Online Healthcare Marketing – What You Need to Know

In the field of healthcare, online marketing and social media have become a fundamental tool for staying ahead of the curve. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every major medical center and healthcare provider now has an online presence. Whether you’re a large academic medical center or a small rural hospital, it’s crucial to have an online strategy in place.

But while the use of social media for marketing has become ubiquitous, the definitions of “social media” and “marketing online” can be a bit vague. Which platforms should you be using? How should you be using them? What will your strategy be?

The Dichotomy Of Marketing And Sales

The line between marketing and sales can be blurry and somewhat ambiguous, at least in the traditional sense. After all, marketing is essentially just a form of advertising, and advertising is essentially just marketing with an element of salesmanship involved. During the pandemic, the distinctions between the two have become even more blurred, as healthcare providers have had to shift their focus entirely to the needs of their patients.

But regardless of the terms used to describe it, the line between marketing and sales is distinct, at least in theory. Traditionally, marketers create brand awareness and interest among prospective customers, while salespeople close the deal and convert that interest into actual paying customers. Thanks to technology, those roles have blurred a bit, with marketers playing a more active role in sales and vice versa. But perhaps the most crucial change has been the blurring of the distinctions between the two functions. Marketing has become a core component of sales and vice versa. Marketing drives interest and awareness among potential customers, which in turn allows for more effective and efficient sales – a full circle that benefits society as a whole.

The Importance of Digital Marketing In The Healthcare Industry

The role of digital marketing in the healthcare industry cannot be understated. Thanks to the internet and social media, people now have access to an immense amount of information, which they can use to educate themselves and engage with communities.

During the pandemic, individuals have turned to their smartphones and digital marketplaces in droves. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 59% of healthcare marketers say their primary source of traffic is from digital marketing and marketing automation tools, while only 45% cite organic search.

With the right strategy and execution, digital marketing can play an integral role in your healthcare marketing plan. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness and obtain patient trust, inbound marketing, social media, and SEO are three pillars that you can use to achieve that. Moreover, these tactics can help you analyze and understand your audience’s preferences, allowing you to craft more effective strategies.

The Four Pillars Of Inbound Marketing

The inbound marketing methodology is a process of discovery and engagement, aimed at driving leads and customers to your company rather than simply selling a product or service to them. Inbound marketing encourages marketers to pull back the curtain and expose the inner workings of their organization – providing an understanding of how the sausage is made. In other words, you work with your customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders to define the problem and then craft a viable solution that all parties can support.

This “discovery” phase often begins with a bit of research into your audience’s needs and wants. Thanks to advancements in digital marketing and data analysis, this phase no longer needs to be limited to just collecting demographic information. With a bit of digital detective work, you can find a lot of valuable information about your audience – their interests, pains points, demographics, and so on.

Once you have this information, you can begin to develop personas, or prototypes of your ideal buyer. This helps you identify the elements that make them unique, and allows for the crafting of more effective marketing materials. While you can certainly use surveys and other quantitative methodologies to flesh out your buyer’s persona, you should not be afraid to also use your imagination and creativity to come up with a picture of your ideal buyer. After all, that’s how you will sell the product or service – through imagination rather than through numbers.

Use Personas To Craft Marketing Materials

The information you’ve collected during the discovery phase can be used to craft engaging marketing materials aimed at persuading prospective buyers to engage with your company. To begin with, you can use personas to write engaging blog posts and vlogs, design compelling infographics, and develop highly visual content like webinars and podcasts. As an increasingly visual society, individuals are also doing their best to take the information they’re learning in school and apply it to real world situations. One of the best ways to have informational graphics and visual aids in your marketing is through infographics – graphical representations of information that are frequently used to promote a product or service. Thanks to the prevalence of infographics throughout social media, it’s easy for consumers to consume information this way – and even easier to share these materials because they’re often interactive and engaging.

What’s more is that with the right design, infographics can be quite effective in garnering interest and raising awareness among prospective customers – and even some existing customers.

Engage With Your Audience On Social Media

The internet and social media have blurred the lines between businesses and individuals, enabling anyone with a smartphone to become a potential customer or lead.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every major healthcare provider and research institute now has a presence on social media. And while these platforms have become incredibly useful to disseminate information during this time, it’s also an opportunity to engage with your audience and establish meaningful connections. For instance, if you’re a patient of a particular healthcare provider or research center, you can follow their accounts on social media to keep up with the latest news and developments pertaining to your field of interest.

Whether you’re a clinician, scientist, or someone who manages a healthcare company’s social media channels, it’s crucial to be active on these platforms to maintain an online presence.

Social media isn’t just about marketing, as you can also use these channels to raise awareness about important issues, offer support to those affected, or simply allow users to engage with your content. Moreover, it should not be overlooked that these are extremely useful tools to monitor and analyze marketing and sales activity – whether that’s looking at the number of views a particular blog post or Instagram photo received, or analyzing the demographics of a particular audience or following. With the right tools, it’s easy to track the success of your social media strategy and analyze metrics like clicks, engagements, and conversions – all of which can help you gain a better understanding of how effective this strategy is and allow you to refine and evolve it as needed. If you’re only considering using social media for marketing, it’s important to remember that these are essential tools for maintaining a digital presence – regardless of whether you’re a business or an individual.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the presence of a website or blog in internet search results – regardless of whether those results are sponsored or organic.

The task of SEO is often simplified to “simplify your business,” as websites that are optimized for search engines generally tend to have fewer words and simpler structures than those that are not. Therefore, it’s frequently used to improve the content and structures of small business sites and blogs – providing them with a better chance of being found when someone searches for a product or service that they offer.

SEO can also be used to increase the number of website visits through organic means – with no paid promotions. Thanks to the success of businesses like Google and Amazon, SEO has become one of the most popular online marketing strategies and is used by nearly every major Internet-based business.

The importance of SEO in the online world cannot be stressed enough – and it’s a crucial component of every digital marketing strategy. It can literally increase your site traffic by thousands or even tens of thousands of visitors per week, depending on the size of your site and how effective your strategy is. Thanks to the success of SEO and the emergence of digital marketing as a whole, the line between marketing and sales is increasingly blurred – with marketing now playing a crucial role in the sale of a product or service.

Mobile Marketing

With more people accessing the internet from their phones than ever before, it follows that online marketing would be affected as well – and that mobile marketing would emerge as a crucial tool in the field. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 68% of healthcare marketers say their primary source of traffic is from mobile marketing and marketing automation tools.