Why Healthcare Marketing is Worth the Investment
By Taylor Burke
Healthcare marketing is often overlooked. Since healthcare is a service we all need, it’s often placed into a lackluster stereotype in which it’s assumed either no or very dry marketing tactics will work to win-over new patients.
But that stereotype is inaccurate for a couple of reasons. First, because healthcare is interesting. It’s about science, personal relationships, and self-care—all incredibly powerful topics. Second, despite the need for healthcare, not every provider is guaranteed patients.
The industry is expected to see massive growth in the coming decade, healthcare startups are booming and taking up market, and our most powerful consumer group, millennials, are less likely than any other generation to visit the doctor. With these factors at play, it’s critical that healthcare providers make intelligent marketing decisions that will help them stand out. The content is there, it’s what you do with it that counts. Here are seven marketing tactics healthcare providers should test out in the coming year to ensure continued patient growth and retention.
1. Go Live on Facebook
Facebook Live, in which users live stream video content for others to watch, is gaining incredible momentum in the marketing world. And healthcare providers can take advantage. Many potential patients are nervous about the experience of visiting the doctor. Anything you can do to make them feel at ease can boost their confidence in choosing your service. Use Facebook Live to interview doctors or nurses on a hot healthcare topic, or walk through the process of a visit from check-in and paperwork to the appointment itself. Get creative and show your facility’s personality!
2. Own the News
One of the reasons millennials are avoiding the doctor is because they are turning to sites like WebMD for answers. With so much information readily available on the internet, you need to own the niche. Newsjacking is the process of taking news stories and providing relevant insight and commentary. Create a blog or enewsletter and weigh in on healthcare-related stories (legislation, insurance, new studies, and trials) with an expert voice. You’ll become a trusted advisor who clients will seek out when they need more than just a good read.
3. Be a Little Funny
Healthcare is serious business, but that doesn’t mean we always have to take ourselves seriously. Humor is a psychologically proven way to capture attention. The catch is—it’s hard to do well. When humor falls flat or worse, offends, it can counteract your entire marketing plan. Be smart about how you want to use humor and analyze the ways that other brands or organizations have successfully put a humourous spin on a serious topic—like this railway safety campaign that made us laugh at death or Movember’s take on prostate cancer.
4. Seek Social Proof
Have you ever walked into a restaurant, noticed it was desolate, and walked right back out to find a livelier choice? You probably said something like “this place must be terrible!” to your dining companions. Our tendency to follow the crowd is called social proof and you can use it to your marketing advantage. Testimonials are the easiest way you can gain social proof. Ask satisfied customers to leave a review or rating on Facebook or your Google page. You can even make this simple by including it as an outreach step in your marketing automation funnel. The more positive feedback you get, the more customers will roll in.
5. Give Video a Chance
Video can be one of the most intimidating media forms to tackle, but for successful marketing, it has to be done—online video will account for more than 80% of all internet traffic by 2020. Look to YouTube for inspirational examples of healthcare video marketing (If Our Bodies Could Talk has an offbeat spin and GE Healthcare brings complex ideas to life). Then start small. You could begin by posting short videos to Instagram or Facebook, for example.
6. Find an Influencer
Influencer marketing is a form of social proof. But instead of getting every day user testimonials, you’re seeking the endorsement of a well-known face or name. You see influencer marketing in your daily digital interactions—a celebrity posting an ad to Instagram or a favorite blogger writing about a product. To be successful with influencer marketing, find advocates who are authentically connected to your service—maybe they or a loved one has suffered from a condition you specialize in or has actually used your services. You don’t have to start planning for a Beyonce-level budget. Local personalities can work well for your market.
7. Create a Community
Online interactions today are all about building connections with others. And if you can create a community that facilitates that connection-building, you’ll empower your clients and build brand credibility. Take Floating Hospital for Children, for example. They built an online community for moms. The authentic conversations that take place there not only help moms put their trust in the hospital, but also give the hosptial insight into what clients are thinking and talking about.
The best thing about marketing is that you know the good stuff when you see it. Think about what draws your attention in your daily life, and ask those around you the same question. Just because the brand behind those tactics might be far from the healthcare industry doesn’t mean the same tactics can’t be applied.
Article by Taylor Burke. Taylor is a contributor for TechnologyAdvice.com, covering marketing and customer experiences. When she’s not in front of her screen, you can find Taylor reading, cooking, running, or hanging with her dog—but rarely all four at once.
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