When thinking about the most difficult jobs in healthcare, the average person probably thinks about the nurses or doctors – definitely not the marketing department. When looking at the healthcare system, marketing is an underutilized tool for effectively bringing patients through the door and increasing awareness around a practice and its services. At Netsertive, we understand that one must understand the unique challenges of the specific industry before being able to make a lasting difference in sales and ROI. Because of this, we have outlined some of these challenges below.
Increasing Patient Revenue
Focusing on patient “revenue” can seem odd, but healthcare has become a very competitive market, particularly for considered/elective services. Healthcare must learn to adopt the tactics proven in retail or consumer goods. This allows for an infinite amount of growth for strategic digital marketing in healthcare.
The relevance of digital marketing platforms for increasing this revenue is often ignored by healthcare providers. According to a survey by Google and Millward Brown, 76 percent of patients use the internet to select a healthcare provider, but only 5 percent of the provider’s budget is spent on digital marketing. The other 95 percent of a healthcare provider’s average market spend is on traditional media (e.g., billboards, radio, print, and television advertisements), yet these outlets only target 24 percent of actual healthcare purchasing decisions. By focusing your marketing efforts on where and when consumers are making healthcare purchasing decisions, healthcare providers can better utilize their budgets and convert more prospective patients into active patients.
Producing Better Results with Fewer $$$
Gaining exposure is a huge factor for success in marketing. What makes the difference between successful exposure and exposure that doesn’t increase foot traffic inside your practice is whether your marketing campaigns attract the ideal patients. Finding the ideal patient for your practice and defining these patients through personas drives success for your practice. The essence of the perfect patient is someone who values your services, receives lasting results from your treatment, and even suggests the practice to their peers. Keep in mind the characteristics of your ideal patient in order to market to those distinct demographics who will bring in revenue and make a lasting impact on the business.
The first way to target these consumers is to utilize localization. Localization gives healthcare providers the ability to seek out prospective patients in the area(s) of their choosing. Sending out campaigns for mass exposure without any focus on location leads to wasted digital marketing budget and the consumers time. According to Google, 4 out of 5 consumers want ads customized to their city, zip, or immediate surroundings. Consumers expect convenience, and by strategically placing the reach of your advertisements, you can position your practice as a means for convenient, quality care and eliminate wasted time and money.
The second method to reach the right potential patient is the strategic use of keywords. If a consumer searches for Orthopedic care and advertisements for a distant women’s health provider comes up, there is no value for the consumer. On the other hand, if an ad for a local and convenient Orthopedics office appears at the top of the page, the consumer sees this as a useful suggestion in their search for Orthopedic care. By utilizing keywords and strategically watching search trends, you can find ideal patients.
Running Campaigns for Hundreds of Locations and Service Line Combinations and Measuring the Success
There are three major factors that make measuring a campaign's effectiveness difficult in the healthcare industry.
First, healthcare systems are faced with managing digital marketing campaigns across dozens of service lines and physical locations. An example: one healthcare system might run a campaign promoting Orthopedic care in Charleston, SC, Women’s health in Columbia, SC, and cancer treatment services in Savannah, GA. The complexity of managing these different campaigns can be cumbersome for one person. Plus, the medical terminology, delivery and patient demographic vary widely between service lines, so a single, brand-driven campaign will not be effective. The scale of healthcare systems and the variety of services and locations makes it difficult to run numerous campaigns – let alone consistently measure each campaign’s success. This means that healthcare systems must be extremely strategic about how they use their digital marketing dollars and who manages these campaigns.
Technology is extremely flexible, but healthcare management cannot always keep up. Healthcare systems need to be able to shift campaigns between service lines and react to market conditions on a local level.
Regardless of the industry, measuring campaign success can be a struggle. Ultimately, marketing is about driving revenue. Measuring Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) is the primary metric but is often elusive. How do you measure ROAS on a billboard or a brochure? It’s not easy! Luckily, digital marketing makes it easier to track things such as impressions, conversion rate, and click-through rate for any given campaign.
The Next Steps
Customers can't click on a billboard or a flyer, but they can click on a digital asset. Digital marketing is a billboard that is customized to the consumer’s needs and desires. By understanding the specifics of the industry, healthcare practices can take the preliminary steps for improving their digital marketing efforts. The first step is to assess the limitations of your current marketing strategy and your goals for future campaigns. The next step is to define who your key audiences are and what you wish to accomplish by optimizing your strategy. The third step is to employ a team, internally or externally, that is prepared to attack the challenges that arise in healthcare marketing.
Our technology operating behind the scenes allows digital marketing to more efficiently target the right audience, track and nurture their journey and eventually convert them into a patient. Netsertive's platform has been evolving for 10 years and contains the most powerful and proprietary hooks into the major search, social and video platforms so we can leverage these interfaces to better understand the efficacy of each channel and shift spend accordingly. With this technology and expertise, Netsertive will continue to take the lead in healthcare marketing and innovate in this space.