By Brett Tabano, MediaAlpha
Technology is taking the healthcare industry by storm. New advancements in the way providers reach patients, the widespread adoption of wearable technology, and the increase in mobile apps have all caused a dramatic shift in how healthcare providers interact with consumers. As such, it is even more pertinent that providers adopt a more digital approach when it comes to reaching users. Today’s consumer lives online, making it critical to engage consumers at multiple digital touchpoints – websites, blogs, mobile, email, etc. – to capture their attention and generate quality leads that will ultimately end in a sale.
This approach requires a firm understanding of how to use modern marketing tools, which many traditional healthcare providers may not be familiar with. The good news is it’s not rocket science, but it does require developing a strategy. Below are three tactics healthcare providers need to know when it comes to digital marketing to increase leads and sales.
In any industry, it’s essential to create a compelling content marketing strategy. This entails creating and distributing digital messaging that is specific to your target customer. It can be for your company’s blog, an industry publication, an online ad – anywhere your target audience may be looking. The subject matter needs to be useful and easy to understand, as the average person looking for healthcare providers or health insurance does not know the ins and outs of the industry. Information that helps them discern what type of care or coverage they are eligible for, and what that coverage means, will go a long way in increasing customer loyalty. One great example of engaging content is a blog post exploring the different types of healthcare plans and coverage rates you offer. After reading this blog, the consumer will understand the basics of your company up front. You can even take it a step further and create an infographic to make the content even simpler to digest.
Beyond creating content that helps consumers understand their healthcare options, it is important to create content that highlights the benefits of healthcare and health insurance, and why purchasing it should be considered a priority. This is especially imperative when trying to reach millennials who are much more budget-conscious and indecisive than people realize. Most are recently off their parent’s plan and are just entering the insurance buying stage, while others often comparison shop for different healthcare providers.
After developing your content, it is critical to distribute it through multiple online channels that encourage conversions, such as a paid promotional post on social media and through traditional and vertical search engines. Your target market is already likely using a vertical search platform to compare healthcare providers and their offers, and by placing content on these sites, you are increasing the likelihood of gaining qualified leads.
Having a well-defined audience is more imperative than ever before. Not only is it expensive to target everyone, it is a waste of company resources. One of the best tools for identifying and targeting your audience is your customer relationship management (CRM) database. For healthcare providers, utilizing forms, surveys, and other lead-gen documents are an effective way to get customers into their CRM. For example, host an event at a local doctor’s office and offer free flu shots for attendees who fill out an entry form with their name and email. By employing this strategy, consumers become familiar with your brand while you are getting access to first-party data for your CRM.
Marketers should always use first-party data like this when it is available because it is higher quality than anything from a third-party provider. Purchased data from a third-party vendor can result in outdated leads and even inferred information. Not only could you be wasting marketing spend on this information, but you could also be reaching people out of your target market. Having a narrowed audience helps ensure quality leads that can eventually lead to a sale.
Last year, there were 3.7 billion email users worldwide that collectively sent and received roughly 269 billion emails per day, and those numbers are continuing to grow. As long as potential customers are checking their email, healthcare providers should think about getting into those inboxes. The key to a successful email marketing campaign is maintaining carefully curated lists and being respectful of the reader’s time. Not every person is going to be a fit for every email, so it’s important to tailor your lists for each message. For example, distribute an email with tips on mosquito safety and the health implications such as West Nile - but only to those who live in warmer climates prone to substantial mosquito outbreaks.
Once you have determined the best audience for each message, make sure to fine-tune the subject line for optimal open rates. Shorter subject lines typically perform best, so aim to keep it to 10 words or less and make every word count. For instance, with the mosquito prevention campaign, a subject line like “3 Ways to Protect Your Family From Harmful Bites” would be a great place to start.
Finally, make sure you are respectful of your audience’s time by being selective with the number and frequency of the emails you send. Continually bombarding a user’s inbox is not the way to foster a healthy lead. Consider your own experience as a consumer receiving emails from brands and service providers - you do not want someone blasting you multiple times per day. Nobody does. Instead, focus on quality over quantity. One well-targeted, well-written email per month will go a lot further than several weekly insignificant emails.
Revamping your digital strategy to include these tactics may seem like a daunting task. But when your upcoming open enrollment campaigns result in higher quality leads, and increased conversion rates, you will be thankful that you did.