14 Tips for Better Health Care Digital Marketing in 2014
As consumers become more empowered and involved in managing their own health, they increasingly turn to the Web as a key health care information and decision-making resource. An increasing number of Americans are searching online for health guidance and information in 2014, and now is the time to capitalize on this audience in your health care marketing efforts.
Even the Zombies and Dinosaurs are Getting a Clue
Yes, even government organizations, traditionally slow on the up-take, have begun to use the Web to effectively reach health care consumers. The CDC, for example, has successfully capitalized on the nation's current fascination with zombies to bring attention to disaster preparedness.
While the living dead may not be relevant to your marketing, you need a robust marketing strategy if you want to reach today’s health care consumers — whether you run a hospital, retail pharmacy, pharmaceutical brand or health insurance company.
- Think like an Internet user. Keep your website’s navigation user friendly. Overall Web design should be engaging, uncrowded and current, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
- Design a responsive website. Today, consumers use mobile technology — smartphones, tablets, phablets and more — to search out health data and contact information. Responsive design interfaces the information and activities mobile users need onto any size screen. Optimizing your mobile appearance – versus simply shrinking down the screens as they would appear on a desktop – is critical for user satisfaction and adoption.
- Use smart SEO strategies and optimization. Google Think research shows that natural search results are key to decision-making. With nearly 80% of patients using search prior to booking an appointment, you need strong website and social media content for terms your consumers might use in their search within your health care sector. New and updated content go a long way toward driving organic search versus having to pay for it.
- Use ad retargeting so that your ads "follow" users across websites.
- Emphasize social media activity. Search engines will increasingly rely upon social media cues to serve up the best search results. Stay active by keeping your content fresh across channels and responding quickly to questions and requests from customers. Tailor messaging to fit each network — follow channel norms for each, augmenting your message across channels.
- Monitor your online reputation. Correct misinformation, address customer relations issues and earn good reviews. More than one-fourth of 2013 health care consumers read consumer generated reviews before making appointments with providers.
- Create up-to-date, problem-solving and exciting content for inbound marketing. As part of your content strategy to bring active consumers to your website, create consumer-friendly content to expose new research and study outcomes in 2014. This rich content can help consumers choose your site over health care websites with oft-repeated and stale health news, data and information.
- Use plenty of images and video. Photos, infographics, illustrations and other visuals grab more attention and communicate more quickly than text. New distribution networks are emerging constantly, such as Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.
- Commission educational blogs or website/YouTube videos. Become a resource to help consumers understand how to, as a recent example, sign up for the Affordable Care Act. Businesses in the medical field who did this not only helped to decrease the percentage of uninsured population, but helped their hospitals and other health care organizations build relationships with the patients, once insured.
- Demystify new/unfamiliar processes or medical tests. Educational material that offers layman’s explanations provide an appreciated service to the public and solidifies your reputation as an expert, consumer-centered organization.
- Offer price transparency with background. Consumers want to know what they’re paying for, and many health care services have responded by making their prices public. If your hospital or imaging center’s price is higher than local competitors, educate prospective patients about the advantages and benefits of choosing your institution. Transparency is consistent with the spirit, and consumer expectations, of the Web.
- Dedicate content to physician and medical staff recruitment. Physicians and clinicians currently entering the medical field are accustomed to, and comfortable with, researching job opportunities on the Web. Hospitals and health care-related businesses that target content toward the concerns of potential new recruits will rise to the top of search engine results and get the best chance at attracting the attention of, and hiring, top performers.
- Consider your audience.Research has shown that women will go online more frequently for medical information. According to the 2013 c2b Consumer Diagnostic, certain psychographic segments – such as the wellness-oriented Balance Seekers and Self Achievers – rely heavily on the Web for health care information.
- Precisely target all content formats that you publish online. One size does not fit when it comes to health care marketing. Localize messages for the regions you want to reach and use terms your target audience will relate to.