argument you’re on, opinions abound through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. People are not just comfortable using social media to think about health, they’ve made it a daily habit.
If you're sticking with tradition, advertising in the yellow pages may be a stock feature in your dental marketing plan. Yellow page advertising is appealing, too, because it requires very little effort. You design your ad, pay your money and then the advertisement generates business (or doesn't), for a year. But, have you assessed the return on that investment recently?
Healthcare marketing and web design go hand-in-hand. You can compel potential clients to your website but if your website doesn't look professional and content is difficult to find, customers won’t stay. What good is having a website if no one knows you’re there, and the few visitors you have can’t figure out how to use it? This is a problem with many websites, particularly if they are designed with more of an online brochure type of structure.
Website design does not have to include a complex blueprint, but it does require a plan. The planning stage is often ignored or doesn't use any long term strategy. More than half of published websites just don't have enough substance to capture the attention of site visitors for any useful amount of time. Site design should be a large part of your healthcare marketing strategy since it provides a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with people before they even engage your services. In the medical arena, establishing trust early on can have substantial impact on whether someone chooses you for their healthcare needs and a website that anticipates their concerns is a great way to build trust.
Undoubtedly, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has placed healthcare front and center prompting companies to hurriedly shift healthcare marketing efforts to address the concerns of patients and potential new patients. A great place to start is in crafting a sound inbound marketing strategy given that so much attention surrounding the law is directing people to Internet tools and resources.
Creating Vision, Mission and Values (VMV) statements may sound “corporate,” but they actually provide benefits to your staff and your patients and can boost your healthcare marketing efforts.
In today's crowded online marketplace, establishing and maintaining a trustworthy identity is vital to gaining valuable Google page rank. No longer tied to simply keywords, Google now looks at a business' content in a more holistic way. The search engine rewards pages that express value and credibility. A set of well-crafted VMV statements can help.
A new conversation is about to arise in healthcare advertising and marketing – and your practice needs to be ready for it.
That’s the gist of the recent developments by Google, still the undisputed leader in search engines.
“Gone are the days,” says Dental Products Report, “of seeing patients once, maybe twice, a year.”
Instead, today’s patients expect more engagement from their healthcare providers, even when they’re not sick. Younger people live on their mobile devices, and older people are increasingly more comfortable using email and Internet regularly.
In the real world, healthcare advertising is about building trust and portraying yourself as a professional healthcare services provider that people can rely on -- why should it be different in the cyber world? Internet marketing, with all its numbers and methodologies, is understandably intimidating to business owners or marketers who specialize in fields such as law or healthcare. What would a healthcare practitioner know about analytics, PageRank, inbound marketing, and social intelligence anyway?
Social Media. It’s the buzzword that just won’t go away. Businesses, marketers, moms, grandparents and teens are flocking to forums like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Just how much time are they spending there? Research shows in the United States, people are on Facebook more time each day than six of the nation’s leading news sites combined. And that’s just on Facebook.
So, should healthcare marketing plans include Social Media? Yes.To not include it would be like an ostrich burying its head in the sand.