Throughout most of the conversations, there was a clear overarching theme regarding the current digital challenges and areas of opportunity in healthcare marketing. While the technology and tools are constantly changing and advancing, the BIG space between expectations and realities has left many teams scratching their head with a simple question: “So What?”
What does ‘So What’ mean?
It simply means ‘What we’re doing is fine, and we’re not alone, so what’s next?’
It challenges what we are doing, why we are communicating, and validates or exposes whether or not we are really connecting with our audiences. ‘So What’ is asking what story are we telling, and what is the value or benefit for the narrative? Are we just talking about ourselves, or are we truly engaging with our patients and empowering them to accomplish their needs as quickly as possible? Do we have the data to support our marketing decisions that will re-imagine how we communicate moving forward? Are all the tech and tools that we put in place working together to reinforce a unified experience?
Can visitors to your website find information quickly?
Walking into a hospital can be intimidating. There may be lines on the floor or other wayfinding to direct you to different areas and it can be a maze. When a concierge or volunteer in the special shirt appears and helps direct a visitor or patient to where they need to go, the stress level is greatly reduced and the visitor or patient feels more at ease.
While most hospital websites have have come a long way, there can still be a similar experience in trying to navigate the site to find to the information they need. The more we can tell the story, get to the point, and get a patient or potential patient what they need with the fewest possible steps, the more they will convert to be a patient.
Are we personalizing the marketing experience for a patient? Are you making it easy for a patient to access you across all of your channels?
This involves all aspects of digital in our systems that have not been used much, such as; personalization, marketing automation, chatbots, voice search and new ways to use social channels to connect with our patients.
Sounds great! Where do I start?
Great question! The short answer is, ‘It’s all about the data (and how you use it).’
- Utilize a CRM.
If you are not currently using a CRM, get one! This data is obviously scrubbed of PHI so it is HIPAA compliant for marketing purposes, but having data you can use in your marketing decisions about your patients and their habits is huge in making targeted marketing decisions. Start thinking of your website a little more like an e-commerce tool. Are you converting those visitors to leads to customers (or patients)? Without a CRM, you have no idea.
- Are your Marketing and Communications departments integrated with your IT?
If you are operating in silos, you are missing a lot of opportunity. A lot of information patients are accessing about you is not necessarily from your website anymore. Search engines are pulling data from listings, reviews, social channels, etc. Is your message consistent across these platforms or is the information in the database about a location or service different than the copy you just updated for your website?
- Answer questions in your content.
Great keywords on your site are no longer enough. SEO rankings are giving preference to content that answers a searchers question. Think about how people search for things on Google, such as, ‘What are the hours of John Doe laboratory?’ Are you answering that information on the John Doe laboratory location page? If that information is not easily accessible, then your SEO will suffer.
- Don’t write brochure-ware for your website.
In other words, are we talking about ourselves, or are we talking to our patients?
- Get personal (just don’t get creepy).
Are you taking advantage of personalization and tailoring content to your users based on demographics and history? Imagine the difference on a women’s services page in content and images for a 20 to 30 year old versus a 50 year old?
- Optimize for Voice Search.
More than 60 million Americans use some sort of Voice-enabled Virtual Digital Assistant and Google just released new guidelines for site content so that the assistant can find and relay information easier. Optimizing content for voice is becoming just as important as optimizing for SEO.
- Automate your marketing.
Are you using marketing automation to customize a user’s experience and nurture leads? Nurturing potential patients who visit you in various channels is just important for hospitals as it is for retail, especially in prime service lines such as maternity and orthopaedics.
- Chat with them.
Chatbots and AI are here for healthcare. Implementing an intelligent chatbot on your site enables your users to find information even faster. As device usage changes, users want an easy way to find information and schedule appointments. Having a chat assistant on your site is another way of connecting with those users. Having chat on Facebook is also another great way to engage with your patients. Users are spread across many channels and expect two-way communication.
Wow, that’s a lot!
Yes, it is, but it’s manageable. Not knowing where to start is okay, it’s where we come in! Our experts are on hand to make the process easy for you.