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!
The physicians and healthcare facilities you work to attract have specific methods for assessing patient health. The basics include things like pulse rate and blood pressure, and the way the blood sounds as it moves through the heart with each beat. They augment these basics with additional tests evaluating cholesterol and blood sugar, or vitamin/mineral concentrations indicating a potential deficiency or latent medical condition.
Healthcare software exists in a state of oxymoron; Healthcare is seen as very human, digital software less so. Similarly, the people who create phenomenal software are often introverts who prefer to keep to themselves or within very small circles. That can make it difficult to approach healthcare SaaS marketing with the very extroverted sales strategies required by marketing and sales.
Every day, professionals inquire about modern healthcare marketing strategies in hopes of attracting leads and growing their customer base.
There's a dearth of information available on how to develop your brand; you want to be unique, memorable, engaging, distinguished and associated with positive recognition. Those are certainly goals worth striving for.
However, healthcare marketing is doubly successful when brand development flips upside down. Instead of focusing on the effect you want your brand to have on others, direct intentions towards deciphering what others want from your brand.
To better understand ROI in healthcare marketing, start with this analogy …
You own a candy store. Sales have been slow, so you run a coupon promotion – 20 percent off regular prices. You blast the coupon to the widest possible audience, and sure enough, people flock into the store to stock up on candy. You’re losing some profit margin because you undercut your prices, but hey – the coupon brought in new customers, and they’re sure to return in droves, right? So you hastily buy more stock and wait for the influx.
Modern healthcare marketing demands that you are just that - Modern. In the midst of the great SEO and inbound marketing strategies marketers employ, they must also keep up with the mobile era. Separate from texting and searching, consumers love their mobile phone apps.
Most healthcare marketing blogs focus on the relationship between CRM systems and profit. There's nothing wrong with this. Even the most heartfelt and patient-centric healthcare providers require a profit in order to do their jobs.
While patient health is a top priority, healthy patient relationships should certainly be a close second because, in full-disclosure, we believe healthy relationships between patients and providers will, ultimately, yield higher profits.
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.
How much potential does your patient portal hold?
Is it a panacea for all things that stand in the way of profits, an elixir guaranteed to deliver ever-increasing efficiency as well as a steady stream of patients pouring through your doors? Or is it simply a mandated method of exhibiting meaningful use?
What good is a portal without a patient?
That's the question healthcare providers are asking themselves after investing a lot of time, effort and resources into developing their patient portals.
At the core of high-quality healthcare is high-quality human relationships. In order for sustainable listening, understanding, and healing to take place, patients have to trust their healthcare team. They may not need to love them - although that's certainly a major bonus - but they do need to trust that they're in the best of hands.
Anyone working in the healthcare industry is well-acquainted with the emphasis placed on two very important, cost-related entities: hospital readmission rates and patient length of stay (LOS). Above and beyond patient care and well-being, both have a significant effect on a healthcare facility's bottom line.
Recently, we posted a blog making a connection between healthcare marketing and billing efficiency. It began, "Imagine a world where where all patients paid their bills on time."
This post could just as easily begin, "Imagine a world where every patient understood their healthcare coverage."
What do healthcare marketing and reduced hospital readmissions have in common? Communication.
Your primary goal is to provide high-quality patient care, but you can't do that without making a profit. A profitable healthcare facility has the ability to better compensate dedicated staff, expand patient services and perhaps even provide sliding scale payment options for households struggling to make ends meet.
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.
Patient portals are touted as a modern software miracle. The statistics say portals increase patient engagement, communication/education between doctors and patients, on-time payments and overall patient outcomes. Simultaneously, optimized patient portals reduce patient length of stay (LOS) and readmissions rates.
Any time spent reading scholarly articles, health insurance company analysis and expert observations on "how to lower healthcare costs while increasing profits" begins to illuminate the mysterious gap between reducing patient length of stay (LOS) and reducing hospital readmissions.
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 are big, bold, In-Your-Face (IYF) components of healthcare marketing and branding, like the company name, logo, colors and motto. Then there are more subtle aspects of branding, like your brand's voice and the way in which its content resonates with website visitors and patients.
When implementing inbound healthcare marketing, content creation is a central focus, with blogs frequently being the most commonly used platform for it. Blogs enable companies to easily provide helpful information to potential patients, with sharing buttons enabling those who find the material helpful to further increase the reach of that messaging via various social networks.
Generation Z (born 2000-ish through 2025) gets a bad rap. While it's true they spell words differently than their Gen X parents and Boomer grandparents (c u l8er), they aren't all about fluff, emoticons, and text slang. In fact, if you aren't careful, straying from your brand in an ingenuine effort to seduce Generation Z will backfire.
Trends for healthcare marketing aren't all that different than 2016 marketing trends in other industries – except for one thing. The information you use to attract new prospects can have a significant impact on their physical health and emotional well-being. That's quite a space to hold.
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.
These days, when people have health-related concerns, they don’t immediately book an appointment with their doctor, nor do they read a magazine or newsletter. Instead, they search for their symptoms on Google or Bing, seeking trustworthy content created by medical professionals like you.
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.
When business is about something as personal and sensitive as health, encouraging patients to feel closer to your company and positive about the care you provide is essential. One way to achieve this is by incorporating content into your healthcare marketing strategy. Here are a few tips that are applicable to any healthcare sector.
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%.
There was an era when the door-to-door salesman was glorified. Housewives appreciated that the goods and services they needed to improve daily life was brought right to their doorstep. This was a time when most households only had one car - or no cars - and getting out and about was not as easy as it is today.
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?
Healthcare appointments and routine visits used to be straightforward. Patients used their insurance carrier's booklet of in-house providers, called down the list, and chose the doctor with the first available appointment. Today patients are more discerning, and if your practice isn't keeping up with current healthcare marketing trends there's a good chance your weak online heart rate will cause prospective patients to pass you by.
Social media has forever changed the way people interact with each other. It is also drastically changing the way medical practice marketing is done and the way healthcare organizations communicate with patients and other medical professionals.
Now is the time to develop your social media strategy to communicate with and influence your patients. Doing so can help you reach your medical practice marketing goals. Some medical practices are still considering what to do (if anything) with social media. The time to get started is now. Here is some advice on how to begin.
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.
The “hot leads” of the past may have come from personal referrals or traditional “outbound” advertising like direct mail or Yellow Pages. But the Internet has changed the way people shop – including for healthcare services – so now’s the time for healthcare marketing to create a new breed of qualified leads.
To get a good return on investment, healthcare managers are turning to inbound marketing. It is a proven tactic for companies, organizations and health providers to identify and connect with prospective new customers.
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:
To get an idea how to approach a dental marketing website, take a look at competitive sites. Notice a trend? The “smiling patient” stock photos, the promises of complete satisfaction … what’s to distinguish your practice from theirs?
Healthcare is a field that is being impacted heavily by technology, both in the way that it is practiced and the way that medical practices and hospitals look for new patients. One of the biggest tenets of online healthcare marketing is having a good web site in place, but there are many healthcare practice owners and operators that are not sure about what is required for a good web site. Here are three of the most common web site mistakes made by healthcare practices and ways that you can avoid them when you go to construct your own practice’s web site to improve your online healthcare marketing capabilities.
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.
Simply cannot break the paid advertising habit, even though your online healthcare marketing is already in progress? You may be attracted to pay-per-click (PPC), which is an Internet advertising platform familiar from your favorite search engine pages and on social networks like Facebook.
Medical practice marketing walks a fine line – too much “sell” and people get suspicious. Not enough website information and people miss your message. Lack a Facebook page and people wonder what you’re trying to hide.
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?
Healthcare marketing on the web is not an easy undertaking, but it can be a very effective strategy if you want to bring in a steady flow of new patients to your practice. Nevertheless, understanding which web-based tactics to employ and which to avoid can be difficult, especially for those that are new to the marketing world. Make sure that you do not make these common mistakes and your medical office will have a much higher rate of success with its online marketing campaigns.
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
From smoking to donuts, we all have habits we’d like to break, and we all realize that it’s usually easier said than done. There’s something familiar and comfortable about old habits that keep us coming back for more – even when there’s no real benefit left.
The habit of offline dental advertising is a case in point. If your practice is more than 10 years old, you likely launched your dental marketing campaign the “old fashioned way.” That is, you hired an agency that designed a campaign using the accepted media of the day.
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.
In the dental industry, even a firm that has excellent service and a tremendous amount of history may have trouble competing if their dental advertising hasn't kept up with the trend toward inbound marketing. With the advent of the Internet, the focus of modern marketing has shifted to digital mediums, and inbound marketing has proven to be one of the most effective for healthcare providers: statistics show that 77% of patients perform a search before they book a healthcare appointment. These factors, combined with the sweeping changes to search that Google implemented in 2013, force dental practices to consider that their dental advertising methods may be in need of an upgrade. For those analyzing ways to improve and adapt their marketing approach, there are three crucial areas to consider.
Medical practice marketing has changed tremendously in recent years, primarily due to the huge rise in popularity of the Internet. Millions of people use the web to find information about healthcare providers. According to the Pew Internet & American life project, 80% of Internet users use the web to find health information online, which makes it the third most popular activity on the Internet after email and search engine usage. Because of the huge role that the Internet plays when people are looking for health solutions, many of today’s medical practices are wondering how they can integrate online medical practice marketing into their overall marketing strategy to attract more patients.
When Forbes published its list of the Top 7 Online Marketing Trends for 2014, it began with a message to marketers everywhere who have yet to embrace inbound strategies – outbound tactics are increasingly “antiquated.” By "outbound," Forbes is referring to the media that once ruled healthcare marketing. Direct mail, display ads, radio/TV and Yellow Pages are all in serious decline.
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.
According to a recent report issued by eMarketer, about 90 percent of healthcare practices are planning to increase their marketing budgets in 2014. However, the most important aspect doesn’t relate to how much money healthcare professionals are willing to spend on advertising, but to the healthcare marketing techniques they intend to embrace.
Online healthcare marketing that works well these days continues to revolve around inbound marketing. This is because an effective inbound marketing strategy can engage a larger audience than outbound marketing. It answers questions that are on the minds of patients and potential patients and provides a path to foster a relationship with them before you even have the first conversation with them. But, to attract more followers and patients, implicitly, healthcare entities need to adapt quickly to the latest healthcare marketing trends, which direct marketers toward a variety of tactics that work within inbound marketing strategy; image-centric content, native advertising, organic interaction, wearable technology, mobile ads, websites and applications. Here is what you should know about these marketing trends.
When it comes to healthcare marketing, developing an inbound marketing strategy instead of an outbound one is the smartest decision a marketing director can make. Unlike outdated outbound marketing techniques (print ads, direct mail, TV, radio, telemarketing, etc) that hawk the same message out to the masses and completely depend upon chance to impress someone to actually call you, inbound marketing creates a continuous cycle of qualified traffic arriving to the clinic's website, warming them up to become patients and then nurturing the relationship over time to forge a more solid and predicable revenue stream.
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?
Dental advertising can have a huge impact on the success or failure of a dental practice. Today’s dental professionals must not only ensure that they are advertising to the right people, but in the right places. With the sharp rise in Internet activity in recent years, web-based marketing has become the most effective method for a dental office that wants to get their name out to prospective patients. If you are a dental professional in today’s competitive healthcare world, you'll want to explore some of these modern methods for dental marketing.
It is easy for a dental office to start an email list today. Simply collect the email addresses of your current patients and begin sending them information that is relevant to them about things that happen in your office. This will help you retain your existing patients and keep them coming back to your office for service and guidance.
To gain prospective patients, offer an email newsletter that has information about dental care. Providing link on your website for people to subscribe to your newsletter is a great way to build your email list. The key is to make sure that you have something to give that is of value to the recipient – offering dental advice or information about certain oral conditions is a very good way to persuade people to sign up for your email list. Also be sure that you properly craft your marketing messages, especially the subject: according to a Salesforce compilation of marketing statistics, a third of email recipients opened their email based on subject alone.
Patients are looking for you. Will they find you?
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.
In recent weeks and months, it seems that everyone is being bombarded with information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. These new laws are changing the way that people think about their own medical treatment. For healthcare practitioners themselves, there is a tremendous amount of information to digest and implement, and these changes will only continue to occur over the next few years. One crucial consideration for medical practices to make during the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act is how these laws will impact healthcare marketing. With more information being published about the new healthcare laws on what seems to be a daily basis, patients are now not only looking for quality healthcare providers, but also information about how these new laws will impact their relationship with providers. This is where healthcare marketing professionals must be conscious of how important search engines are to their marketing efforts.
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.
Many business owners feel challenged when it comes to online dental advertising and lead generation tactics. At first glance it seems daunting but believe me, there are 101 ways to attract online clients and the most dynamic approach begins with social media.
Google’s new algorithm, aptly called the Hummingbird, is here. It delivers “fast and precise” results and it definitely affects the future of SEO.
But what about your dental marketing plan? Will Google Hummingbird support your current inbound strategies? You really can’t ignore this question since SEO is an integral part of inbound marketing.
So you either resist the change that comes with Hummingbird and watch your site traffic fall or face up to it and seize the vast opportunities it gives you. The latter, of course, is much more desirable.
One of the most neglected resources in healthcare marketing is often the website. If yours is little more than an online version of your brochure you are missing out on a powerful tool for growing your practice.
The end of the year is always a good time to evaluate your marketing strategy. Since marketing analysts recommend business executives and marketing directors, including the ones who operate within the healthcare industry, to shift from outbound to inbound marketing, a wise decision would be to consider their advice. Delivering a really affordable and interactive way to generate customer leads and increase sales, inbound marketing techniques can help you develop a functional medical practice marketing strategy. However, embracing inbound marketing isn't the only thing you have to do to gain competitive advantage. To ensure your success as a healthcare service provider, you must also take into account the latest healthcare marketing trends.
If your phone hasn’t been ringing as much lately – while the dentist down the road seems to be gaining ground – the problem may stem from the way potential new patients find you. When it comes to dental advertising, the game has changed in three significant ways.
The traditional approaches are in decline.
Dental advertising once thrived on paid media. The so-called “outbound” or “interruption” approach worked because people were tied to familiar habits like turning on their favorite radio stations, subscribing to a daily or weekly local newspaper, and reaching for the Yellow Pages when they needed to look up a business.
But each one of the aforementioned media is in decline. In 2012, for example, newspaper ad revenue fell to its lowest point since 1950. “The decline in print newspaper advertising to a 62-year low is pretty amazing by itself,” says the American Enterprise Institute, “but the sharp decline in recent years is stunning. Newspaper print advertising revenues fell by almost 50% in just the last four years.” Radio advertising in 2012 was characterized by ad agency Magna Global as “another flat year.” And the audience for the iconic Yellow Pages has shrunk so drastically that some analysts are predicting its extinction in anywhere from 2 to 7 years.
Bottom line: If your dental advertising is still primarily tied to outbound tactics, it’s not reaching the same audience it used to.
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.
How gratifying it is to get referrals – knowing that your dental services so pleased a patient that he or she recommended you to friends and family. You can’t buy that kind of “word of mouth” credibility with traditional dental marketing like a paid ad. But there is a way to gain an increased, trusted presence in the marketplace: inbound marketing.
“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.
You’re not using the same dental equipment or technology you did ten years ago … so why are you using the same dental marketing?
That’s the pertinent question if your dental marketing is based on things like coupon books, display ads, radio, outdoor boards or Yellow Pages. While such “outbound” tactics may have worked in the past, any SEO service agency could tell you that patients are not paying attention. How can they, when they’re too busy online?
Many professionals don’t think about social media as a key facet of their marketing plans. Dental advertising may seem like a narrowly-focused area; most people don’t go online to chat with their friends about getting their teeth cleaned or the price of dental implants. However, the reality is that business relationships are increasingly formed and brands built (or damaged) in social media.
Here are just a few reasons your dental marketing plan should include strategic use of social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn:
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.