Although it might seem as though retailers, restaurants and, well, sometimes the government are the only parties that really need online marketing strategies to improve their performances, the truth of the matter is that organizations in virtually every sector can benefit from these processes. As consumers continue to flood into the digital marketplace, leaving behind the lonesome highway filled with billboards that will never be read, health care providers might want to start thinking about Internet-based advertising investments.
Of course, these firms will have to be a bit more careful with their marketing messages, especially when compared to a beer brewer or toy manufacturer, as the audience will not likely be viewing these communications with as light of a heart. Still, intelligent, well-informed, highly professional and sometimes funny approaches to online marketing in the medical sector can help to drive brand stature and improve both prospect conversions and client retention.
The health care sector, like many others, has seen a massive increase in the level of saturation and competition as a result of the overall U.S. economy improving following the end of the recession. Now is the time to get on top of more progressive strategies that will solidify a company's competitive edge in the future, and this can all be taken care of through an integrated and coherent advertising strategy that involves several common components.
Here are five considerations for health care providers who are beginning to enter the wild world of Internet advertising and brand management.
1. Thought leadership
Many businesses are beginning to launch blogs and other content-related marketing strategies to increase their clout in their industries, ensuring that current and prospective clientele are aware of just how much they know about what they are talking about. As one could guess, this has led to a highly saturated blogging environment, and new thought leaders are appearing and disappearing with the passing of each day.
This simply cannot happen for a health care organization, as the stakes are a bit higher when talking about medical matters. As such, leaders in charge of developing this type of marketing strategy should always ensure that consistency, accuracy and accountability are the three highest priorities from the outset of the initiative.
2. Social media
Social media channels are becoming more and more suitable for marketing and client retention strategies as the websites continue to reach a certain level of maturity in the market. Medical organizations might not want to necessarily jump into raw social media advertising, but supplementing other aspects of the overarching branding process can be beneficial.
Furthermore, social media can be used as a competitive tool to engage existing customers and keep all clientele on the same page. To this same end, social media websites might be a helpful addition to disaster recovery and response strategies.
3. Email advertising
Email marketing continues to be the most effective form of digital advertising in terms of conversion rates, which is why so many retailers and restaurants continue to flood whoever's inbox they can with new deals and other communications. From a health care perspective, the strongest approach to email marketing might instead be the transmission of announcements about new reports and studies being available, or information about new services, rather than true advertisements of new products.
4. Affiliate marketing
Another highly effective form of advertising in terms of conversion rates, affiliate programs can fit the needs of the average medical organization quite nicely, especially considering how many corporate connections are found in this sector. By working together with affiliates, such as other hospitals in a network or common insurance providers and sponsors, the marketing process can become more affordable and robust.
5. Traditional frameworks
Consumers do still pay attention to traditional marketing strategies that do not take place over the World Wide Web, despite what we might have said at the beginning of this blog. However, failure to find ways to link the traditional advertising investments with digital ones can lead to significant issues. As such, when medical organizations are entering this arena, they should focus on coherence and consistency among the various strategies.
Integration, cohesion separate winners from losers
Regardless of which type of medical organization might be jumping into the marketing realm, the most important consideration to remember is the proper integration of each component into the overarching brand management strategy. Consumers are becoming increasingly astute about the slight nuances in marketing voices and objectives, and failure to ensure consistency across channels will lead to a poor or fragmented brand stature.
Medical organizations can sidestep these types of problems proactively by simply engaging in well-informed strategic planning, bringing as many stakeholders into the early stages as possible. This way, all of the individuals who will be tasked with managing the communications each day will have clear lines of communication, driving long-term success and consistency.