Determining your return on investment (ROI) can be one of the hardest parts of marketing. In a previous post, we touched on some of the nuances surrounding ROI in healthcare marketing. While we shared that there’s not necessarily an exact formula here, there are still best practices to follow to achieve positive marketing ROI in the healthcare industry.
In today’s post, we’ll break down four medical marketing tips to help you bolster your strategy and see the results you need for your organization.
Healthier Marketing ROI in 4 Steps
1. Focus on the Patient Experience
This may sound obvious—after all, improving patients’ lives is probably a big part of why you’re in the industry. However, there are two specific aspects of the patient experience you need to consider when it comes to your marketing strategy.
First, understanding the interests, needs, and consideration processes of your current and prospective patients (i.e., your audience) will help you make the best decisions about your marketing plan and budget. Ask a few pertinent questions:
- When do your patients need your services?
- How do they do research, and who do they talk to about their decision?
- What are the pain points they experience as they try to make a decision?
- Who else might they turn to, and how are they reaching prospective patients?
Answering these questions will help guide you towards the right marketing channels and tactics to communicate with your audience, and an experienced media partner can solidify the most effective mix.
The second aspect about the patient experience that needs to be remembered is the power of referrals. In healthcare, word of mouth has always been important, but this is especially pertinent in the digital age. Roughly 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a referral from social media. This has swiftly led to the rise of influencer marketing in consumer markets, but also extends to the medical world, especially among Millennials. 90% of adults aged 18 to 24 trust the medical information shared through their social media feeds.
Sites like Yelp provide a social ratings system that’s become a critical part of reputation management as well. An unhappy patient can take to the internet to air their grievances, and that can have an influence among those who see their review. Likewise, a very satisfied patient’s recommendations can provide powerful reach beyond their general social circle.
2. Answer Patient Questions
The reliance on referrals and social media illustrates the fact that we live in an age of empowered consumers who do their own research before they directly approach brand representatives. People approach their healthcare this way, and you should provide value by making information accessible.
One of the best ways to showcase your authority and helpfulness is to answer patient questions. This is a key way to share knowledge that patients need to make decisions about their own health, but more importantly, it shows a few other things: that you listen to their concerns, that you want them to feel comfortable at your practice, hospital, or facility, and that you want them to make the best decision possible.
A few ideas:
- Provide answers to frequently asked questions directly via your social media handles.
- Dig into these FAQs more thoroughly through a series on your blog.
- Develop a homebase for patient Q&As with a dedicated page on your website.
- Consider the power of video to bring stories to life.
3. Leverage Video in a Meaningful Way
While we’re speaking of videos… We’ve discussed why video is worth investigating on our blog before, because customers expect to find them and they can influence brand perception. Videos can also heavily influence the decision-making process, even when it comes to decisions related to their healthcare.
People that view demo videos are 1.8 times more likely to make a purchase, and traffic from YouTube videos to hospital websites has increased 119% YOY. Video has the potential to engage people on a very personal level. Seeing your face, hearing your voice, and getting a peek inside your office is experiential and comforting.
You can use video to spotlight your staff, whether it’s reception, nurses, doctors, or even research teams that patients would never meet otherwise. This makes your brand personable and approachable. Or you can use video to explain different aspects of your practice. You can even utilize video for patient testimonials, which can be both emotionally moving and a powerful sort of referral. These videos make excellent content for your blog or site and, depending on their topic, can be utilized on social media and even for digital advertising campaigns.
4. Invest in SEO
Your patients are going to do research online before they ever reach out to your brand. In fact, research suggests that more than a third of Americans will self-diagnose by searching the web. Depending on your specific field or practice, SEO can be especially important if you rely on being discovered locally. More than 70% of people who do local search (i.e., using the phrase “near me” or similar) will visit a business within five miles, and if it’s done by mobile, that visit may be in as soon as a day (50% of mobile searches).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how you ensure that your content—and thus, your brand and services—is what searchers encounter. This covers a number of critical areas, including the use of keywords. Some important considerations:
- Make sure every clinician or expert is listed on their department’s website, along with a list of their certifications or services.
- Content like your blog needs to be updated regularly, and that content needs to be valuable to those who search for related topics.
- Your website should be mobile friendly. Be sure your site uses a responsive layout, and so it adjusts automatically to fit the user’s device.
- Web pages need to load quickly (two seconds or less), meaning image file sizes need to be small and optimized for web.
- Videos should not be in a flash format.
Failing to have a mobile-friendly site will result in your pages being down-ranked in search results, potentially bumping you out of the coveted top three results, or worse, bumping your site off the first page altogether.
Marketing ROI may be difficult to measure, but that doesn’t make it any less critical for your brand’s success. Keep your ROI in check by focusing on the patient experience and showing value. Leveraging SEO best practices will improve discoverability and ensure your brand is there when your patients look for it. Make sure when they find you, they also find answers to their questions, helpful and comforting content, and clear next steps that lead them to you.