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Online and Offline Healthcare Marketing Working Together.
Digital marketing is a growing part of most organisations marketing plan, however it does not have to be the only method. There is usually a place for traditional marketing and online campaigns; it generally depends on what service you are offering and your target audience.
Since the growth of social media for business, it has become even harder for businesses to standout in an often over-crowded market place. Therefore, the need for paid social campaigns is even more essential for raising your brand awareness or stand out from competitors.
More options mean more opportunities for marketers to connect with and engage their markets. However, it also means a great deal more complexity. Keeping interactions consistent across multiple channels and ensuring a seamless experience for consumers is the new challenge.
This is where an omnichannel approach comes in. An omnichannel approach puts the customer at the centre of its strategy. Mobile and social have enabled customers to not only quickly switch between channels, but also use channels simultaneously. For example, checking out reviews on their mobile phone whilst reading a leaflet about an open day from a door drop.
Throughout this article, examples are given based on experience in working within the healthcare sector, and how digital marketing supports the overall marketing strategy.
A recent study suggested that more than a third of senior marketing professionals believe digital marketing will account for 50% of marketing spend by 2019. Even more reason for making online and offline work effectively together.
Here is how the recent growth amongst digital marketing has been distributed:
The Customer Journey
Each stage of the customer journey needs to be considered when creating a campaign, so your objective is clear at each stage, from brand awareness to sharing a review. The time and touchpoints that people follow is varied but if you have the steps of the customers consideration covered, there is a greater chance you will make an impact or eventually a conversion.
In terms of healthcare industry, the customer journey could take more time than other industries due to the significance of the decisions made. There may also be greater research/education undertaken than, for example when buying a toaster.
However, sometimes this is the opposite; for example in private healthcare, a person may be considering treatment due to delays in receiving treatment due to waiting lists, therefore the customer decision may be mainly focused on speed of treatment.
The majority of PPC is designed to feed the funnel, with need and awareness being the key areas those online ads can support. The focus being to get users to create an action (e.g. visiting a website).
PPC could also be used to identify people who may be at the stage of comparing or researching brands, this could be done by targeting competitors keywords with Google search ads or targeting people who already ‘Like’ a competitors page. The objective is to make them aware of you and your USPs.
The use of a promotions or a discount could help people who have already been researching to make a decision, this could be done via a remarketing campaign targeting people who have previous website visitors.
There are two main benefits of using online marketing to support offline campaigns:
With most PPC campaigns we can target people by demographics (age/gender), Interests (media habits/connections) and geographically (miles from a town/location).
This granularity can be key when targeting a specific area (such as a private hospital as most patients are likely to stay within their area).
There is so much data available from using online marketing, which is why it is so valuable.
This data can be used to:
- Analyse the performance of campaigns in terms of conversions/awareness
- Find out about your audiences online behaviour for future targeting
- Remarket to the same users through a different platform, who may have clicked through to your website but not converted.
Refining your targeting and analysing your data can also support your ROI.
With the increase in the private healthcare market marketing directly to potential patients, it is important to understand the research and education stages when it comes to deciding on decisions over your health.
The type of procedure could also affect the way people are targeted or the messaging used.
With online marketing, PPC campaigns could be used to target specific campaigns and relevant audiences:
If the service is to offer a test/screening service to advise people if they have a health issue or require medical advice it could be something that is helpful to a broader audience.
For example – if they are looking to promote private smear testing for women who are too young to have this service on the NHS.
- Women aged between 16-25 years
- Mothers of teenage daughters (As they are likely to still have an impact on decision making)
- Within 20 miles of the hospital
If they are looking to promote a treatment related to a condition/procedure they are aware of but are looking to research, find out information/pricing on then the targeting can be more refined:
For example – if they are interested in a tummy tuck procedure (Abdominoplasty).
- Women aged 30-65
- Like pages related to slimming clubs/diet information
- Within 20 miles of the hospital
Due to the importance of need/awareness raising for some conditions, health awareness events can work well at engaging the clients with the brand/hospital to educate and inform.
Online marketing (PPC ads) can be used to promote these free events to get people to register to attend. By getting people to engage with these type of events, visiting the hospital and meeting the health professionals. This strategy can introduce new customers to the brand and lead to a high conversion rate (event attendee progressing to consultation booked).
Events are also a great example of using online marketing to support offline marketing.
An example of how we recently used an online campaign to promote offline event, can be seen below.
In May 2016, we used Facebook ads to promote an offline event at a private hospital.
Event info: The event was based around raising awareness of health issues and services related to Women.
Our Aim: To get women to click through the website and submit an online enquiry form to book a place at the free event.
Platform used: Facebook Adverts and boosted Facebook posts
The ads were targeting women who lived within 20 miles of the hospital and specific audiences created based on interests and ages to target them with details related to the treatment/procedures that may be of interest to them.
Looking at the demographics profiles of the current customers, we were able to target interests that are more aligned with a higher income/middle class buying behaviour. For example, people who liked the pages for ‘John Lewis’ or ‘Saga’ for example.
We also created a lookalike audience of women who previously looked at the website content related to women’s health issues.
Single ads were used focusing on the message of ‘Free’, ‘Confidential’ and a strong call to action.
The images used related to the target audience, to help make the adverts relevant (and more clickable).
New ads were used closer to the event date with a stronger call to action to increase the urgency of booking now.
These ads would then link through to the event landing page with a form. We created the form so it sat within the landing page for ease of use (to minimise the user clicking off the site).
The form also had options for the user to tick what health services they are most interested in, this would assist with future marketing and events.
- Over the 6 week period of the campaign, we can see that the paid Facebook traffic contributed to 95% off all the landing page sessions.
- 50 people registered to the attend the event (90% from Facebook traffic).