Paid search

Stay Relevant with “Pay to Play” in Digital Marketing

Even if you’re new to marketing, you’ve probably heard the term “pay to play.” This phrase basically means that you’ll need to spend money to get ahead. Think of the cliché “spend money to make money.” The “pay to play” strategy dominates digital marketing. With shifts in online behavior and channel updates, you can expect to reassess your digital marketing budget to stay relevant. The bottom line? If you want to reach as many potential or returning patients as possible, especially with a high frequency, you’ll need to allocate more of your budget toward advertising and marketing.

The Rise of “Pay to Play”

traditional marketing and digital marketing utilize your advertising budget differently.

The concept of “pay to play” isn’t new. In traditional marketing, larger budgets typically mean more impressions and a greater impact on your audiences. In digital marketing, CPMs have been on the rise, requiring marketers to dig deeper into their pockets to stay relevant.  Largely gone are the days of an organic social post going viral and driving interest in a brand. Algorithm updates and shifting consumer expectations require strategic evaluations and budget reallocations.

Though “pay to play” has its drawbacks, it’s here to stay because it’s effective. With digital marketing in particular, search engine marketing and social media platforms give businesses more ways to reach potential customers, build brand awareness, and show ads when they’re ready to buy. Plus, with more people cutting the cord and opting into video streaming, there are more opportunities than ever to reach new audiences—if you’re willing to invest.

Digital Dives and Doubts

The growing turbulence within social media isn’t something marketers can ignore. In April, Meta—the company formerly known as Facebook—reported a 21 percent drop in profits for the first quarter of 2022 compared to the prior year. In the same week, Elon Musk purchased tech giant Twitter for $44 billion, causing many users to leave the site within a day of the announcement.

Growing turbulence from social media platforms makes digital marketing uncertain for some.

On top of business concerns, ever-changing algorithms have users and marketers alike frustrated. Facebook’s organic reach has been dwindling since 2018 and a recent Instagram update reportedly decreases the reach of reposted content. For healthcare brands using digital marketing, recent health and privacy advertising policy updates can result in erroneously rejected ads that require practices to spend time submitting appeals and making creative changes.

there are 3.96 billion social media users world wide. On average, adults spend 95 minutes per day on social media

Despite all the concerns, social media marketing is still one of the best ways to reach potential customers. As of January 2022, there are reportedly 3.96 billion social media users. Adults are spending more time than ever on social media, averaging 95 minutes of use per day.

The Value Of Influencer Marketing

According to Nielsen, 56% of global audiences trust influencer marketing

A marketer with Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Mich., recently shared that he wished influencer marketing would go away. He prefers using knowledgeable healthcare professionals to influence patients and the public about decisions involving their health. According to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Study, 56 percent of global audiences trust influencer marketing. Changing consumer patterns demand changes in patient experience at every touchpoint. That means connecting with them where they go for information. Expectant and new mothers reach out to mommy bloggers. Someone diagnosed with cancer may look for support from someone on social media who shares that experience.

Finding and partnering with influencers aligned with your brand can reach new audiences. But don’t forget that you’re expected to pay for their influence. Influencers are no longer just social media users and bloggers that accept and review gifted products. As with other media agreements, you’ll need to negotiate the cost, execute a contract, set goals, and measure results. Keeping your brand relevant now means paying to play across all channels.

If you need to update your social and/or traditional media strategy, we welcome a conversation. Email Lori Moore or call TotalCom Marketing Communications at 205.345.7363.

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 and leverage family practice marketing tactics.

Now, in today’s digital age, patients are turning to sources outside of hospitals to find primary care providers. They are opting for hospitals either for specialty services or emergencies, creating a void in a facility’s patient acquisition funnel.

This shift poses 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’s undeniable value in specialty service-oriented hospital marketing, the current landscape underscores the importance of hospital marketing ideas that prioritize primary care.

The Role of a PCP as a Care Manager

These days, patients view PCPs not just as care providers, but as holistic care managers. They expect guidance on everything from prescriptions to specialty care, making the PCP a gateway to various specialty services a hospital offers. The pCP has transitioned into a primary source for referrals to more specialized services – a domain once dominated by hospitals but now shifts towards private practice and non-hospital, non-clinic providers.

The rise of the Internet has also transformed the PCP’s role. These days, patients are 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.

Given this changing landscape, it’s imperative for hospital marketing campaigns to portray PCPs as trusted care managers and promote them as reliable health and wellness resources.

Hospital Marketing Campaigns for Primary Care

To stay competitive, hospitals must enhance their primary care marketing efforts. The goal is to position their primary care physicians at the forefront and appeal to potential patients always in search of medical consultation and information.

Paid Search Advertising

A potent strategy to directly engage potential patients is through paid search ads promoting individual physicians. Recent trends indicate a significant portion of marketing budgets being allocated to specialty care, often sidelining individual doctors. However, even PCPs warrant dedicated marketing support. Paid search can facilitate this by directing traffic to individual doctors’ websites from people actively searching for PCPs or related information.

Content Marketing

Each PCP should actively partake in content marketing by contributing to bylined blogs and articles. Since patients are searching for this information, having a PCP deliver it in a credible, easy-to-digest format is invaluable. This content should be informative, educational, and engaging – offering advice and consultation for health and wellness that patients find useful.

Social Media Advertising

Promoting PCPs on platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be highly effective, especially when paired with detailed audience targeting – the bread and butter of social media advertising. This approach can spotlight a particular doctor’s content or promote the physicians themselves, emphasizing their role in primary care.

Ultimately, the objective across all channels is to position a hospital’s primary care physicians as primary resources. The advantages of a primary care-centric approach are manifold, yet many hospitals remain hesitant to emphasize primary care in their hospital marketing campaigns.

Contact TotalCom to discover how you can spearhead a new hospital marketing campaign that emphasizes primary care and attracts a broader patient base.