Healthcare Digital Marketing: Part 2

Healthcare Digital Marketing: Part 2

Optimize UX and Marketing Automation for Improved Patient Engagement

By Carly Farlow and Jennifer Keller

Today’s digital savvy healthcare patients know how to do their research when it comes to finding the right care. They are combing the internet for everything from all-natural cold remedies to patient reviews on their local hospital. They are looking for providers and hospitals who can address their unique needs and are willing to commute longer distances, if they must, to get the best care available.

In order to attract the right patients though an optimized online experience, healthcare marketing must continually evolve alongside patients and keep pace with the latest digital marketing trends. A digital marketing strategy can be the key to reaching new prospects in a way that will convert them to satisfied patients. The strategy we use here at Stratasan, and one we highly recommend, is the methodology known as inbound marketing.

In part one of this blog series, we laid the groundwork for this discussion by defining “What is Inbound Marketing?” We also covered how to drive more traffic to your site using Search Engine Optimization (SEO), how to build trust with online reviews, and how to attract patients and increase your visibility with content. If you missed part one or need a review of what was discussed, you can find that post here.

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In this post, we’ll continue our discussion on how to create a fresh, relevant, and reliable online experience for your patients. We’ll discuss three strategies that will help you kick-start or improve your inbound marketing engine, including how to optimize your online user experience, how to utilize marketing automation, and how to connect the dots between marketing and data. Let’s get started!

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Optimize Your Online User Experience

User experience (UX) is all about the impression a patient has after interacting with your online product—and whether that impression is good or bad can depend on a lot of factors. Your online product can include your website, app, and social sites—the desktop, tablet, and mobile experiences of each. Factors that affect your UX are branding, design, usability, and function.

Branding

Branding is all about consistency. The average person must see a brand seven times before recognizing it, making it all the more important for your brand to be consistently presented across all platforms. From your website to your Twitter account, there should be a unified theme that ties everything together. Developing a brand identity and a set of brand standards will help to align your UX, outlining a look and feel for how your brand should be represented everywhere a user may encounter it.

Design

Design refers to the colors, font style, size, imagery, and overall look and feel of your website and app. Your design choices should be heavily tied to your branding and your brand standards guide should list many, if not all, of these design elements. With design standards incorporated, your branding guide will become a central repository for all of the facets that define your hospital’s unique brand identity.  

Here are some website design best practices:

  • Stick to a clean and simple layout so users are not overwhelmed by too many colors and images.

  • Keep your font style and size clean and simple too, so that it’s easy to see and read.

  • Keep in mind that contrasting colors can come in handy when you need to call out certain messages. For instance, a font color that highly contrasts from your background can help with readability and make your text pop.

  • It’s also helpful for your buttons or calls-to-action (CTAs) to be bright or a contrasting color from the rest of the page.

Usability

The key to an effective UX is to create a landing page that is easy to navigate so that patients know right off the bat what you offer, how you can meet their needs, and how to connect with you. Simplicity is your goal. Don’t bombard your site visitors with too many messages and CTAs. Make it easy for them to focus on your central offering.

The Building a Storybrand blog offers a helpful tutorial for how to strategically layout an effective homepage. If you’re redesigning your website or simply looking to make a few improvements, consider their recommended strategy.  

Function

Don’t forget that many of your website users will be viewing your site on a phone or tablet. In fact, a mobile-friendly and responsive website design is essentially becoming a standard these days. Responsive design adjusts to the size of your browser automatically, ensuring that your site looks good on any size screen. It also makes it a lot easier for website users to navigate your site and find the information they need. By requiring a responsive design, you’ll avoid the mistake of building a great website that looks good when viewed on a desktop or laptop, but becomes cluttered, unorganized, and hard to navigate when displayed on a phone or tablet.

How to Track UX

As you implement these best practices, you’ll want to be able to track and measure the effectiveness of the updates you are making. These tests may uncover important feedback that could lead you to make additional design or layout changes. You can test and track your website UX in the following ways:

  • A/B Testing

    • A/B testing (sometimes called “split testing”) is comparing two versions of a web page to see which one performs better.

    • Testing different colors or CTA language can help improve your user experience and behavior.

    • Tools like Optimizely or Google Optimize allow you deploy an A/B test. 50% of your visitors will be shown page A, while the other 50% of visitors will be shown page B version. You can determine which version of your CTAs get more clicks and find out if certain color schemes illicit a more favorable response from patients.

  • Heatmaps

    • A heatmap is a graphical representation of data that uses a system of color-coding to represent different values.

    • Heatmaps allow you to see where visitors are most engaged with your website. It displays a color temperature of red, yellow, green to show you how far people scroll down a page or where most clicks happen.

  • Recordings

    • Tools like Hotjar allow you to virtually look over your visitors shoulders by giving you a recording of certain visitor’s journey as they experience your website.

    • See where visitors move their mouse, where they click, and the pages they view to get a better understanding on how patients will navigate your site.

  • Google Analytics

    • This tool will inform you when certain pages have a high bounce rate or aren’t getting many views.

    • Armed with these insights, you’ll have a better understanding of pages that aren’t highly visible on your website navigation.

    • Pages with a high bounce rate could also be an indicator of information that isn’t of interest to your site visitors—potentially pointing to a product line or offering that isn’t in high demand.

 

Utilize Marketing Automation

As defined by Hubspot, marketing automation is, at its best, software and tactics that allow companies to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. Translated to be hospital relevant, marketing automation supplies a way for you to automate online patient interactions and institute systems that will convert potential patients into established patients. This is done by providing various opportunities for them to book appointments on your website, automating interactions through chatbots, and supplying content and tools that are relevant and useful. Marketing automation will make it easier for you to track who the patient is, how they have interacted with your site, and to send follow-up reminders via text or email.

A few more benefits of marketing automation:

  • Segment based on form submissions or page views to nurture based on patient needs

  • Contribute exact marketing campaigns that converted a prospect to a patient

  • Learn patient patterns on your website and see what pages are most popular with certain demographics

As referenced above, a new way to engage site visitors is through artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots. These applications, geared to interact with patients and clinicians, are gradually being adopted into the healthcare industry. The majority of current and emerging use cases appear to focus on checking patient symptoms. Specifically, natural language processing is used to help diagnose a user based on the symptoms he or she provides. By engaging with patients in this way, you earn their trust and build their interest in you as a provider. It also allows your hospital to automate the help and assistance you can provide to patients—essentially extending your services without further stretching your physician bandwidth.  

For marketing automation to be successful, it is important to generate useful content or tools that will appeal to and provide value to your patients. In our last post we discussed how to develop a robust bank of trustworthy, helpful content or lead generation tools, such as our site location traffic map. When potential patients are searching for answers, a new physician, or a hospital that can meet their needs, these tools and content are what can drive them to your website. Your marketing automation software and tactics will enable you to turn these site visitors into new patients.

 

Connecting the Dots with Marketing and Your EMR

To effectively manage all of these recommended digital marketing efforts, it will be important to engage the support of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. A CRM is a technology for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. Once you have a CRM in place, take the next step and connect your EMR data to your CRM for a more complete understanding of your patient’s journey as they are introduced to your hospital, engage with your online brand, and become an established patient in your system.

By connecting your EMR data to your CRM too, you’ll be able to:

  • Accurately track which marketing campaigns are the most successful as you’ll be able to see which ones lead to more patient engagement

  • Define your patient demographics and more effectively send automated health announcements that inform patients of relevant health offerings

  • After prospects become patients, re-target to help keep inactive patients engaged and coming in for appointments

 

The Takeaway

The direct-to-patient engagement that can come with this form of marketing and the increased interest from new prospects that can result from creating helpful, informative content, may surprise you. With an improved UX and a marketing automation system in place, your marketing will take on a whole new level of effectiveness and value. While the learning curve may be steep, and it can take time to build a proper inbound marketing engine, the end results are worth the effort.

For more information about how you can engage our team to support your marketing and expansion efforts, contact Sean Conway and schedule a discovery call today.

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Article by Carly Farlow, Digital Marketing Manager, and Jennifer Keller, Director, Creative Marketing Services for Stratasan

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