Marketing for healthcare companies can be uniquely challenging. Digital health leaders are creating amazing products and technology that has the power to change the way we do healthcare. But when it comes to having an effective healthcare marketing strategy and getting their message out, things start to fall apart.
In this guide we’ll look at some of the challenges of marketing healthcare and how to solve them.
There are so many small steps, different channels and different cost structures that it can be hard to know where to start and what the right calls to action are. To help navigate the marketing waters we need to look at the healthcare marketing process in terms of three main stages:
Understanding the customer Defining the product/service Testing your marketing strategy
So first, how much do we know about our customer? Do we know them personally? If so, who and what kind of person are they? Do we know who the doctor or nurse or pharmacist is that they see? Are they satisfied with the way they are being treated? What is their health/therapy journey like? How do they get to wherever they are now and where do they see themselves going with that journey? What would they do differently if given the chance? How would they improve the way in which they are currently being treated and how can we help?
Next, do we have a product or service that is right for them? What is the product or service they want? Do we know if it is currently available – or could we develop it for them? Can they try it out? Can they see/touch/feel the difference between the service and the alternative? If they can, what evidence is there to show that there is value in this choice?
Lastly, we need to test our marketing strategy, and most healthcare companies currently have limited marketing power. That means that the money available now is not going to get enough customers to the finish line. Testing is crucial to a successful marketing strategy: where have we got to in our marketing campaign, what have we achieved and where could we do better if we had to start over again?
There are three main marketing channels that we can use to push our services:
Direct marketing – mail, post, text and email. E-marketing including social media. Industry-specific marketing such as local advertising, events and promotions.
Direct marketing is often the best option for healthcare companies, as it costs less and the customer frequently has an active interest in the service. Industry-specific marketing shows that you know your market and can provide value to them. But this is where your marketing budget goes, and the attitude is often more transactional, as it is just about the service. Direct marketing can have both business-to-business and business-to-consumer messaging.
Direct marketing is mail, post, email, social media and more. It’s more than simple email advertising. Direct marketing allows you to reach your customers where they are. You can get the right people in the right place at the right time where they will have the most influence.
For healthcare marketing we need to specifically target three main groups of customers.
Patients, their family or carers. Healthcare professionals Healthcare service providers (for example, relevant pharmacies, professional medical services, medical devices and equipment suppliers)
Targeting patients, personal social networks and loyal customers is more effective than targeted healthcare service providers. The research shows that with healthcare service providers it is very difficult to get them to respond to a direct marketing campaign. That’s why it is so important that your marketing campaign can get the right messages in front of the right people.
If you are a small business and want to target patients, free-to-use tools such as MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Buddy Media are all great options, which we can use to send out direct marketing letters, postcards, emails and more.
More and more healthcare companies are using social media platforms to market their products and services. Social media marketing is very effective, but has a limited lifespan. You got to let the message have the chance to reach a patient or family member or healthcare provider, then to provide benefit. When your campaign has run its course, your brand will be familiar to patients and healthcare providers, and you will make a good impression on them.
Marketing Strategy For Healthcare
With our targeted patient and healthcare provider group in mind we need to create a sound marketing strategy. We don’t need to be deep in research and spreadsheets twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
To set up your healthcare marketing strategy you’ll need a clear understanding of your brand. Are you selling healthcare products or services? Are you a healthcare company and want to offer healthcare products and services to treat particular medical conditions or issues such as obesity or for managing pain?
What is your product or service? What benefits are you offering? How is it different? Is it a new product or service? Is it new technology? Has it been adapted from an existing product or service? Have you bought it from somewhere else or have you developed it?
What is the best place to market your product? And how will you do it? Direct marketing is best for healthcare companies and will get you the most traffic to your website. E-marketing is less expensive than direct marketing and is great for companies that don’t yet have direct marketing capability. Industry-specific marketing is also a great option for healthcare companies. Including events and promotions will allow you to make your message known to a wider audience, as well as highlighting your target audience.
Marketing takes more than just a campaign. It needs to be integrated across channels so that it can be optimised and continue running for as long as necessary.
Our healthcare marketing strategy will need to include elements such as marketing management, analytics and market segmentation. You’ll need to have an understanding of the customers that you are targeting and how you want to enter and engage them, and how to measure results.
Online data collection needs to be done as part of the marketing strategy. By gathering data you’ll have a better-informed and dynamic marketing strategy.
Once we have created an effective clinical marketing strategy, we will need to stick with it and make sure we are making the right changes. And we should continue to test the strategy, figure out what isn’t working and make adjustments to ensure that we are getting the best return for the money.
Marketing Strategy For Healthcare
There are a number of other factors you will need to consider with your healthcare marketing strategy:
What channels will you use? Direct marketing, e-marketing platforms, or industry-specific marketing?
Expansions and new services. Existing direct marketing campaigns or e-marketing campaigns might be bringing in customers to your brand and experiencing some good initial results. You need to review these campaigns but be careful that you don’t go too far in the wrong direction. You need to minimise investment in direct marketing and increase investment in e-marketing to increase effectiveness and limit the need for direct marketing.
Creditors. What are your biggest creditors? What will happen to them if you run out of money? How will your marketing strategy work with your creditors in the short, medium and long term?
Customer and employee relationships. Do your employees know about your marketing campaign? Are your customers aware of it? What about your employees, your partners and your customers?
Marketing can be a competitive arena, so you will need to be especially careful about your image and reputation. Your employees and customers should be aware that the quality of your product or service will be very important to them, regardless of the price and cost of your campaign. By making sure that your employees and customers are aware of your marketing campaign you have a way to engage them.
Marketing Strategy For Healthcare
Many healthcare companies are only able to focus their marketing efforts on direct marketing for the time being. Even though it is an expensive investment, it is hard to know when it will pay off in terms of customer and employee awareness.
One reason direct marketing is an expensive investment is that healthcare companies need to factor in the cost when they calculate the ‘cost per lead’. B2B direct marketing campaigns are a significant investment, costing around $1.00 USD per lead. B2C direct marketing campaigns are a relatively cheap investment, costing around $0.30 USD per lead.
Direct Marketing Campaigns
Direct marketing campaigns are cost-effective and successful if they are part of your overall marketing strategy. Direct marketing campaigns come in two categories:
Direct-response marketing includes mail, post, email and telephone-based campaigns. Direct-response marketing often targets high-value targets.
Content marketing drops an advert in a magazine or website, which needs to be interesting, clear and easy for people to understand.
Print advertising is an effective, high-value strategy that targets existing customers with a loyalty message.
Direct response marketing tends to be a significant part of many healthcare companies’ marketing strategies. Healthcare companies must consider the cost of the promotion when evaluating their effectiveness. Direct marketing campaigns are expensive, costing around $1.00 USD per lead for information about a product or service. Healthcare companies need to be willing to invest a significant amount of money to get the results they need.
Direct response marketing campaigns can be used to attract and engage customers and to focus attention on a specific product or service, which can then be followed up with a series of customer actions to generate sales.
Direct response marketing campaigns such as direct mail, which includes the use of direct mail, telemarketing, interactive marketing and smart-phone marketing, are highly effective at driving qualified leads.
Direct marketing campaigns from a healthcare marketing perspective are about as simple as they get. They just need to include healthcare company’s logo, company or product name and website address. Some direct marketing campaigns also include a message from an expert in the market, which sets the product up in an interesting and engaging way.
Direct Marketing can be used for creating awareness and understanding of the value of your product or service. Direct marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy that allows a healthcare company to focus on ongoing customer retention instead of the costs of creating a new patient each quarter.
Using direct marketing to sell your product or service can help you to hire more people who come from a wide range of backgrounds. If you are a service company, this will be particularly useful for attracting new employees. With the right marketing communication techniques you will be able to bring in new employees who are highly qualified, which can greatly increase the number of customers they can help you to reach.
Direct Marketing is successful when it encourages customers to take action. If you don’t ask them for an action, the money they gave you won’t buy them anything, or you will have just wasted their money.
Direct Marketing Campaigns for Healthcare
Direct marketing campaigns tend to show the same results each year. Follow-up visits are usually good news, not bad news. Your cost per lead can start off relatively high, but will steadily go down over time. This just means that you are paying more for the same results. The cost per lead for direct marketing is based on the cost per conversion, which is how easy or hard people find your message.