But how? We’ve compiled some hard-won insights to inspire you to think like a healthcare digital marketing expert.
Where Do You Begin?
Google informs us that people who schedule healthcare appointments run three times more searches than those who do not. Your future patients are checking out multiple competitors to size up skills, accreditations, reputations, and website content value before deciding which one to call.
As best-selling marketing guru Seth Godin would say, you need to find your purple cow—you need to find a way to be remarkable. Brown cows may be efficient, low maintenance, and perfectly fit for free-range, organic milk production. But if they’re not remarkable, they become invisible out in the cutthroat internet terrain.
To be remarkable, your healthcare digital marketing strategy must be built by a team of seasoned specialists who keep up on the latest digital tools, platforms, and strategies that your competitors are using to rank, convert, and attract new patients.
What are your short and long term goals? How many new patients are you striving to acquire by the end of the year? Which personas are you looking to serve? It will be your impeccably defined destination that leads your strategy for success.
Ask Yourself These Questions About Your Healthcare Digital Marketing Strategy:
How will it enhance our reputation?
If you’re getting positive feedback and reviews from your patients, leverage it in your healthcare digital marketing strategy. Pursue opportunities to spotlight your team’s customer satisfaction ratings, specialty expertise, and industry achievements.
How will it attract more patients?
Are you posting and engaging on the platforms where your future patients live? Do you appear in their daily health conversations and urgent searches about conditions and treatments?
You can’t bully people into trusting your brand. You have to meet them where they are and make a good impression—and that means not looking or sounding like a pushy salesperson.
How will it forge relationships that inspire referrals?
The five star reviews and satisfied customers you already have can inspire referrals and help grow your practice. However, you still need to stay top of mind. Stay helpful to both current and future patients by providing relevant, evidence based information and inspiration.
Just because your patient has overcome one health issue doesn’t mean they no longer need your nurturing and preventive advice. They appreciate updates about the latest research on ailments, conditions, treatments, and diagnostics. Your content should follow them out of your waiting room and into their family room.
What Are Your Future Patients Really Searching For?
By the time they find your number, many panicked or hyper-curious searchers may have skimmed pages of dramatic articles and convinced themselves that they are doomed. Others may believe they know exactly which treatment will cure their condition and just want you to write the prescription.
What they really need is to connect with a compassionate, open-minded clinician who is willing to take the time to listen, then educate before diagnosing or dictating. If they’re going to trust you to be their care provider, you must demonstrate that you know and understand them.
Knowing your audience is just the first step in your healthcare digital marketing journey—it’s like acquiring a “Get to Know Us” event guest list with names and addresses of eligible prospects (including dietary restrictions and culinary preferences). Now you have to get them to attend your valuable event.
You have to entice your guests to arrive on time, full attention span in tow, for your alluring hors d’oeuvres and inspirational speaker’s takeaways. When they enjoy, then continue to discuss your offerings on their way home, you know you’ve made an impact. You’ve planted a seed. You’ve offered value without pushing a sale. You know they won’t mind when you follow up to ask for their feedback and answer their questions.
Same goes for your healthcare digital marketing strategy.
After reading all your reviews and patient feedback forms, observing all your focus groups, and gathering all the data, you can begin the conversation—the customized, persona-driven conversation that nurtures your future patients with the correct nuanced tone and cadence at each stop in their buyer’s journey. The conversation that empowers them to make educated decisions about their healthcare.
Health-related decisions are among the most intimate ones we make—tread lightly and give your future patients space to come to their own conclusion. That way, when they convert (reach the end of their buyer’s journey) and schedule an appointment with your team, they’ll feel empowered in their choice.
The conversion must feel like their decision.
Create Credible Patient Personas
The research you’ve done on your ideal patient needs to be documented and fleshed out into a marketing persona: a fictional, generalized character that encompasses the needs, goals, and observed behaviors of the people you can help. Creating personas in your CRM allows you to create categories and target each of these groups separately.
For example, an OBGYN will speak about pregnancy support differently with Carrie Couchpotato than with Fitness Freak Frannie. An endocrinologist must address Willie Workaholic and Laidback Lenny in different tones, despite the fact that both patients are living with diabetes. Engaging your personas will require understanding their mindset and speaking their language.
Here are five factors we consider when creating patient personas for our successful clients:
- Traditional Demographics: age, gender identity, income, education level, marital and familial status, and living/working environment
- Functional and Emotional Needs: how well does the persona understand the care plan? Are they emotionally open to it? Will they require a lot of down-to-earth education on human biology before complying, or will it simply require clearly presented instructions?
- Healthcare Behaviors: what level of self-care and awareness does the persona practice? Will you need to work on lifestyle changes before considering certain treatments? What kind of role model or case study would motivate this persona to make those changes?
- Attraction Factors: What intrigued this persona enough to reach out? Was it the medical school where you earned your degree? Your white paper topic? Your Google review? Or maybe your patient satisfaction case study video?
- Industry Perspective: How does the persona perceive and assess your profession or specialty? Are they big fans or resistant skeptics? Have they done enough research to question your diagnosis? Do you have the data to back up your theory or decision?
Once you’re intimately acquainted with all your personas, you’re ready to start the conversation. Nurture your relationship by gradually moving them down the funnel, the bottom of which should compel them to book an appointment.
Provide Upfront Value and Build Trust With Content Marketing
Your audience is a precious asset.
Nurture it. Engage it. Listen to it. Resist the tendency to treat human beings like “leads.” Imagine the potential patient you’re creating content for is your mother, your child, or your best friend. Make long term relationships your long term goal. Only then will you build the trust that enables conversions and commitments to your organization.
You are a well-versed expert.
Promote that fact. Present yourself as one. Enhance your skills and industry knowledge, then share those insights with your audience—all while treating them like savvy consumers striving to learn, not uninformed customers seeking easy solutions.
Although your healthcare digital marketing content should be clear and easy to read, it should not cater to the lowest common denominator. Assume that a searcher who’s taking the time to read it is educated, either curious or somewhat informed about your specialty, and well aware of the service and style of your competitors.
What Form Should This Content Take?
Once you’ve established and refined the quality of your content, you’ll need to decide what form it should take. The most strategic way to provide robust value for the various personas and generate traffic to your site—and later your office—is to mix it up. Create compelling, educational:
- SEO optimized blog posts.
- Ebooks about your specialty and procedures.
- Whitepapers on the latest research in your field.
- Infographics for skimmers on the go.
- Engaging videos featuring procedures or patient case studies for visual learners.
- Podcasts on all of the above for aural learners.
- Guest blogging on top influencer sites.
- Content partnerships with established brands to generate domain authority.
Different searchers will prefer different forms, but all of your content will establish you as a thought leader in healthcare and promote engagement with potential patients.
Our team at Uhuru crafts healthcare digital marketing strategies that inform prospective patients about your practice—the key factors that make it the best option to quell their fears, fulfill their needs, and satisfy their wants.
Acquire More Patients
The content you create will empower your future patients by educating them about the services you provide. Your goal is to turn your website into a trusted resource for your patients and prospective patients—their go-to healthcare hub.
The tool we use to achieve this is the marketing funnel—the transition between the stages a customer goes through from perusing your website for the first time, to signing up for your email list or newsletter, and finally, to calling your office and booking an appointment.
We create highly targeted funnels to attract, engage, and ultimately delight your future patients in each part of the buyer’s journey:
- Top of the funnel: Your first touchpoint, where we attract strangers with search engine marketing, blogging, and social media marketing. If they like what they see, they may download a how-to guide, take a quiz, or sign up for your newsletter, entering the next stage.
- Middle of the funnel: This is where we engage and educate prospects, build a relationship, and establish trust in your brand with email marketing, retargeting and remarketing campaigns, and social media marketing. They’re still just learning about their condition or treatment—here is your chance to convince them they really do need to see a clinician.
- Bottom of the funnel: By now they’re ready to book an appointment, but they still aren’t sure if it’ll be with you. They’re deciding where to source the solution they’re seeking. They need a little nudge in the form of a compelling call-to-action, personalization and contextual marketing, or maybe even sales outreach to get the appointment scheduled. Then, you finally get to enjoy delighting your prospects-turned-patients.
Carefully consider the cadence of all your campaigns. Even the most gingerly nurtured prospects can unsubscribe if you hover too close too often with loud offers and promotions. Pace your content goals. Spread out your most dramatic case studies—let readers sleep on them, ponder them, and remember who sent them.
Track each stage of every campaign and do A/B testing to see which versions of emails and offers have the most success. Listen to your audience, then modify your content accordingly.
Fine-Tuning Your Healthcare Digital Marketing
Once you’ve looked at the data and determined which channels reach which personas and which messages promote engagement, you should continually check in on your basic functions:
- Ensure your practice is accessible online with an answering service after business hours.
- Design a responsive website where patients can book appointments any time.
- Implement SEO best practices across all the pages of your website.
- Make sure your website is Google-friendly.
- Develop multimedia campaigns to incite action.
One Client’s Success Story
One of our clients is on a mission to improve quality of life and promote independent activity through innovative lifestyle solutions. Just as they help people restore a sense of freedom and autonomy after illness or injury diagnosis, we helped them restore their brand voice and sales confidence.
This mission-driven company’s monthly sales were hovering around 10 for a long time, and their tiny sales team was running out of leads.
Our client’s marketing team quickly realized they needed to invest in three Uhuru Programs: Strategy Engagement, Business Advantage, and Sales Enablement.
Our healthcare marketing specialists created a PPC (pay-per-click) Google and Facebook ad strategy to target consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey: the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage.
Using our HubSpot Sales tools, we generated leads through digital advertising, nurtured those leads with strategic workflows, then trained our client’s sales team to close those leads.
Uhuru’s efforts resulted in a volume of 1,000 leads per month at a CPA of $10 per lead. This lead volume helped fill our client’s sales pipeline and led to new sales rep hires—which we facilitated. With our continued sales enablement, they closed 18 deals two months later, and they closed 23 two months after that.
In six months, they more than doubled their sales (they tell us the sense of independence and delight they provided for their customers is priceless).
Let’s Start Delighting Your Future Patients!
If you’ve been imagining similar results at your practice—don’t wait. Healthcare marketing campaigns take time to develop and reach their intended audience. Get started today and see how well we abide by our motto: “Leave people better than you found them.”