Our lifestyles have changed significantly in the past decade. Just like our lives, the world outside has changed too. This change is visible in the healthcare industry too. Today, digital marketing for hospitals is a must in the healthcare industry.
People are no longer required to visit the nearest option thanks to the expansion of the internet and the dominance of various search engines.
These days, anyone with a mobile phone can go to the internet and find out the best hospitals near them for a specific situation.
In addition, more and more healthcare experts are providing accessible online services and reducing the distance between doctors and patients. So, now, customers have the ability to select a hospital that provides a user experience that will match or exceed their expectations.
In a time like this, running an online promotional campaign for your hospital is the perfect way to attract service seekers and potential customers.
But, digital marketing for hospitals in 2022 should do much more than just advertise your hospital if you want it to be effective. Your campaign should be unique, and interesting, and push your targeted audience to take the next step.
That is why, in today’s write-up, I will be discussing everything you need to know to promote your healthcare brand digitally. Let’s get started.
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Is Digital Marketing Necessary In Healthcare?
In the era of technology, digital marketing is perhaps the most effective and powerful marketing tool. With the help of the internet, the world is rapidly changing and so is the healthcare industry.
Almost every hospital is planning strategies to promote itself in a better way. To effectively provide service to patients, hospitals need to work with digital tools. From email marketing to social media, the possibilities are endless.
Let’s take a look at some more reasons why digital marketing is needed in healthcare.
In this digital age, going online is the ideal way to reach your targeted audience. These days, every time someone needs to visit a hospital for a certain test or wants to visit a specialist, they hop online and search for the best hospital treating that cause.
There was a time when people would use their computers to look for an answer, but now millennials use their phones to do that same task. It is because they want a quick answer to their question.
By targeting a specific group with the help of digital marketing, you can easily promote a hospital.
There used to be a time when patients went to a hospital after a friend or acquaintance recommended that place to them. But nowadays, patients no longer do that. Anybody can find out about a place with just one click thanks to the internet.
Research shows that just in the US, around 90% of people look up a hospital, its reviews, and reputation before going to it. With the help of digital marketing, one can shape and define a hospital’s reputation easily.
If a hospital has a good online reputation regarding its services, facility, etc. then more patients will visit them.
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In the US, almost 45% of patients research information about their doctors before visiting them. Online health information regarding service providers is a must for many before visiting them.
In fact, in the US, searching for health info is the third biggest online activity. The reason behind such an act is because of the dependency on the internet.
As the times are changing and people are depending more on the internet now, hospitals need to try their best and spread the word about their excellent staff.
Faster And More Effective
Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Running a promotional campaign for a hospital was no easy job even 20 years ago. There was so much to do and so much to plan for with a physical campaign.
On top of that, the response and result were quite vague too. But now, thanks to digital marketing, those days are over. Running a digital campaign is much faster and easier. All you need to do is plan a strong and efficient strategy.
The responses can be easily tracked and viewed as well. Another great benefit of a digital campaign is it can be localized very easily. Your digital campaign can be customized according to the targeted audience.
For example, the strategy for digital marketing in a suburban area will not be the same as running a digital campaign in an urbanized area.
How To Get Started
Having a digital presence is essential, but doing it without a plan is not a good idea. Before you hop onto Instagram to create an account, you should have a strategy to promote your hospital through digital marketing.
Without the perfect strategy, promoting to the right audience can be quite hard.
Before planning a strategy, you need to have a clear concept of how it works. The first question that arises when planning strategies to promote a hospital through digital marketing is, “who is the targeted audience?”
The targeted audience can be divided mainly into two types.
A. Internal customers.
B. External customers.
The first part refers to the people related to and working for the hospital i.e. the doctors, nurses, staff, etc. A hospital needs to build its internal reputation by targeting these people. External customers, on the other hand, are the patients, their families, etc.
They are not a part of the medical ecosystem and are only seeking service.
Moving on, let’s talk about strategy now. I will also discuss a few ideas and examples of strategies to promote your hospital with digital marketing but before that, I will be talking about how you can plan a strategy.
Any digital marketing strategies for promoting a hospital should consist of the following factors.
Analyze The Current Situation
Analyzing the current customer base will leave you with an understanding of where your brand stands right now. This will also help you to understand and plan your strategy in the most effective way.
A hospital with no digital presence and a hospital with an existing digital presence that is no longer effective will use different strategies. This is why understanding your current scenario comes as the first step in planning strategies.
If you already have a digital presence, then analyzing how effective it is will give you the insight to change your plans. Since digital metrics are always accurate, you can track the result and find out exactly where you are lacking. The next step would be to change that specific part and customize it according to your targeted audience.
Define The Purpose Of The Campaign
Whether you are doing a digital campaign for a hospital or a local boutique, one thing remains the same. You always have to define your objective. In simpler words, you will need to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve from this specific campaign.
Are you planning to increase sales and revenue from outpatients or are you trying to build a solid customer base first?
A marketing campaign targeted to create brand awareness will differ vastly from a campaign created to generate sales.
Know Your Audience
Many will agree that one of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is that it can be highly localized. It can be tailored according to your targeted audience, unlike offline and physical campaigns.
To ensure the effectiveness of your campaign, you must understand and know your audience.
If you do not have a clear idea of who your buyers are, the chances of your campaign appealing to them are quite low. Collect details such as gender, resident location, age group, etc. to define your targeted group.
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Plan A Budget
In order to build an ironclad digital marketing strategy, planning your budget is better. Some people follow a multi-step campaign while some have a 3-step campaign. The elaboration and focus of your campaign depend on your budget.
Many believe planning a strategy and then planning a budget depending on that is a good idea. However, planning a strategy without a budget plan also means you may cross the budget by a mile and end up not doing several steps from your marketing campaign.
This will ultimately hurt the process and slow down the campaign. This is why planning the budget and then planning the campaign in accordance is a better option.
Pick The Methods
There are several channels and methods you can follow while promoting your hospital digitally. Organic methods such as SEO, SMM, etc. are non-paid and mean your audience will get to know your brand in an organic way.
Paid methods include advertisements on several websites and social media. For paid methods, knowing your audience is a must. You can also promote your healthcare brand using channels such as social media, email marketing, videos, search engines, etc.
5 Digital Marketing Strategies For Hospitals
Even if your existing patient numbers are good, there is always a chance of customers taking their business elsewhere.
Consider all of the reasons why someone would opt to change their hospital or doctor.
Digital marketing for hospitals cannot happen without a well-planned marketing strategy that makes customers interested in your brand.
To increase revenue and engagement, the ideal healthcare marketing campaigns include multi-channel, specifically targeted, and customized online and offline activities. Here are 10 digital marketing strategies to get you started.
This method focuses on generating and sharing relevant and appealing content that will make your target audience interested in your services.
The most common methods for promoting hospitals through content marketing are usually infographics, blogging, videos, etc.
With the help of content marketing, you can increase quality traffic to your website. It is a long-term marketing strategy but it is highly effective in terms of creating brand awareness. By distributing value-adding content, you are slowly building a solid customer base.
The biggest advantage of this marketing tactic is that it uses creativity to generate leads. Now you can be as creative as you want while tracking results.
The first step of content marketing is always picking your audience. Do you offer specific treatments such as IVF?
Then, your content should be something that can appeal to infertility patients, since they will read and look up a lot of content related to this specific topic. In this case, do not forget to use the right keywords.
You can produce content in many ways. Publishing elaborative blogs on your website regarding various medical treatments is a good way to attract patients to your website and your hospital. Creating informative videos can be quite effective as well.
With value-adding content, your potential customers will be able to find the right kind of information for a lot of medical problems.
This will lead to a formation of trust between the service provider aka your hospital and the service seeker i.e. the patients. And with the help of that trust, these potential patients will eventually come to your hospital.
Social Media Marketing
In this digital era, people use social media for everything. It is a great place to do business, build a solid customer base or community, and engage with your audience in every possible way.
Many believe social media marketing is not effective enough for hospitals. But that is not true at all. For any healthcare brand, having a social media presence is a must.
If a potential buyer sees your ad, they are most likely to search your hospital on Facebook or Twitter to find authentic user reviews. With a strong social media presence, you can attract potential customers, and can maintain a good relationship with your existing patients.
This will help you with generating sales and keep the customer base ironclad.
Having an official account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn is a must for a hospital to have a strong social media presence.
Facebook is the most popular social media amongst all the others and is where you should start. An elaborate guide of what you do, a professional bio, and an album of pictures of your hospital will give customers a clear idea about your hospital.
Posting regularly with informative content, and images will also increase your audience. You can also do paid promotions on Facebook for better engagement.
If you already have a Facebook page, then try to do the abovementioned things. Doing these will get you the right kind of audience for your hospital.
With Instagram, the methods are slightly different. While informative and elaborate contents work great on Facebook, it might not be as popular on Instagram. You can use images of your hospital, and staff to promote your hospital and build a connection with your audience.
Email marketing is one of the most common and effective ways of marketing approaches in healthcare marketing. It is also connected to content marketing and SEO marketing. This approach depends primarily on your website traffic.
With good content and better exposure, you will have more visitors or traffic to your website. When a potential customer is visiting your website, you can offer them to sign up for an email subscription.
Now, many people may not sign up right away as they will not see any benefits in doing that. This is why you will have to offer them a free lead magnet like a free e-book, or a discount of some sort. Anything that adds value can be used in this case.
Once these visitors have subscribed to your email newsletter, you can reach out to them without any issues. Every time there is a campaign going on, you can email it to them to pique their interest.
You can send automated emails every week as well. You can email special packages, treatment offers, updates, etc. as well.
This marketing approach is far more personal than any other marketing strategy and can be highly effective if done correctly.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization or SEO is an organic or non-paid method to digitally promote your healthcare brand. It is the process of optimizing your hospital website so that it ranks better in search engine results for keywords and terms connected to your hospital.
With the search engine optimization strategy, your website will rank better in organic search results, increasing the exposure of your content to customers searching for the services you are offering on search engines like Google.
With more keywords ranking, your website will rank higher on search engines. This will eventually lead to more potential patients noticing your website and becoming familiar with it.
Search engine optimization or SEO is better than search engine marketing or SEM for creating brand awareness and building a solid customer base. However, with SEO, the results will take time.
SEO will bring quality traffic to your website and your brand. To get better and more effective results out of this method, you will need to conduct patient persona research, use the right keywords, and On-page SEO.
Lots of people believe influencer marketing is not effective enough in terms of healthcare marketing. But this could not be further from the truth. It all depends on which celebrity you are working with and who your audiences are.
Influencer marketing has been used as part of digital marketing for a long time now. With this strategy, you can collaborate with a celebrity belonging to your area to promote the services that your brand or hospital is offering to their fans and followers.
This strategy is more effective when done with a professional whose followers overlap with your targeted audience. It is why I previously mentioned researching their fans first.
This strategy is extremely successful because most celebrities have a solid fanbase who will trust their words and try their recommended services.
1. What are the hospital marketing strategies?
Ans: There are several types of hospital marketing strategies. All approaches have the same purpose, to generate revenue and build a solid customer base.
The usage of consistent healthcare branding with the help of social media, search engines, content, and email lists can help you promote your hospital easily.
2. How do hospitals market on social media?
Ans: Marketing your hospital on social media consists of posting user-engaging content all across several social networking sites. Sharing health information and news while staying active on social media accounts and pages can attract a lot of potential patients.
Highlighting achievements, be it the hospitals or your staff, on social media can also create brand awareness. Posting user-generated content will also attract the targeted audience in a great way.
3. Why is social media marketing important in healthcare?
Ans: Social media are the biggest means of networking nowadays. Almost everyone has a Facebook account now. With social media marketing, you can create tailored content for the targeted users.
This will improve the quality of care. With the help of social networking sites, you can raise awareness, educate, and inform patients on many medical issues.
A solid social media presence also allows transparency which will lead to a greater relationship between the hospital and its patients.
4. What is hospital branding?
Ans: Hospital branding is the process of defining and forming the reputation of a healthcare brand or a hospital. With hospital branding, one can easily change and improve the way a specific hospital is perceived.
Your reputation and brand mostly depend on the way your patients perceive your hospital, its services, its facilities, and its staff. With this approach, your patients will receive an improved quality of care and your brand image will improve too.
The effectiveness and success of digital marketing for hospitals entirely depend on the strategy and execution.
Research shows that just in the U.S. around 75% of college graduates use the internet to look up symptoms of various illnesses. Nearly all of them then search for the treatment procedure, costs, etc.
Once a person has made sure they need to visit a doctor regarding their issues, the next thing they will do is search for the best hospitals and doctors around them.
If your marketing approach is done in the right way, then the chances of this potential service seeker coming to your hospital are quite high.
This write-up has thoroughly covered every detail and aspect of digital marketing in healthcare, so what are you waiting for! Follow all the steps and strategies mentioned here to see a better and more effective result now.