Hospital Mobile Marketing

Best Ways to Market Your Healthcare Facility and Standout

When potential patients do not have a recommendation from family or friends on what healthcare professional to use, they typically turn to conducting their own research online. This could entail using anything from the search engines to social media as long as the information they find is trustworthy and extensive.

Ensuring your practice is listed everywhere that potential patients are searching for your services online is the key to driving more traffic to your web properties and therefore, more foot traffic to your practice.

Create Content that Educates

Creating content that educates your audience is beneficial for SEO, driving long-term traffic from the search engines to your website overtime, but most importantly, producing and distributing quality content in the form of blog posts and articles helps give value to readers and build trust between your patients and your practice overtime.

Put yourself in the consumers shoes when you write your material and then ask the following questions:

  • Can I easily interpret the information?
  • Are the terms and definitions understandable, even if I was only 12 years old?
  • Is the content accurate and informative without being overwhelming?
  • Is the explanation sufficient?
  • Are all my questions answered?

Fun with Facts

It’s a fact that people like facts of all shapes and genres, especially in healthcare. Facts and statistics can be woven into certain types of content, such as infographics, to complement the information.

The true beauty, however, is the simplicity. Facts are short and to the point. They are easy to digest, easy to generate, easy to verify 

Video Marketing is Important

Last, but certainly not least, spend time on video marketing to really stand out. Offer testimonials from your patients, ensuring that they are genuinely interested in speaking on your behalf to make the effort as effective and authentic as possible. Create videos to introduce doctors and put a human touch to the faces patients will be seeing.

Utilize YouTube as a hub for your video marketing efforts online, then embed those videos throughout your website. YouTube is a search engine owned by Google, making your video content uploaded there discoverable from both the search results, your channel subscribers and wherever the video is embedded (like your website.)

Again, just like the written content being produced for your web properties, your video content must educate your audience on your expertise in the industry.

Marketing for the healthcare industry doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to think about who your target audience is and how best to reach them. Let us do the thinking for you. Contact TotalCom today to learn more about our healthcare marketing options.

Tackle Healthcare Pay-Per-Click Conversions through Digital Marketing

Beat the Healthcare PPC Wormhole

Digital marketing in the healthcare industry is crucial in a time where 1 out of every 20 google searches are health related, but running a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is challenging. Without advanced techniques, health care companies will waste their money on ad space by failing to get seen.

Digital marketing for hospitals is specifically challenging. Below we have outlined exactly why your hospital may be struggling in the PPC department, and listed a number of tactics to help you beat the PPC healthcare wormhole.

(Are your hospital’s digital ads being blocked? Get around ad blocking today.)

Digital Marketing For Hospitals: Challenges

There are a number of reasons why digital marketing for hospitals using PPC poses challenges:

  1. Medical information is sensitive: You have to be careful with your ad word choices with strict HIPAA privacy laws in place.
  2. Retargeting: a recent adjustment of Google’s policies prohibits health care facilities from remarketing themselves.
  3. Competition: Because of the above retargeting restrictions, staying visible on search engine result pages (SERPs) is incredible important, but keywords are highly competitive (and expensive).
  4. Knowledge Graphs: In an effort to provide more correct medical information, and panicked patients, google has implemented knowledge graphs (certified medical information) that takes over the right hand side of SERPs.

All of that considered, there must be a way to effectively use digital marketing for hospitals with PPC.

Contact Information

Is your contact information readily available for other businesses and patients to view? Check, check, and check again! This is critical for your PPC plan. A patient searching for hospital care digitally is most likely in need of services sooner than later. Having your contact information positioned clearly can set you apart from competitors. Be sure to set up call extensions, location extensions and sitelink extensions to your ad. This makes for a larger ad, and is known to contribute to higher rankings on SERPs.

Contact information is the number one way to gain conversions, so place it on every landing page. If it’s hard to find your phone number, and easy to find a competitors, you will most likely lose a potential patient.

Mobile Marketing

Going mobile is imperative. If contact information is a key factor for a PPC strategy, so is going mobile. Contact information involves communication, and if you need fast contact, you have to call. Using your phone to find and contact a hospital makes it simpler. If your hospital is mobile, a potential patient simply needs to click the number that pops up on the Google page to call you.

Be sure you are tracking your Adwords performance by specific devices. Pay close attention to what mobile campaigns are and are not working. Make your bid adjustments accordingly.

Know Yourself

Finally, understand your target audience. Determine what your patients are searching for the most. There are many types of patients to consider for a hospital. Are your patients generally looking for urgent, emergency care? Are they searching hospital options knowing they will be in for a long term stay? Do your patients even know what they are looking for at all?

Step into the patient’s shoes and consider what you would search for if you were them. Think of triggers that grab their attention that you can then incorporate into the text of your PPC ads. Knowing what sets you apart from your competitors helps you create a PPC campaign that stands out

Interested in learning more about using PPC for your hospital’s digital marketing strategies? We specialize in using dedicated PPC campaigns to boost results for hospitals looking to gain an edge in the paid digital space. Contact us today.

Hospital Marketing in 2016: Three Trends

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Want to know what trends to expect in hospital marketing in 2016? Here are three trends we’ve identified that every hospital will need to follow.

Increase Content Quality 

Content marketing continues to remain a big part of hospital marketing and will only increase in importance as we move through 2016. Last year saw an increase in the quantity of content. This year, we’ll have to see a rise in the quality of the content we produce.

It’s not enough to mass-produce content in order to fill a quota of pieces for a blog. We’ll have to spend more time on each piece of content in order to make an impression. This is actually a positive, because it means we can be really creative and spend more time developing and polishing a few pieces of content – an article for a magazine, a white paper, a video – rather than just pumping out content that is merely okay.

Focus on Simple Scheduling

People in 2016 will value convenience more than they did before. Amazon now has one-click buying that allows you to buy in a snap. Other platforms have rolled out one-click buttons to shop and buy. Hospitals can take advantage of this trend by having simple, convenient scheduling with just one click of a button.

This changes things. Formerly, a hospital’s campaign would feature landing pages that ask the consumer to learn more. But they’ve probably already learned a lot by the time they get to the landing page. When they arrive there, the instinct for instant gratification kicks in, and they’ll probably want to just go ahead and schedule an appointment.

So, we’ll have to retool our landing pages to reflect that desire. Allow your patients to sign up for an appointment right then and there, and you’ll have more success translating marketing into action.

Take Advantage of Moments

Over the past few years, consumers online have started to experience more “moments”. A moment is a short amount of time in which people turn to the Internet to find something that they need at that moment.

For example, they may want to know something about symptoms of a condition or illness. They may want to go somewhere near them, which means they’re searching for a local provider. They may want to know how to do something, like create a healthy exercise plan or cook something tasty yet healthy.

A hospital can live in these moments by creating content that takes advantage of this inspired activity. If you want to get people who want to know things, produce content that shares information about symptoms and illnesses and other health items that may be in the news. You can market the hospital and your doctors with geo-targeted campaigns that zero in on zip codes. You can create how-to videos on healthy living.

Living in these moments with your potential patients will place you closer to them in the moments that they appear online.

Even though these are the trends, the challenge for many community hospitals is to have the resources to keep up with the trends. Limited personnel and limited resources for technology will continue to hinder some from taking full advantage of these emerging trends.

For more information on hospital marketing in 2016, talk to the experts at TotalCom Marketing.

Mobile Marketing for Your Hospital

Why Mobile for Hospital Marketing?

TotalCom Mobile MarketingThere is a tendency in the healthcare field to think of online marketing as necessary for desktops – but optional for mobile devices. However, mobile marketing for your hospital is not an option. Here’s why:

Most people have a smartphone. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, almost two-thirds of American adults own a smartphone – up from 35% in 2011. And nearly 20% of American adults have limited or no broadband access at home, relying almost exclusively on their phones data plan for Internet access.

As a result of this increasing dependence on smartphones, businesses, including hospitals, have seen mobile interaction with their website surpass desktop usage. And many experts agree that mobile searches will likely surpass desktop searches in 2015. Therefore, it is essential that we don’t ignore mobile marketing in healthcare.

Below are some ways to market your hospital to the increasing number of consumers who are using mobile as an entry point to the Internet.

There’s an App for That

One way to market your hospital in the mobile arena is through apps. If an app is useful to the consumer, it can be an effective marketing tool by increasing engagement with your brand and creating opportunities for future, patient-hospital interaction.

Some hospitals have had success with apps that allow patients to check in to the emergency room before they arrive at the hospital or apps that give ER wait times. GPS-based, way-finding apps can be useful to patients and visitors especially if your facility is large or spread out.  Wellness, medicine-monitoring, cancer treatment and new mom apps are other examples that can increase engagement and create possible future patient conversion.

Digital media as well as traditional media can be used to promote your hospital app.

Responsive Design is a Must

Google rolled out a new search algorithm this year that rewards responsive sites in mobile searches. Increasing your hospital’s position in search results on mobile devices is reason enough to have a responsive web design – but this isn’t the only benefit.

Responsive design also gives consumers a better user experience on your website. Given a choice between two sites, consumers will defer to the site that is easier to navigate and provides the best user experience.

In addition, responsive design eliminates the need to have a separate mobile site. Instead, your one hospital website will look great on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. And that’s one site to manage, maintain, and update.

Make Important Information Easy to Find

When prospective patients are on your hospital’s website, they don’t want to have to search to find what they are looking for.

  • Put your main phone number, as well as street address, at the top of the page.
  • A hospital phone directory should be easy to locate, with phone numbers “clickable” for one-touch dialing.
  • Make links obvious with the use of buttons or underlined, different colored or bold text. 

The easier it is to access and use your website on a mobile device, the more likely that your site will be visited and used. And the more interaction, the more opportunities to convert prospects to patients.

Make Your Hospital Mobile-Friendly

Don’t wait to make your hospital’s website mobile-friendly! Mobile is more than an entry-point for consumers to access the Internet. It can be an entry-point for prospects to become patients of your hospital.

I would love to hear your successes (or even what NOT to do) with hospital mobile marketing. Call or email me.


 

ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

 

Hospital Marketing: Social Media Facts to Consider for 2014 (Part 2 of 4)

Patients use mobile to connect to hospital social media sitesSocial media has gone mobile. And smart phones are our constant companion.

As healthcare marketers experiment and learn more about social media it’s important to know the role smart phones play in a person’s social networking activities.  It’s increasingly about mobility.  Here are two facts to consider:

1. 189 million Facebook users are “mobile only”.  Many (millions) of Facebook users don’t access Facebook from their desktop or laptop but rather from their smart phones only.   And that’s a 7% increase in the past year.

So as hospital marketers increasingly include social media as an important part of their overall marketing strategy, it’s important to consider how the content displays on smart phones and smaller screens

2.  63% of smartphone owners have their phones with them all but one hour during the working day.  79% for less than 2 hours a day.  And 25% of smartphone owners ages 18-44 can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t with them. Our phones are considered such an important part of our lives; consumers are rarely without it nearby.

Smartphones have become ubiquitous. They are always a part of our lives.  Our connection to others and to the web is through our phones.  So as healthcare marketers we must make sure our content is accessible and viewable on mobile screens.  And we must consider how consumers access and use the web to make sure our online and social media strategies are appropriate for those who use their phones all day every day.

 

Statistics accredited to Belle Beth Cooper writing for the Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com).

 

 

Healthcare Marketing: More Focus on Search, Less on Social

In the rush to do social media, healthcare marketers have neglected what may be more important – SEO.  It’s time to correct that.

180435502Writing for Search Engine Watch, Jay Taylor wrote a very interesting article about today’s emphasis on social media at the expense of search engine marketing.  It was very stimulating and thought provoking.  The article was directed to small and medium sized businesses, but it’s very appropriate for healthcare marketers.  The article is reprinted here but I’ve taken the liberty to make a few changes directing it specifically to hospital and healthcare marketing:

Social media is all the rave, and for good reason.

Fortune 500 companies are showing that social can be a very effective marketing tool, particularly when it comes to brand awareness and engagement.

But how effective is social media when it comes to customer acquisition for hospitals?

Hospitals and healthcare organizations are increasingly placing emphasis on social media marketing as a customer acquisition tool, while placing less emphasis on search marketing. Here are five reasons why this is a mistake, and why hospitals should focus on search, not social when it comes to acquiring patients.

1. Search Gets Hospitals in Front of Prospective Customers Who Aren’t Already Familiar With Their Brand

Unlike Fortune 500 companies, most hospitals don’t have the resources to invest in brand awareness campaigns that can take months or years to pay dividends. New patient acquisition is the primary objective, and search allows hospitals to get in front of prospective customers who aren’t already familiar with their brand, but are in need of their products or services.

While organic search takes time, paid search allows hospitals to get in front of prospective patients immediately with ads that are contextually relevant to their search query. So, even if the prospective customer isn’t familiar with the hospital serving the ad, that’s OK, because that hospital is advertising a solution intended to meet that prospective patient’s immediate needs.

2. Searchers are More Likely to Convert Into Customers

People use social media to, well, socialize. People use search engines when they want to find something.

When was the last time you went on Twitter to look for the nearest hamburger joint? Now, when was the last time you used Google to find a local restaurant?

The fact that searchers are actively searching for the products or services your hospital offers makes them much more likely to become a customer than someone who simply likes your Facebook page. The person who likes your Facebook page may eventually become a customer, but chances are they did not like your page because of their intent to purchase.

3. Search Allows Customers to Easily Find Your Business on the Go

Search engines make it easy to find information such as phone numbers and directions to local businesses on mobile devices. In fact, 88 percent of people who search for local information with a smartphone take action within a day, such as calling or visiting a local business, according to Google.

Additionally, 77 percent of smartphone users use their device for search. So, even if you do not target a local customer base specifically, mobile search provides an excellent opportunity to get in front of prospective customers.

4. Social Media Marketing Isn’t Easy

Some hospitals tend to gravitate to social media because they perceive it as being easy and inexpensive, while perceiving search marketing as just the opposite. However, a well-executed social media campaign is no easy task, particularly if the goal is new patient acquisition.

On the other hand, if a hospitals is using their company’s Twitter page to tweet about how good the cafeteria food was today, then yes, that is easy and inexpensive, and also ineffective.

5. Search is a Proven Customer Acquisition Tool

Whether organic search or paid search, there is little argument that search marketing is an effective customer acquisition tool, and mobile search has only enhanced its effectiveness.

Conversely, there is still much debate regarding the relationship between “likes” and purchase intent, and social media’s effectiveness in general when it comes to customer acquisition. When working with a limited marketing budget, as most hospitals do, it makes sense to utilize a proven patient acquisition method.

Conclusion

The truth is that search and social are not mutually exclusive. The lines are blurring between them.

The most effective digital marketing strategy would utilize both search and social to their maximum potential. Yet, the reality is that most hospitals don’t have the necessary resources to do both effectively. So, when the primary goal is patient acquisition, hospitals should focus on search, not social.

Pitfalls and Uses of QR Codes in Healthcare Marketing

QR codes can be useful in healthcare marketing but only if used correctly.  Effective use is dependent on understanding the context and following some basic guidelines.

QR with HQR codes are the cool thing these days in marketing.   Some have said it’s the next big thing because it brings physical interaction into the digital space.  And you have begun to see them everywhere.  Some places which are very creative and ingenious and some, which are questionable or downright stupid.

Just two years ago, only 1% of U.S. adults used QR codes.  But according to research from Forrester Research  just a year later that number grew to 5%.  Then a Temkin Group study  recently found that now 24% of adults are using them.   So use is increasing.  But just how effective are they?

Dan Wilkerson, a social media project manager at Luna Metrics (lunermetrics.com) outlined on masable.com some of the problems with QR codes for marketers.  He listed 5 problem areas.

1. Worthless Content

QR codes are easy to create, inexpensive and trackable.  They also open up a world of possibilities for consumer interaction.  However from a consumer’s point of view, scanning a code is a little cumbersome and requires time and effort.  Worse still, 90% of the time the link is to a website not optimized for mobile.  This is frustrating.

2. Consumer Awareness

Many consumers don’t know what QR codes are. An ArchRival study (archrival.com) of college students found that over 75% didn’t know how to scan a QR code.    These are statistics that are hard to believe. What looks cool for marketers may not be understood by the consumer.

3. Value as a Medium

QR codes are not considered a medium itself.  More often than not, QR codes are used simply to link to a company website.  Is it worth the effort to take your phone, unlock it, boot the app, get the code in focus and scan it, assuming you already have an app.  Is it worth the effort just to go to a brand’s website?

4. Location, Location, Location

QR codes are showing up in the most unlikely places.  Seemingly everywhere, on everything.  And many in very questionable locations with little or no thought for context.

5. Aesthetics

Too many QR codes are ugly.  And they are often confused with codes used for industrial purposes.  Many think they are tracking barcodes instead of a marketing tool.

So there are limitations to QR codes.  That’s not to say they are useless.  They can be effective for healthcare marketer f used correctly.

Here are some basic guidelines to improve effectiveness.

1. Make it worthwhile to the consumer. 

Provide information that is useful and valuable to the consumer.

2. Include instructions with a recommended app spelling out how to use the code.

3. Make sure using the code doesn’t take more than 6-10 seconds.  Otherwise you will lose the consumer.

4. Walk through your QR code implementation in a real-world scenario to make sure it’s actually useable.

5. Make the code as attractive as possible and distinguish it from packaging barcodes. 

You can use Photoshop to round off the corners and sometimes remove portions of the code for better aesthetics.

QR codes are not just marketing gimmicks.  If they are used that way, they will not be effective.  But they can be very useful if they are the results of a defined marketing strategy and provide value to the consumer.

Healthcare Marketing: More Screens More Engagement

TV Viewers Are More Engaged When Watching Multiple Screens

There has been much concern about how effective television is with those who are watching TV while also engaged with other screens.  So many viewers now sit in front of their television with a laptop, tablet smart phone or a combination in front of them. The logic would seem to be that such multi-tasking would distract the viewer from their television viewing.

But research indicates that’s not true.  In fact television engagement actually goes up when viewers are watching multiple screens.  A study by Time Warner Research Council, using biometric monitoring and eye tracking, discovered that television engagement when watching with a friend over social media was 1.3 times greater than watching without social media.

“When they find something engaging on the TV, they pay attention’” stated Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer for Turner Broadcasting, a Times Warner unit who collaborated with the research council.  “When their interest wanes, in the absence of a second screen they could change the channel, get up, read a magazine, etc.  With a second screen that allows live social engagement, they have more reason to stay on-channel with their friend.”

And just as important to marketers is that the researchers found the increased engagement when involved in social media while watching television was true for commercials as well as programming.

So the consternation among healthcare marketers over the multi-tasking by television viewers can cease.  Social TV proves to be an asset instead a liability.

Healthcare Marketing: Mobile Prime Time Same as TV Prime Time

Mobile usage peaks at 7 PM daily and continues strong through the evening.

As mobile marketing becomes more feasible and the opportunities for local mobile marketing beginning to accumulate, it’s important for healthcare marketers to analyze consumer usage just like other mediums.   A study by MediaMind  and reported in Advertising Age examined when consumers use their mobile devices to search the web and access mobile apps.  And the results are the same as it is for TV.  The study showed that users surf the web and use mobile apps most during the evening hours, between 7pm and 9pm.

Examining billions of mobile ad impressions across various devices, carriers and operating systems, mobile click-thru rates are also highest between 7pm and midnight, with click-throughs reaching a peak at 8pm.  Other studies from Jumptap and Google confirm the findings.

And it makes sense considering that consumers go home and park themselves in front of the television with their mobile device in their hand or close by.  A whopping 86% of U.S. mobile internet users watch TV with their mobile devices according to a Nielsen and Yahoo study.

This is very useful information for healthcare marketers.  As we begin to examine opportunities for mobile marketing, we should use the available data to maximize its effectiveness.   Which means evenings is the time to maximize exposure on mobile sites

Healthcare Marketing: QR Codes Effective for Hospitals?

QR codes can be effective for healthcare marketing, but they have limitations.

They’re everywhere these days.  You see them often.  In magazines, newspaper ads, retail stores, on product packaging and in many unexpected places.  Quick Response Codes, better known as QR Codes, with the black and white patterned squares that can be scanned by a Smartphone to link to a web page, registration form, contact info, etc.  QR codes link print and the web and allows tracking of its use.  And they are becoming more and more prevalent.  Their use increased 1600% last year.

QR codes can be very effective, disseminating useful information to the consumer.  The code can provide additional information, show a video, provide a place to respond, offer surveys and many other creative uses.  QR codes have many positive attributes for healthcare marketers but also some limitations.  A listing of both are offered here:

Positive attributes

1.    Easy to create
2.    Basically free
3.    Can be printed on almost anything
4.    Can disseminate a large amount of information
5.    Provide information in a private setting

Limitations

1.    Not everyone has Smartphone…only 35% of population
2.    The linked website must be compatible with mobile platform
3.    Smartphone must be close to the QR code
4.    Phone must have the appropriate app to read the code

QR codes can be very successful for healthcare marketers.  But their use should be strategic.  It should fulfill a consumer need.  And it should be easy to use