Healthcare marketing is changing.
There was a time when the website for a hospital or healthcare company served only the role of a brochure. A couple of pages about your organization, a page about your services, and clear contact information was all you needed. But those days are over.
Every marketing effort should have a goal, and ultimately that goal is more sales. Your website should generate leads for your company which will convert into loyal customers. It should explain the value you provide and the benefits to healthcare consumers. It should position you as the experts in your field through educational, thought-leader content.
The rate at which new technology is being produced and adopted is growing exponentially. With these changes, the expectations of the healthcare consumer have changed. According to a recent Pew Internet study, 80% of internet users (roughly 93 million Americans) have searched for a health-related topic online. 63% of those were looking for information about a specific medical problem and 47% for information on medical treatments or procedures. In contrast, only 21% were searching for information about a particular doctor or hospital.
Armed with this information, it’s clear that your online marketing efforts are significantly more effective if you are addressing the topics being searched.
To reach these online self-diagnosers, hospitals and healthcare organizations need to prioritize educational content in their areas of expertise. Cardiologists should explain the symptoms of heart disease, both ostensible and hidden. Articles on heart-healthy diets, easy exercise routines, self-monitoring, or stress management containing strategic, long-tail keywords, headings and subheads make an incredible impact on your search results. Clear calls-to-action within these articles ensure that you are generating warm leads.
Content has always been king, but the importance of providing relevant content for SEO purposes can’t be overstated. Search engine optimization is no longer black magic, nor is it gameable. All major search engines are smart enough to rank clear, concise, and relevant information highly while demoting content designed only to sell. The best inbound marketing is a trade of your valuable knowledge for the opportunity to plant your flag in the minds of your audience and gain their trust as experts.
Examples of inbound marketing done well can be found on the websites of many of the top hospitals in the nation. The website of Johns Hopkins Medicine has sections titled Healthy Heart and Healthy Sleep (among many others) which are perfect examples to learn from. Each section contains multiple articles crafted to help the consumer at each stage of their interaction.
Strategy before tactics
Before you dive in, understand that implementing tactics before forming a strategy is one of the most common (and potentially most costly) mistakes in healthcare marketing. Marketing or brand strategy is your map to achieving your business and mission objectives. Tactics are your mode of transportation.
As a healthcare organization, your strategy may be to provide the best quality care to your community and position yourselves as the provider of choice. Building a website and providing educational inbound content is a tactic to get you closer to that objective.
There is an inherent danger of wasting time, money and effort by implementing any tactic without a clear strategic goal. “Bright, shiny object syndrome” is a common pitfall in healthcare marketing. With new technologies offering new marketing channels nearly every month, it’s all too easy to throw advertising dollars into those channels simply because they exist, or because your competitors are already there.
With the right strategy, you can determine the viability of those channels beforehand and ensure that your message is delivered on-voice and on-brand in a way that will most effectively resonate with your audience.
When you decide that you are ready to take your inbound healthcare marketing to the next level and begin generating relevant content catered to your audience, let’s talk. Click the image below to download a free 47 point checklist to help you optimize your site and get more patients.