The role of doctors as brand ambassadors is no longer a new concept and with the shift to online marketing, the importance of medical professionals in marketing has increased.
The value of doctor-patient relationships makes them a perfect fit for marketing, whether it’s through traditional channels or new innovative ones.
Marketing to patients via social media is becoming commonplace, with many healthcare organisations establishing accounts on key platforms. While this reaches a wider audience than any one doctor could alone, it still requires human input to manage the content being published and to keep up with the fast pace of change in this area.
The traditional face-to-face consultations that formed the cornerstone of medical care are being disrupted by new technologies. Email messages, video calls, and online consultations are increasing the distance between patients and healthcare professionals.
With healthcare consumers relying more and more on digital platforms to find information, MDs can play an important role in marketing due to their established brand presence among patients. However, being a digital marketer doesn’t mean that all your marketing activities will be online and this article will define the role of MDs in online marketing.
Why Are Medical Professionals Important Role Models For Consumers?
The face of medicine is changing as more and more people seek healthcare online, which provides healthcare professionals with a larger audience than ever before. While this is great for the spread of potentially life-saving information, it also means that patients are no longer restricted to seeing their doctor when they’re sick.
With the ability to video call with a specialist, and gain instant access to medical information, the line between patient and doctor has blurred.
The rise of online healthcare has opened up new opportunities for patients, with more people able to afford the services of a private physician. Additionally, while the main goal of a consultation is to help the patient, with the expertise of a digital marketer at hand, marketing becomes an important component of the service too.
With many people seeing healthcare as a commodity, due to the lack of government intervention in healthcare pricing, brands, and companies are stepping in to make a difference. One method is to establish a personal relationship with the consumer, and create a brand ambassador that the patient can trust and connect with.
Having a personal connection with a brand or product is more valuable than ever before, and this extends to healthcare. When patients see healthcare professionals, especially medical professionals, as brand ambassadors for a company, it builds trust and credibility that can potentially lead to greater engagement with the brand.
Whether you’re a patient, a healthcare professional, or a company aiming to break into the healthcare market, the role of a brand ambassador is a crucial one. By creating a relationship with potential customers/clients, you’re creating value and establishing trust, which is the basis of all marketing.
What Is the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising?
One of the most important lessons that can be learned from those entering the field is the difference between marketing and advertising.
Advertising is a broad term that can include all forms of marketing, but it more specifically relates to the paid media that a brand or product places in front of the consumer.
Paid advertising, whether it’s through TV ads, radio spots, or even online ads, is a fast and easy way to reach a large audience with little effort. Although this might be appealing, paid advertising doesn’t build sustainable long-term relationships. When you pay for advertising, you’re essentially purchasing a one-time message.
On the other hand, marketing is much more than advertising and it includes all the activities that a brand or product undertake to promote itself, whether that’s digital or traditional marketing.
Traditional marketing includes things like television commercials, print ads, and radio spots. But, to keep up with the times, many large brands and companies are moving to digital marketing as well, which can take many forms.
Keeping up with all the changes in the field is challenging and with the growing influence of social media, marketers need to be aware of which platforms their audience uses and how to reach them. Establishing a relationship with existing and potential customers via social media is an important part of the digital marketing mix.
Building a digital marketing strategy entails more than simply putting up ads on platforms like Google or Facebook. Although these can be important tools, alone they don’t form a complete strategy.
To ensure that you’re reaching the right audience and can engage with them, you need to consider the platforms that your target audience uses and how you can use social media to gain their trust and grow your business.
Digital Marketing Strategy
As mentioned above, marketing is a lot more than advertising and to fully understand the role of MDs in marketing, you need to develop a digital marketing strategy.
A digital marketing strategy is a roadmap that defines your efforts towards marketing your brand or product online. It can be a guide to help you determine the best course of action for your business, whether that’s marketing through social media, SEO, or otherwise.
To create a strategic digital marketing plan, you must start with a clear understanding of your goals and the metrics that you’ll use to measure your progress. From there, you can work backwards and map out the steps that you’ll need to take to grow your business online.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
If you want to gain quick traction in the online marketplace, you need to optimise your site for search engines such as Google and Bing.
When a consumer types in a keyword or phrase into the search bar of Google, your site will appear as a result. If you want someone to discover your site when they’re searching for something, you need to make sure that your site appears near the top of the results.
To achieve top spot on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to submit your site to the search engines and let them do their thing. Regularly checking the search results for your keywords is important for understanding how well you’re doing and if you need to make any changes to your strategy.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
If you want to grow your business via social media, you need to establish yourself as a reputable presence on the platforms that your target audience uses.
Just because you have a Twitter account doesn’t mean that you should automatically approach every marketing opportunity with a tweet. To find the best opportunities, you need to engage with your audience on different platforms.
Building a robust social media strategy entails more than just having a presence on key platforms though. To engage with your audience, you need to consider what content you’ll share, and how you’ll share it.
The ideal social media marketing (SMM) plan is a combination of content published across key platforms with the right hashtags to give the content the best shot at reaching its audience. This also means that you’ll need to consider the interests of your audience when planning content. For example, if you’re marketing to women, your content might focus on topics like fashion or style. If you want to attract users in Asia, your content could focus on international business.
What Is the Objective of Online Marketing?
With the rise of digital marketing, the objective of marketing online has changed from attracting customers to a store or website to providing value and building trust.
Building a community and expanding your reach to more people is now the standard approach to online marketing instead of just driving sales. In the past, if you wanted to market a brand or product online, you would have focused on getting as many page views as possible to attract potential customers. With the rise of social media platforms, the objective has shifted to engaging with your audience and establishing credibility.
In today’s world, consumers have lots of choices and with the ability to research information online, they have the power to be well-informed about all the options available to them. As a result, being memorable and providing value are the two important factors that help distinguish your brand or product online.
The Changing Face of Medicine
The practice of medicine has changed significantly over the past few years and with the development of new technologies, the line between patient and doctor has blurred.
While this might be appealing for those seeking healthcare, established brands and providers have had to evolve with the times too. To stay viable, they’ve had to adapt to the new environment and change how they operate.
The speed with which new technologies emerge makes it difficult to keep up and while some industries have adapted better than others, medicine is one area where this has manifested itself.