Healthcare Marketing

healthcare budget

Healthcare Marketing: Why You Should Increase Your Paid Social Budget

These days, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms are changing the way patients interact with their healthcare providers. Social media is certainly something that you can’t afford to ignore.

Paid social is having a banner year in 2017. Analysts from HootSuite predicted that social ad spending will top $35 billion this year.  Judging by the past several years, which have each seen consistent growth, that growth will continue into the future.

As long as you do it right – paid social is an excellent investment in your healthcare marketing plan. Here are 3 reasons why.

Paid social is a necessity if you want your brand to be seen on social media.

When you post something on social media, you’re competing with what feels like 1,999,999 other healthcare businesses- and we’re just talking about ones that are advertising. Realistically, there’s no way that your posts are going to get engagement from more than a few people unless you pay to promote them. With social media algorithms becoming more and more complicated, it makes it even harder for current and potential patients to see your content.

Organic social is still important, but if you want your posts to be seen, it’s time to set aside some budget for paid social ads. 

Paid social allows you to target users with incredible specificity.

It’s really amazing how specific you can get with your ad targeting these days.

Look at Facebook, for example. You can customize your audience by everything from level of education and field of study, to online activities, to simple demographics.

This ultra-targeting means that you’re a lot less likely to be wasting your ad dollars. Instead of showing your ad to people who almost certainly aren’t going to buy what you’re selling anyway – men and gynecologists, for example. Through targeting, you won’t be annoying people with ads they would never be interested in and you’re cultivating an audience that may eventually lead to a loyal customer.

It’s highly resource- and cost-effective.

When you’re just starting out with paid social advertising, you don’t have to know it all. You can create relatively basic ads with a relatively basic audience and budget. You also don’t need a huge budget to begin with. Base your budget on factors including your company size, the number of people you want to see your ad, etc… This is especially helpful when your hospital is just starting out and not sure where to begin.

The key is to be patient and be proactive. Watch your analytics, stick to your goals, and don’t be afraid to experiment when needed.

Social media can be hard to navigate, to improve your chances of succeeding, allow TotalCom to help you.

 

 

 

A Guide to Keyword Research for Your Healthcare Facility

There’s no need for me to go on and on about why keyword research is essential for your hospital’s marketing success. It is important however, to note there is no universal approach to executing keyword research. It will vary based on:

  • Website (authority, number of pages, quality of content, etc);
  • Goals and objectives (branding, exposure, traffic, leads, sales);
  • Budget, resources and deadlines;
  • Industry and competitive landscape.

I am going to give you a keyword research framework that can easily be adjusted depending on the goals and resources of your healthcare facility.

  1. Evaluate top healthcare websites.

By doing this, you can identify the most common navigation items and categories on leading industry sites. Just by studying your niche well, you can discover some great keywords.

  1. Use advanced search operators.

While searching for top healthcare websites, you can use Google’s advanced search operators to dig even deeper. You have operators at your fingertips that can provide significant and useful information.

Example: Searching “related: health.com” will bring you to sites similar to health.com. From here you can find more content and common keywords on other sites in the same industry.

  1. Google Suggest

The best free tool for keyword research is Google itself, especially with all of the features it uses to help searchers find exactly what they’re looking for. Google Suggest, is the feature that drops down a list of suggestions from the search box as soon as you start typing. For example, Google “doctor” and don’t hit enter. Instead make note of the drop-down search suggestions.

  1. Google Keyword Planner

Using Google’s Keyword Planner, paste your saved keyword list from the steps above into the “Product or Service” category and then evaluate the average monthly searches and competition for your area. Keyword planner will also suggest keywords and phrases to use based on your categories. Remember high competition is not always a reason to give up on a keyword. It all comes down to the balance between the business value of that keyword.

 

Since it all begins with words type into a search box, keyword research is considered one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the digital marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your healthcare website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.

 

Let us do the keyword research for you! Contact TotalCom to learn more about our healthcare marketing options.

Hospital Social Media Strategy Checklist

Are you satisfied with your hospital’s social media efforts?  Perhaps it is time to review and possibly revise your social media strategy. Here are some social media strategy DO’s and DONT’s for healthcare marketers.

Common Mistakes in Hospital Social Media Strategy

FIrst of all, taking a look at what “NOT” to do can be helpful. So here are a few of the “DONTs”.

  • Poor planning up front. “We need to be on Facebook” is not enough. Therefore, clearly define the goals, objectives, and metrics for measuring. After all, knowing what success looks like is important.
  • No content calendar. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process. In addition, the calendar needs to coincide with other hospital communication efforts, local events, and even the seasons.
  • No set schedule. Most posting is haphazard. Instead, post content at regular intervals, at opportune times.
  • Don’t leave it to marketing. Effective social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility. Therefore, involve the service line managers, physicians, HR, and department heads.
  • No procedure for responding. Because patients and others in the community will attempt to engage with your hospital online, have a system for handling these comments and responses, ahead of time.

Essential Elements of an Effective Healthcare Social Media Strategy

In addition, your social media strategy should answer many of these questions.

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What does success look like? Furthermore, how will we measure success?
  • Who is responsible? In addition, who is on the team?
  • What are the priorities?
  • Who are the target audiences?
  • Where will the content come from? Also, what about photos?
  • How will we involve doctors and other professionals?
  • What is the posting schedule?
  • How and who will  handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other communication efforts and channels?
  • What about boosted posts? And if so, what about budget?

In conclusion,  if you are looking to improve your hospital’s social media efforts, a review of the basics may go a long way.


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 many 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!

doctorholingclipboard

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.)

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 incredibly 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.

precision marketing

Is Precision Marketing the New Strategy for Hospital Marketing?

Many buzzwords are thrown around in the marketing field. One of the newer ones is precision marketing, a term to describe a data-driven, individualized approach to marketing that seeks to create loyal customers through highly targeted campaigns based on customer segmentation. Its goal is to retain existing customers rather than acquire new ones.

This makes sense, given that creating a new customer costs five to 10 times as much as selling to a customer you already have. In hospital marketing, your customers are patients, and you want them to return to your providers for years of treatment rather than go elsewhere.

Is precision marketing a viable strategy for hospital marketing? Or, is it yet another new buzzword with few practical implications?

Examining Precision Marketing in Detail

The major foundation of precision marketing is using data to help drive desired patient retention outcomes. For this reason, precision marketing is most often executed using digital marketing campaigns.

Digital marketing gives a hospital access to technology that can not only reach a large number of people in a small amount of time (using a smaller percentage of a marketing budget), but can also segment these individuals and target demographics with a laser focus.

For example, a hospital that seeks to retain obstetrics patients know that the typical customer for that department is female aged 20 to 35. Using social media and digital ad buys, a hospital can focus on that demographic and spread the message about the obstetrics practice. A hospital can also use a combination of surveys, social media, email marketing, and ad retargeting to directly target and illicit data from current and previous patients to not only learn more about their behaviors, but also build loyalty through repeated outreach and touchpoints.

The idea is that a personalized approach using data is preferable to mass-market appeals, especially with such a personalized and emotional field like healthcare. Customers are getting turned off and desensitized to marketing messages, which necessitates a more personalized approach.

Incorporating Precision Marketing into a Hospital Marketing Strategy

How does a hospital take advantage of this marketing method?

A hospital must first invest in a digital strategy. Precision marketing is best used in conjunction with a fully involved, multi faceted digital marketing campaign. Only digital provides the tools to combine data collection with coordinated, personalized reach to the individual.

Additionally, a hospital must invest in data collection and analysis. There must be a more concerted effort to build in-depth profiles about typical patients and demographics. Profiles should be as precise as possible. This allows the marketing department to build customized and personalized messages to be distributed via social, email, ads, direct mail, and more.

Furthermore, a hospital should invest in technology that allows advertising dollars to be spent in a more targeted manner, instead of a mass-market approach. For example, banner ads can be useful, but what is more useful is ad retargeting – ads that target visitors to a hospital’s website and then follow them around on the Internet for up to 120 days or beyond. These are more effective in connecting with current or previous patients and encourage visitors to revisit a website – which dramatically increases their chances of seeking the hospital for services in the future.

Taking the hospital marketing game to the next level means learning to adopt what works from precision marketing and using it to fill out a hospital’s digital efforts. Adopting the approach of data collection, analysis, market segmentation, and personalized approaches using a digital framework of message delivery could be a potent combination for hospitals in today’s age.

Contact TotalCom to learn more about precision marketing in hospital marketing campaigns.

primary care

The Growing Need to Market Primary Care in Hospital Marketing

The rise of alternative ways to access primary care – namely through the advent of primary care services offered by pharmacies, such as flu shots, medication management, and health/wellness advice – poses a challenge for hospitals that traditionally have relied on the strength of their primary care physicians to attract new patients.

Now, in today’s world, patients are turning to sources outside of hospitals to find primary care providers and are turning to hospitals either for specialty services or for emergencies – leaving a hole in a facility’s patient-acquisition funnel.

This leaves contemporary hospitals with a hospital marketing challenge: attracting new patients to a system for primary care versus only conducting service-oriented marketing campaigns that emphasize a specialty.

While there is still a place for specialty service oriented hospital marketing, the time is now for hospitals to take seriously the task of promoting their primary care physicians to the public.

The Role of a PCP as a Care Manager

These days, patients look to PCPs to serve as overall care managers instead of merely being care providers.

Patients aren’t going to PCPs so much for routine care as they are advice and guidance with managing everything from prescriptions to specialty care. In this way, a PCP is a gateway provider to a wide range of specialty services that a hospital provides. The PCP, in this respect, has become the main source of referrals to more specialized services – a source that, as time as gone by, has gotten away from hospitals and into the realm of private practice and non-hospital, non-clinic providers (like major pharmacies).

The rise of the Internet has also caused the role of the PCP to change. Patients are becoming more accustomed to self-diagnosing online and contacting a PCP only for a referral to a specialist. When viewed in this context, a PCP is no longer the frontline provider but instead is a portal to other services.

Since patients are looking for PCPs to be care managers, it’s important that hospital marketing campaigns portray them as such, and promote a PCPs as trusted, reliable resources for overall health and wellness for patients, especially since our population is aging.

Hospital Marketing Campaigns for Primary Care

To remain competitive, and to be a top-of-mind choice for initial care, hospitals need to do a better job of marketing their primary care physicians and promoting them to potential patients who are always in need of medical consultation and information.

Paid Search Advertising

One direct way to reach potential customers is to use paid search ads to promote individual physicians. These days, it appears that most marketing budgets go toward specialty care, leaving individual doctors behind. But even PCPs need concerted marketing support, and paid search can offer that in the form of clicks to individual doctors’ websites from people who are searching either for PCPs themselves (such as “family doctors in _____”) or information.

Content Marketing

Each PCP on staff should also be actively involved in content marketing, in the form of contributing to bylined blogs and articles.

Since patients are searching for this information, having a PCP deliver it in a trustworthy, reliable format (that is also easy to read) is enticing to a typical patient or parent who is choosing a PCP for the family. Content ideally should come from the doctors themselves and should be informative, educational, and engaging – offering advice and consultation for health and wellness that most patients will find useful.

Social Media Advertising

Promoting PCPs on social media is also effective, especially when coupled with social media advertising targeted toward those searching for providers online. Facebook in particular is a powerful platform for promoting posts featuring content from a highlighted doctor or for creating ads specifically designed to either promote a piece of content on the website (and by extension, the doctor whose name appears on it) or the physicians themselves.

The goal in all of these channels is to promote a hospital’s primary care physicians as the first-recourse resources. The benefits of taking a primary care centered approach are numerous, but most hospitals still shy away from emphasizing primary care in their hospital marketing campaigns.

Contact TotalCom for more information on how you can forge a new hospital marketing campaign that places the spotlight on primary care and opens the gates for new patients.

 

 

 

unified hospital marketing and branding

Tips for Creating a Unified Hospital Marketing Brand

Take a look at all of your branded material online — your social media profiles, your website, the blogs you create, the emails you send out, your graphics, your display ads, and anything else that is associated with your brand.

If you were to remove the logos, would all those pieces look similar/related? Would there still be a unified, consistent look among all of those elements — or would you not be able to tell they even came from the same company?

If the latter, you may have a problem with brand consistency for your hospital marketing campaign.

Learn more about why brand consistency is important and how you can build a stronger, more unified brand for your hospital.

Why Brand Consistency Matters

People have an innate ability to recognize patterns. We also have an innate ability to recognize and associate with brands, in that we notice what makes a brand stand out and recognize those elements when we see them later — and also, we build positive or negative connections between a brand and our opinion of it.

For example, seeing a physical example of McDonald’s “Golden Arches” is commonplace. We all know what those arches mean, just as we know what it means when we read McDonald’s tagline, “I’m Lovin’ It” or see one of the company’s advertisements. You could remove the logo entirely from the restaurants and the company’s marketing materials and you’d still be able to tell from the company’s consistent use of various other brand elements that you were standing in a McDonald’s (or reading/viewing a McDonald’s advertisement). And of course, every time you notice one of these elements, you experience emotions and thoughts about the brand (good or bad).

Brand consistency matters because it’s these strong brand connections that ultimately drive business. This is especially important when it comes to hospital marketing. A hospital isn’t a place people go because they want to — they only go there when they need to. And since no one knows exactly when he or she is going to experience that need, it’s important to ensure that your brand is “top of mind” when the time comes. Otherwise, your customer could choose another provider.

The simple truth is, people choose whomever has the strongest, most memorable brand. But you can’t make your brand strong or memorable without also making it consistent, and ensuring that it delivers the same message, no matter where your audience sees it.

Creating Brand Consistency

First and foremost, your hospital should have a brand guide. This is a document that codifies all that the brand is — not just how it looks, but also the brand messages to be communicated. This guide is where you spell out slogans, taglines, core values, messages, talking points, and the like —anything, that is, that can be used to create a message that a potential patient will encounter.

Of course, how a brand looks does also matter, tremendously. That’s why a style guide should be a part of the brand guide. The style guide dictates, to the finest detail, how the brand will look — which is key to ensuring consistency in any graphic you create, whether it’s a Facebook page, a print ad, a display ad, a social media post, an infographic, or a logo for a TV commercial.

Your guide can get very specific in detailing brand directions for each medium. For example, if you run ads on television, your guide can dictate what branding elements will be in each commercial. If you post on social media and create images for the post, you can stipulate what each image must look like and contain.

Everyone on your team needs to have the brand guide and be on board with it. This is crucial for successful hospital marketing. Otherwise, you’ll have different people creating different things — applying brand elements inconsistently across marketing materials. And that lack of consistency dilutes your brand.

Periodically, check your brand and review it to make sure it’s:

  • Coherent
  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Cohesive
  • Convincing

All of these qualities need to be in place, especially the cohesive aspect. Your brand should have the same uniform appearance wherever it appears. Checking it on a regular basis — maybe once a quarter — not only gives you opportunities to revise it if needed, but also keeps everyone on the same page.

Get Better Hospital Marketing with TotalCom

If you’re interested in advancing your hospital marketing campaign with consistent branding across all media, contact TotalCom Marketing. We’d be more than happy to help create winning branding campaigns that improve recognition and build trust within your market.