Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends
Traditional ways of healthcare advertising don’t work anymore as recent marketing statistics make it clear that a new approach is necessary as 44% of direct mail is never opened, conversion rates for outbound leads such as cold calling and advertising are below 2% and 85% of people skip TV advertising.
The healthcare digital marketing landscape in 2014 saw an increase in consumer awareness and empowerment, number of healthcare bloggers and activity in social media sphere, the implementation of healthcare apps and marketing automation software.
A study from MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth Healthcare based on 200 seniors healthcare executives shows that the budget for marketing is increasing, branding produces better results, and that 86% of the participants believe that “The healthcare industry will need to change its business model to remain viable in the future” and that “Digital media has forever changed the way the healthcare industry needs to communicate and engage with its constituents” Source here
In this article we will present Top 10 Marketing Trends for Healthcare in 2014. Healthcare start-ups and SMEs can use this guide and implement our suggestions, but we recommend them to outsource and increase their digital marketing activities. A study by InfuseMed shows that from over 60 device and diagnostic manufacturers 81.3% are now outsourcing 100% of their digital marketing efforts, 34.4% are increasing their digital marketing budget.
Top 10 Marketing Trends for Healthcare in 2014
1. Know your customer
Each healthcare organisation needs to think like its customer’s buyer persona or the typical customer by giving her/him a name, age, geographic area, occupation, family, disposable income, motivation for buying a product or service in the sector and hobbies.
Market segmentationand having a CRM system with interest categories and contact forms on individual pages helps to know more about customers. Focus groups, questionnaires and other market research methods pay off by understanding what is valuable for the customer.
2. Creativity in healthcare sector
Being creative means to become more interactive with patients and encourage feedback and engagement, having a primary goal to educate, rather than to sell and increase the level of the service. Medical technology companies have shown to benefit from PR campaigns and innovative digital marketing tools.
3. Content marketing: quality over quantity
Following theGoogle Hummingbird algorithm update in 2014 the website traffic obtained by rewriting articles, focusing on keywords and using repetitive tags has drastically decreased.
Current customers using search engines are looking for informative image-rich articles with alt tags. Evidence shows that greater use of multi-media, images, human-interest stories, real-life situations, audio and video clips, podcasts and downloadable products such as eBooks and white paper are key way to differentiate from competition and not compete on price.
The most memorable, shareable images and videos share three or more of the following characteristics: funny, emotional, surprising, thought provoking and being able to make us smile.
According to a Yahoo executive study, 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing and that applies to personal industries like healthcare and wellness.
4. Healthcare E-books: Exchange Expertise for Qualified Leads
Consumers are using online resources to research medical conditions, treatments and care providers.
Offer premium content such as ebooks, guides, podcasts and other tools for free in exchange for customer’s email address. Once you have an email address, you have a way to continue the sales process with a prequalified lead. In addition, the sales rep will know exactly which product/service that customer is interested in.
5. Marketing Automation & Other Digital Marketing Tools
Marketing automation represents the implementation of a software (usually cloud based) that allows to segment clients and send automated emails and content based on their segmentation or behaviour. This starts from a simple registration form with tick boxes for interests to more advanced systems that monitor behaviour and show users what is relevant for them.
For more information why not read our top digital marketing tools for 2014 article.
6. Search engine optimisation (SEO) for healthcare industry
Search and paid search have become an integral part of our inbound marketing strategies, bolstering web traffic and driving patients to online content to satisfy their appetite for information.
While SEO has recently decreased in importance it is still a powerful tool if you get it right. You can read our top 10 seo tips DIY article or ask our specialists for a SEO review.
7. Use of social media
Social media will play an important role as 79% of healthcare participants of a U.K. based Waggener report believe that ‘a strong content marketing strategy will help them optimise their use of social media, as well as video and animation (70%) and news articles (62%)’ Source
2014 also saw a big increase in user-generated content contests that feature on social media channels, such as Instagram, Vine, and Twitter. This can include, photos, videos, or even caption contests.
Social media signals (retweets, sharing, likes) have also become more important than backlinks, and Google+ or YouTube presence increases the power of a website to be on first page on Google Search results
8. Focus on mobile: responsive websites and healthcare apps
Most people are accessing social media on their mobile phones and a significant percentage view the company’s website on mobile phones. Therefore, it is imperative that all companies have responsive websites. A responsive website adapts to the screen size of the device it is being accessed on. This allows users to consume information on mobile devices with ease, reducing the need to resize, scroll, zoom in and out, etc.
Healthcare apps can range from acting as an interactive platform to display your products to health monitoring solutions. Apps are essential for the sales team as it can be used as a high-quality interactive iPad presentation to demonstrate a product’s utility and unique selling point. To get most out of the apps you need to have ones that integrate into the CRM system of the company. Gamification represents built-in incentive structures (games) which are fun to play and promote the company. Some app company can also implement augmented reality features in their app.
A research study titled, “The Digital Journey to Wellness: Hospital Selection,” reported that 61% of patients used their mobile device while at home; 27% at work; 20% while out of town and 16% while in the doctor’s office. And of those who found information about a hospital on their mobile device, 44% scheduled an appointment (Source) Also, one in five patients now book appointments through digital platforms.
IMS Health, a research firm best known for its data on the pharmaceutical industry has developed over 16,000 health related apps and has a marketing system for creating m-health “formularies” and prescribing these apps to patients.
9. Testimonials and social media recommendations
As more than 80% of new customers come from recommendations it is important to capture testimonials and feedback on social media and website.
However, feedback or testimonials alone are not enough. A new concept coined in 2013 called brand journalism focuses on storytelling, features, human-interest pieces, and real-life examples. These stories have a bigger impact on readers and become newsworthy, thus obtaining free PR for your brand.
10. Monitoring healthcare analytics
Most companies prefer to send mass emails and implement marketing campaigns which target all their clients. The marketing campaigns work on a fire and forget basis. These approaches can only produce lukewarm results. A successful campaign takes into account the different types of customers, starts as a pilot and becomes companywide after studying the initial feedback. Obtaining analytics from emailing campaigns, website statistics and your CRM is essential in understanding consumer behaviour.
For emailing campaigns, we recommend healthcare SMEs to first three slightly different emails up to 50-10 people and analyse which one worked best so it can be send to the remainder of the database.
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