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2022 Healthcare Marketing Trends: What is Healthcare Marketing?

Did you know that effective healthcare marketing is one of the most important factors in running a successful medical office? It can be tough to attract new patients and retain existing ones, but with the right marketing strategy in place, your medical office can thrive. So what is healthcare marketing, and what makes it so important? Keep reading for more insights.…

Healthcare marketing is an active process. It involves strategically designing outreach and communications to attract healthcare consumers, guide them through their healthcare journey, and keep them engaged with your health system.

The best healthcare marketing strategies have to be exceptionally sophisticated. They’re omnichannel, highly segmented, and use targeted online and offline tactics to get customers to engage with providers and accelerate enterprise growth. Health systems measure marketing success through specific metrics that are aligned with key performance indicators (KPIs), and/or marketing return on investment (ROI).

Healthcare Marketing Strategies

A successful healthcare marketing strategy has several essential building blocks. With trends changing daily from TikTok to Twitter, it’s important to have the right principles in place. Since almost everyone seeks healthcare at some point in their life, customer profiles are incredibly diverse. Layering in the fact that there are so many providers providing similar services in the market, it becomes even more challenging to deliver an effective strategy.

Here are nine essential pillars of an effective healthcare marketing strategy (Mercury Healthcare, 2021):

Create a seamless digital patient experience

An effective marketing strategy starts with creating a smooth, integrated digital experience for your patients. Potential customers will be connecting with your healthcare system through several different entry points such as: directly through your website or social media, using an insurance provider or under third-party listings.

Wherever customers are coming from, they need to have a smooth, consistent journey. These multiple entry points make up what’s known as the Digital Front Door. That first experience through the threshold, more than anything, will determine whether an engagement leads to a conversion. Start by testing a wide range of journeys across your organization. Ask questions like: Are there unnecessary hurdles? Are the options and information presented at each stage the ones a patient needs? Are there changes that could make it more likely for the patient to continue exploring our services?

Build a consistent brand

Customers in any sector value familiarity and trust but when it comes to healthcare it’s essential.  Healthcare decisions are some of the most important your clients will make and they need to know their care team is reliable, effective, and stand-out for all the right reasons. Building that brand takes time but most importantly you need to have thoughtful strategy and investment.

The biggest question to think about when developing your brand is: what qualities are most important in making our health system unique? There won’t be one answer, and certainly not an easy one. But identifying one or a small set of qualities is essential to have a clear message at your brand’s core. Is it your level of trust? Your focus on health technology? Or maybe the care and kindness of your staff up and down the organization? Identifying these qualities and setting a brand direction early will lower your system’s cost per acquisition so the right budget is upfront.

Build engaging relationships using personalization

All healthcare systems carry a wealth of data and information about their patients. While the majority of that data will, of course, be carefully protected and secure the most effective marketing strategies will leverage the demographic information in their electronic health record (EHR) system and their customer relationship management (CRM) software to strategically reach their clients. You may have heard about how a retailer knew a customer was pregnant before her father did (Hill, 2012). While this may not be the kind of data-based targeting insight to strive for, it shows the power of using all of your available data effectively. In a healthcare setting, it could be life-altering.

Create a strong website

In modern marketing, a website is more than an information hub. Designed correctly, a good website is a multi-layered funnel, gathering information and personalizing the patient journey with each tap or click. The website also serves as a canvas for the brand you’ve carefully developed, telling the right story to your customers and potential customers, and guiding them to the information and services they need.

One of the main roles of a strong website is search engine optimization (SEO). Getting to the top of the list on your clients’ preferred search engine can be the keystone to a fully developed marketing strategy. It’s easy to overlook or under-evaluate the importance of features like responsive design, meta tags, and optimized site speeds. No matter how many resources go into your website your existing and potential customers won’t find it without the right SEO or, increasingly, mobile SEO.

Evaluate the best marketing channels

With so many platforms for digital information, your healthcare marketing has to be omnichannel. As you get started, you’ll have one budget and you’ll be testing content across social media, display ads, organic and paid search, and much more. Business intelligence (BI) tools can help track how well each of these channels performs and, with time, hone in on the best channels for different types of customers. The best BI will give you a sense of which geographies, personas, and service lines are best served by which channel.

Manage patient reviews

From Yelp to Amazon crowdsourced opinions and reviews are here to stay. Medicine is no different. The Journal of Medical Internet Research (Hong et al. 2019) reports that when choosing a physician 59% of Americans think that reviews from other patients are very important or somewhat important. With such clients giving them such importance, your health system needs the right reviews in the right places.

For those concerned about the inevitable negative feedback that arises, be assured that there are tried and tested strategies to respond to such reviews to maintain reputation and help alleviate dissatisfaction. Generally, negative feedback should get an empathetic, timely response that addresses the specifics of the comment while staying HIPPA compliant. The standard for trust and reliability is not perfection. Even the most scathing review can be addressed by responding with gratitude for the customer’s feedback and as much detail as possible on a plan to address their concerns.

Use analytics to secure your budget

Creating a marketing budget is an iterative process. It’s all too common to see marketing budgets being created by upper-level management in a way that’s disconnected from the marketing teams implementing the plan. To get started, rely on any and all existing data from your previous campaigns and set clear expectations on who you’re trying to meet. If you’re implementing a new plan or trying a tactic for the first time, make sure to track your spending and impact closely. And also have a plan in place to adjust your budget based on your ROI. With the right expertise and impact, your marketing budget is likely to grow over time as you acquire new customers.

Align marketing with organizational objectives

Marketing cannot sit outside the overall business strategy for your health system. There needs to be dialogue in both directions, between the marketing team and management. Having a deeper understanding of the organization’s goals is essential to creating the right marketing approach. Having the right marketing perspective and, ultimately a customer-focused view of the organization, can help with making even stronger, long-term decisions about the system’s operations.

Analyze your market

The pace of change in health care systems seems to be increasing every day. The healthcare industry is seeing increases in both consolidation and disruption. Weathering these trends needs deep business intelligence on what’s happening in your health care system, as well as the ability to transform that into the right decision-making to help drive growth, unlock segments of the market and, most importantly, meet market needs.

The Bottom Line

The main technologies used in Healthcare marketing are The Healthcare customer relationship management (CRM), the Content management system (CMS), Marketing automation, and an Engagement Center.

Bringing customers to your health system is as much about understanding how they receive and process information as it is about being able to deliver the healthcare they need. Medical professionals are no strangers to this kind of user-centered design thinking. From creating a kid-friendly MRI experience for young patients terrified of cold dark rooms to the proliferation of wearable technology and wellness apps, the patient journey is something every health system leader can understand. Effective healthcare marketing should be no different in centering the patient experience to lower the barriers to entry for health care and present the right information at the right time.

Ready to grow on social? We can help. We are social media marketers with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Connect with us today.

Sources:

George Washington University’s Online Healthcare MBA. (2021, September 9). What Is Healthcare Marketing? George Washington University. https://healthcaremba.gwu.edu/blog/what-is-healthcare-marketing/

Hill, K. (2012, February 16). How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did.

Hong, Y. A., Liang, C., Radcliff, T. A., Wigfall, L. R., & Street, R. L. (2019). What Do Patients Say About Doctors Online? A Systematic Review of Studies on Patient Online Reviews. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 21(4), e12521. https://doi.org/10.2196/12521

Mercury Healthcare. (2021). What is Healthcare Marketing? https://www.mercuryhealthcare.com/faq/what-is-healthcare-marketing

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2022 Healthcare Marketing Trends: Create a Seamless Digital Patient Experience

Strategies to implement in 2022 to Drive Engagement and Accelerate Growth: Learn how building a seamless digital journey for potential patients will help you reach more patients and drive better outcomes.

What is Healthcare Marketing?

Mercury Healthcare defines healthcare marketing as “a process of strategic outreach and communications designed to attract healthcare consumers, guide them through their healthcare journey, and keep them engaged with the health system.”

Healthcare marketing services and products is a complex and ever-changing process. To be successful, healthcare marketers must employ digital strategies that integrate omnichannel tactics to reach healthcare consumers wherever they are.

Create a seamless digital patient experience

To create a seamless digital experience for your patients, it’s essential to understand their digital journey- the process of discovering your services and booking their first appointment with you.

First step: An Internet Search

Although some may rely on referrals from friends or family, a 2017 study conducted by Yext reveals that most will perform an internet search for a local provider.

So, you should ask yourself:

Is my website crawlable? If search engines cannot “crawl” your website pages to learn what it is about, it won’t perform well in searches. You can try Google’s free tool to test your website: Mobile-Friendly Test – Google Search Console

Second step: Clicking on your website

Next, your potential client will arrive at your website and form their first impressions.

Some questions you should ask yourself:

Does my website use a responsive design? Responsive web design makes your website much easier for visitors to read and navigate. In other words, your potential patients should be able to experience your website on their mobile devices or desktops. You can test your website’s responsiveness on mobile and desktop here: PageSpeed Insights (web.dev)

Is my website easy to navigate? If your patients are struggling to find what they are looking for, whether it be an answer to their health questions or a provider’s contact information – how much time do you think they will spend on your website? Think of your website as your digital office. Potential patients should get a snapshot of what it would be like as your patient. Your website should give them the basics, like your contact information and services, and answers to their common questions to their health questions.

Third step: Booking an Appointment

So, now your potential patient is ready to book an appointment!

You should ask yourself:

Is the booking process easy? Can future patients start the booking process online? Or do they have to call your office? Once they begin the booking process, how long does it take to secure an appointment?

Understanding the digital journey of potential patients is crucial if you want to boost patient acquisition this year. At SGM Medical Marketing, we have the experience and expertise to help healthcare providers achieve their marketing goals and accelerate growth through healthcare marketing strategies, such as optimizing your patient’s digital journey, that deliver a return on investment. Connect with us today.

2022 Healthcare Marketing Trends: Omnichannel Marketing

Find out what omnichannel marketing is, and how to use it in your healthcare marketing campaigns.

Have you ever given up on an online purchase because it was too hard to work out whether there’s an in-store pick-up option? Or because the deal in the print ad for your local store location isn’t available online? These are just simple examples of the kinds of problems omnichannel marketing strategies are meant to fix. In healthcare marketing, omnichannel strategies are an opportunity for healthcare marketers to build brand loyalty and long-lasting relationships with their patients like never before.

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing isn’t just about using every available channel for marketing, although that’s important too. Omnichannel is about breaking down an organization’s various customer-facing channel-based silos. At its simplest, an omnichannel strategy might give customers the chance to buy online and pick-up in store or have a mix of delivery and pick-up options.

Being omnichannel is about taking a consumer-centric view of marketing tactics. In other words, the consumer’s experience comes first and your organization needs to be seamless in its branding, messaging, and online and offline presence.  Consumers can now interact with brands on countless channels, from social media to customer service hotlines. There are few key elements for ensuring a positive customer experience using this approach (Marketing Evolution, 2022):

  • Consistent, identifiable brand tone and vision
  • Personalized messaging based on specific interests
  • Content that is informed by past interactions and the current stage of the customer’s journey.

In order to center the patient journey in your strategy, healthcare organizations need to start with brand recognition.

Multichannel vs Omnichannel

In 2022, you can think of multichannel tactics like Web 1.0. That approach was about updating healthcare marketing strategies to make sure they’re keeping up with what, at the time, were newer technologies. While Facebook is now 18 years old new platforms like TikTok are still emerging and revolutionizing the way we think about marketing. There’s still a need for multichannel thinking because not every healthcare organization is at the point of optimizing across channels.

Where omnichannel is different (and more advanced) is in integrating customer experiences across channels. Rather than simply providing content on different platforms, omnichannel focusses on optimizing marketing communications for the whole patient journey, across all possible channels, in a cohesive, consistent model.

What does look like? It means having a consistent experience across devices, online and offline, transitioning seamlessly from one interaction to the next, and making sure every message is informed by prior encounters. You can text a number to get an appointment booking. You can open your provider app and get a set of suggestions based on your current status in your journey. In other words, you get the information you need, when you need it and where you need it.

What can an omnichannel strategy accomplish?

Every brand today is competing for ever more limited consumer attention. Particularly in healthcare, audiences are increasingly fragmented. Large groups of clients are moving more often and there are significantly lower barriers to changing providers and accessing care differently (Roselli 2020).

By implementing an effective omnichannel strategy, you can overcome some of these challenges by building more meaningful connections and loyalty. Achieving this level of integration is not easy but it’s worth the rewards in customer acquisition and retention.

Some of the main outcomes of an effective omnichannel strategy include (Marketing Evolution, 2022):

A Better User Experience: since omnichannel designs based on individual experience across devices rather than by channel features, the customer experience (CX) is better. By focusing design to give customers the best possible experience overall, companies can drive more sales and better retention rates. More personalized messaging based on interactions on any channel will help improve the user experience. Similarly, being able to deliver content to users on one channel that is informed by previous interaction on any other channels shows that your healthcare system is integrated and your focus in on the patient, rather than operational silos.

Cohesive Brand Strategy and Identity: we’ve discussed the importance of seamlessly implementing an easily identifiable brand image and tone. Like any core marketing strategy, the key to success here is ensuring this brand image is centered on your core audience’s needs and values. By staying focused on the customer’s experience overall and using your brand guidelines to target each channel, you will have a more comprehensive brand strategy that translates into more targeted messaging and greater loyalty.

Increased Revenue: since an omnichannel approach encourages customers to engage with a brand across multiple touchpoints and channels, you increase the size of the sales funnel. You can capture more customers by meeting potential clients where they are. By getting out directly to consumers at each stage of their journey you can help increase revenue. Research shows that customers that engage with multiple touchpoints tend to be 30 percent more valuable. You can increase loyalty and make it more likely that a customer will engage with you again through more targeted messaging that also builds loyalty. Marketing research shows that repeat customers on average contribute to 40 percent of revenue, despite being a smaller portion of your consumer base (Roselli 2020).

Better Attribution Data: unsurprisingly, an omnichannel approach isn’t only about your outward-facing marketing strategy. Going truly omnichannel should apply to your marketing data analytics as well. This means that you should be able to track engagements across channels, building a single portfolio about customers and their interactions with you on all channels. This should give you a much richer understanding of the customer journey, when and where your consumers are engaging, and which campaigns have been the most valuable. All of this data can be put back into your strategy to build more targeted campaigns and optimize media spend.

What is Omnichannel Attribution?

In order to leverage the full-benefits of data attribution from an omnichannel strategy you have to be aware of where and how to understand, as best as possible, which tactics are generating which conversions. This can be tough to determine without the right attribution tools in place. The two main tools marketing professionals rely on are multi-touch attribution (MTA) and media mix modelling (MMM). While not perfect, these options can be your best way to understand what led to a conversion:

MMM: Media Mix Modelling focuses on long-term aggregate data. This helps marketers see the overall impacts of their campaigns understanding exactly how they led to conversions, trends over time, and seasonal variations in engagements. These kinds of insights are easier to get but lack the person-level insights that can really drive an effective omnichannel campaign. MMM also typically uses several years of data which means that it’s less useful for making real-time adjustments to a campaign that’s already in-flight.

MTA: Multi-touch attribution can offer real-time granular, person-level data for each touchpoint. Marketing teams can use this kind of data to adapt their campaigns in real time and adjust their tactics to quickly changing consumer needs. The biggest challenge with MTA is that it’s harder to know how much each touchpoint should be credited for a particular conversion. For example, how exactly does a team know if the campaign email or the webinar was more influential in the customer conversion.

The most sophisticated attribution models can help you build an understanding of how particular customers respond to specific tactics.

Examples of Omnichannel Marketing

Many brands have successfully used omnichannel approaches to transform their business. You’ll be familiar with many examples from your own experiences, here are some of the most prominent (Marketing Evolution, 2022a):

1. Amazon

The Amazon online shopping experience has to be the most prominent example of omnichannel marketing. In particular, Amazon’s curated recommendations are a huge driver of sales. Recent figures suggest that curated recommendations generate 35 percent of sales on their site. This kind of leverage is achieved by using customer data on purchase history, items in the customers cart, recent views and products bought by others order similar products. Add in the layer of hyper convenience, seamless integration with order updates, notifications, billing, and shipping information and you’ll find one of the most effective examples of omnichannel marketing out there. What opportunities are there to learn from other clients healthcare journeys to deliver similar results?

2. Starbucks

The Starbucks mobile rewards app has integrated the in-store customer experience seamlessly with the mobile experience. This has elevated the consumer convenience above all else. By being able to reload cards from a phone or desktop, by being able to order ahead, easily identify nearby stores, and access reward points, customers are incentivized to stay loyal and rewarded with excellent experience. What healthcare processes could be integrated in this way to increase customer satisfaction?

3. Nordstrom

A customer-centric strategy at Nordstrom has helped to increase customer retention. By offering a variety of personalized services to customers, they’ve been able to make potential customers feel special rather than like they’re any other potential buyer. Using their Nordstrom Analytica Platform (NAP) they have improved service and product discover. They use over 100 AI models every day to predict customer shopping preferences including technology like pairing natural language conversations with images from social media to make startlingly accurate predictions. What big data or AI insights about your clients could be used to better support clients finding the right care for them?

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that investing in customer experience is not a luxury in today’s healthcare marketing landscape, it’s a necessity. Omnichannel marketing has to be built on a solid foundation of strong brand identity, customer journey mapping, data analysis, and testing and optimizing. After getting the basics right, omnichannel can be leveraged to broaden the sales funnel and use data to help you double down on the strategies that lead to the greatest conversions. An incredible customer experience is at the heart of the process so even before considering the positive marketing outcomes, this approach is simply good practice.

Ready to grow on social? We can help. We are social media marketers with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Connect with us today.

Sources:

Marketing Evolution. (2022). What is Omnichannel Marketing? Definition, Tips, and Examples. https://www.marketingevolution.com/knowledge-center/topic/marketing-essentials/omnichannel

Marketing Evolution. (2022a). 5 Examples of Brands with Successful Customer-Centric Marketing. https://www.marketingevolution.com/knowledge-center/4-examples-brand-customer-centric-retail-marketing?hsLang=en

Roselli, N. (2020, February 1). The Power of Healthcare Omnichannel Marketing in 2019. Healthcare Marketing Agency. https://www.practicebuilders.com/blog/the-power-of-healthcare-omnichannel-marketing-in-2019/

2022 Healthcare Marketing Trends: Video Marketing

Many marketing observers note how most of the innovation in cellphone technology over the last five years has focused on the phone’s cameras. This is just one of many indicators telling us how important videos are in a successful marketing strategy. Whether you’re aspiring to go viral on TikTok or wanting to tell a compelling story about your healthcare community, video remains one of the most authentic, trusted and effective ways to connect with clients.

What is video marketing and how can it be used?

Video marketing means using videos for promoting and telling people about your products or service. It helps increase engagement on your digital and social channels, educates your audience, and allows you to reach them with a new medium.

Using video as part of marketing is gaining a lot of traction across businesses of all sizes, including entrepreneurs and small businesses. The barriers to entry for video production are getting lower. Video marketing is growing partly with improved cellphone camera technology, partly with major innovations in video editing tools easily available at our fingertips, and mostly, with the proliferation of a culture that’s comfortable in front of the camera. And it’s here to stay.

A Renderforest Survey (Hookle, 2022) found that videos helped businesses increase:

  • Brand awareness by 70%
  • Traffic by 51%
  • Sales by 34%

Videos can humanize organizations, especially if they’re used in any industry that benefits from this kind of personal interaction like healthcare. Doctors’ offices and hospitals tend to feel cold and disconnected. Using video marketing can help patients feel cared for and connected. Here are a few different types of videos the healthcare industry uses to attract and educate patients (522 Productions, 2022):

Testimonials

In designing your overall healthcare marketing strategy, creating a reliable and trustworthy brand is essential. Much better than telling your customers how trustworthy you are is showing them. Sharing a good success story through a video is a great way to show rather than tell customers your main brand messages.

You can select clients and staff who represent you and your organization. New and existing customers can make up their own mind about the authenticity and validity of a testimonial in a way that’s harder to do with written review (although written reviews are also a must-do for your integrated marketing strategy in 2022).

Testimonials make great shareable content on social media and on other marketing channels. With the right clips and editing they can form part of your omnichannel healthcare marketing strategy. With the right creative elements, they might even go viral!

Website Welcome Videos

Like a good dinner party host, there’s nothing better than being able to greet your customers at the door. A welcome video is a great way to invite potential clients onto a journey with your healthcare system. A video is the next best thing to them being able to make eye-contact representatives of your organization and build a deeper relationship.

With relatively simple editing, you can easily take clients on a tour of relevant facilities, introduce them to some of the people they might interact with and, most importantly, share critical information in a way they’re likely to retain. All of this can help convert potential customers into long term clients.

Physician Profile Videos

Comfort-level is everything when making important healthcare decisions and patients want to know their doctors. A growing number of patients are doing extensive research on physicians before scheduling an appointment. As a result, every piece of information out there is crucial in the patient journey. The video marketing in healthcare process can help make that journey seamless for potential clients and effective from a conversion standpoint.

Profile videos for physicians are an excellent way to introduce patients to physicians before ever visiting an office, saving clients, medical personnel and administrative staff an incredible amount of time. The easier it is for a client to get the information they’re looking for, the more likely they will be to schedule an appointment.

This process doesn’t have to be onerous for your healthcare professionals or have high production value. A candid, relaxed and real video interaction can go a long way to give clients a sense of how they might feel working with a particular doctor. Simple interviews or Q&A are a great format. For most potential clients, that’s enough to make a decision to move forward in their journey.

Procedure and Condition Information Videos

Healthcare marketers don’t need to be told about the fears and uncertainties clients can feel about seeking healthcare. Videos are a great way to calm patients before they come in for a procedure. Letting clients know about the library of resources that would be available to them if they enter the system, and even letting them access some of those resources in advance, can help significantly with conversion.

Doing some of the work of educating and informing patients about basic details for their procedure upfront can help save time and resources for more personalized care and attention to clients. Less time spent before a procedure going through basic information leaves every patient with opportunities to ask questions and make a meaningful connection.

Having access to resources like this can also help to educate patients on after care like looking out for signs, symptoms and ways to avoid complications. These resources might also be valuable to the people offering support and care to the client outside of the clinical setting.

How to market your healthcare videos

Like your favorite TV shows, marketing videos in healthcare can be watched over and over. This is one of the best things about them. While videos will need to be refreshed periodically with the latest information – as well as fashions and hairstyles maybe – good videos can be used across channels many times.

Video content could be used on social media easily. Pinned posts with your welcome video can double as your first greeting to clients just like on your website. A YouTube channel is a great way to showcase the full extent of all your healthcare system’s resources and share your content to the masses.

Knowing how to make the most of social media algorithms is an essential part of getting your video content to the right audiences. Just like your core marketing strategies, you’ll need to use data and effective strategy to prioritize where your videos go and who sees them. This can be part of a data-driven, iterative process to help your organization achieve the best results from video marketing.

The Bottom Line

Most people with a cellphone have all the tools they need to develop video marketing content in healthcare. The barriers to what’s considered acceptable production are lowering as more people get in front of cameras and powerful, easy-to-use editing technology is available at our fingertips. There are multiple ways to deploy video marketing effectively in healthcare right across the patient journey. The repeat usability of this kind of content makes it especially appealing. If you can make space for this kind of content, your team could stand out since not everyone is comfortable with getting in front of the camera even though it’s often the most authentic, engaging and impactful way to engage clients.

Ready to grow on social? We can help. We are social media marketers with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Connect with us today.

Sources:

What is video marketing and why is it important for small businesses. (2022, April 19). Hookle. https://www.hookle.net/post/what-is-video-marketing-and-why-is-it-important-for-small-businesses How Video Marketing Is Influencing the Future of Healthcare. (2022). 522 Productions. https://www.522productions.com/how-video-marketing-is-influencing-the-future-of-healthcare/

2022 Healthcare Marketing Trends: SMS Marketing

Data show that Americans send more than 2 billion text messages every day and on average 98% of marketing text messages are read compared to just 20% of emails (Anthony, 2022). While most of us know “SMS” stands for “short message service” what you might not know is that SMS is the fastest growing marketing channel for ecommerce.

What is SMS marketing?

At a time when many people have simply given up on their inboxes SMS is starting to be seen as a more personal, more manageable and more impactful form of communication. SMS marketing is simply the act of sending business communications by text message. This can include campaigns, news, promotions, updates or more to customers who’ve opted in.

In marketing language, SMS refers to how a brand communicates with customers through text messages about campaigns, promotions, news, updates, and more. Like email marketing, SMS is an owned channel. This means you have complete control over who receives an SMS marketing message, what content you share, and when you decide to send it.

With text marketing, you also have ownership over the experience you create for your customers across this marketing channel from start to finish. Besides SMS messages, you can also send your customers MMS (multimedia message service) messages. These messages allow you to send pictures or GIFs (and other animated images) over text.

What are the types of SMS marketing?

While SMS marketing is growing and evolving quickly, there are already several established SMS marketing models. The best way to set up an effective SMS campaign is to decide whether you need to send you audience promotional or transactional messages.

Promotional text messages

Promotional SMS marketing does what it says on the label: it helps to promote you, your product or organization to your audience. The goal might be to increase sales, raise awareness around a launch or existing brand, or simply advertise. Promotional campaign can be one-off or have their own associated workflows using SMS automations. The core logic behind workflows might look similar to email marketing. The basic idea is close to how you can send campaigns versus flows when using email marketing (Riedy, 2022).

The best kinds of promotional campaigns will, of course, adjust the content format for SMS but they’ll also tweak a workflow based on the different styles and personalization of an SMS versus an email campaign. The impact of a promotional campaign is relatively easy to measure. You can track link taps and conversions in a relatively one-to-one way.

An especially effective promotional SMS tool is an event-triggered message. These are customer communications that get initiated by actions they take on your website. For example, if a customer signs up to receive text messages from you after booking an appointment or requesting a follow-up, you can send a welcome text. If they initiated an action that isn’t completed, your SMS tools could send the customer a reminder message with additional, personalized information that you build into your workflow and know from experience might help with conversion.

Transactional text messages

Transactional SMS marketing is centered on providing customers with valuable information through SMS updates that contains information customers need. For example, an appointment confirmation text with date, time and location for an appointment might include other helpful information such as a link to their online profile or pre-screening forms that can easily be filled at their convenience to save time and avoid friction at their appointment.

It’s important to note that customers who share their information for transactional text messages cannot be targeted with marketing information unless they give explicit permission.

SMS healthcare marketing strategies

With these two types of SMS marketing messages in mind, there are several SMS marketing strategies that are especially impactful in healthcare marketing. Here are some of the latest, most effective strategies to bring healthcare marketing into your toolkit today (DialMyCalls, 2021):

Taking Appointments via SMS

Any healthcare system looking to welcome new patients might be engaged in a multimedia marketing strategy that includes significant investments in advertisements, signage and mail campaigns. By offering quick, convenient and desirable services like appointment scheduling and management by text, you can significantly improve the patient journey.

Many health care service providers still only provide appointment scheduling by phone or in-person. While more are offering online scheduling, being able to text for appointment scheduling can help attract new clients to your system and improve satisfaction for existing customers. This kind of streamlining can improve business process for both the consumer and provider.

The latest scheduling platforms can typically integrate into many scheduling services. After a new or current patient has opted-in to SMS marketing in healthcare texts, you can easily use links to manage the scheduling process. The process itself can also be managed directly via SMS, usually via automation.

Text Appointment Alerts and Reminders

With our lives getting busier and our growing dependence on smartphones to stay on schedule, text reminders are a great way to help customers keep their day running smoothly and avoid costly late or missed appointments.

Like appointment scheduling, shortened links can be used in reminder texts to help customers who might need to reschedule. Not only does this make for a smoother patient journey but it avoids last-minute phone calls and creates an easier way to manage system capacity for urgent or other last-minute booking needs. Similar messages can be used to help patients with reminders for follow-up appointments, medication refills or lab work requests. These nudges help clients take greater control of their health. 

Text appointment reminders can help to lessen the burden on front office staff and are an excellent SMS marketing in healthcare application. Like many healthcare marketing tactics, the core of this strategy being effective involves integrating your system’s marketing into daily operations.

Providing Health Information to Patients Through SMS

The public health crises over the last two years have shown how critical it is to have timely, accurate, and reliable healthcare information easily available to everyone who uses your system. SMS marketing in healthcare tools like SMS can be the perfect way to keep patients up to date about extended hours during flu season or introducing a new provider or service in your system. Text message is also a great way to help spread the word for new services like health education classes and therapy pets. Providing clients with the right information, exactly where they want it, is more likely to lead them to forward that information to others.

You can keep clients better engaged with your practice by sending useful health information by SMS marketing approaches. Appointment follow-ups including lab work can be easily prepopulated into certain workflows. Similarly, patients can be conveniently notified of new results or important information being provided in a secure portal.

Receiving Feedback from Patients Through SMS

Good feedback is essential for healthcare marketing success. To continue building your reputation as a trusted, reliable provider you should be soliciting feedback, reviews and input from customers at every appropriate opportunity. SMS is where people like to be for their communications so where better to ask them to share their views?

Requesting feedback in the way that’s most convenient for your clients will help to nurture long-term relationships and is more likely to prompt meaningful responses. It’s important to be prepared for all the feedback you might receive. If requesting SMS feedback for your healthcare marketing strategy, make sure systems are in place to triage and use that feedback properly.

By leveraging the more personal and direct aspects of SMS marketing, your organization should be prepared to respond to clients accordingly. While detailed, private health information cannot be managed or addressed in this way, SMS is an ideal way to get clients back into the system for follow-ups and problem solving.

Notifying Staff Via SMS

SMS marketing in healthcare doesn’t have to only be for clients and customers. Healthcare organizations can benefit from internal communications via text messages. Sending meeting reminders and organizational notifications through SMS can help members of the organization feel more connected and appreciated through personalized communications.

SMS notifications might also help on the treatment side of the patient journey. Delivering the right information or links to relevant material at the right time can minimize time consuming administrative tasks for providers and help center the patient in your system. Even small details like birthday reminders or kudos texts at certain workflow milestones can be a way to create a culture of positivity and care.

The Bottom Line

Americans are spending more time than ever sending texts. For many, SMS is a more personal, meaningful and manageable way to process important information than email. By leveraging the power of SMS marketing in healthcare, providers can take their significant efforts creating patient-centered design to the next level. Combined with the latest trends in omnichannel marketing and other healthcare marketing best practices, SMS can help drive the next level of client conversion and customer satisfaction.

Ready to grow on social? We can help. We are social media marketers with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Connect with us today.

Sources:

Anthony, J. (2022, January 14). 48 SMS Marketing Statistics You Must See: 2021/2022 Market Share Analysis & Data. Financesonline.com. https://financesonline.com/sms-marketing-statistics/

Text Message Marketing for Healthcare | SMS Marketing Guide. (2021, October 11). DialMyCalls. https://www.dialmycalls.com/sms-marketing-guide/sms-marketing-healthcare Riedy, E. (2022, May 13). What is SMS marketing: The ecommerce industry’s fastest growing owned marketing channel. Klaviyo. https://www.klaviyo.com/blog/what-is-sms-marketing

2022 Healthcare Marketing Trends: Unlocking the Potential of Industry Awards in your Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Industry awards are a great way to recognize the exceptional teams in your healthcare system, build your brand and make a splash on social media and across channels. Choosing the right competition to enter can be a daunting task with a range of respected and recognized healthcare organizations and associations recognizing healthcare systems across the US.

Modern Healthcare’s Healthcare Impact Award is one of the best awards in terms of reputation, reach and accessibility for teams to integrate into their 2022 marketing plans. 2022 nominations open on June 27th and close on September 6th so there’s still plenty of time to get started (Modern Healthcare, 2022). Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Healthcare Marketing Impact Award?

The Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards are designed to recognize healthcare’s best advertising, marketing, promotion, and communication campaigns on and across all media platforms. The awards honor campaigns that advance provider, insurer, supplier and advocacy group efforts to deliver high quality, affordable and accessible healthcare; promote the health of individual patients, groups and communities; and help organizations thrive and grow in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Eligibility & Nomination Categories

Healthcare organizations themselves, or the agencies representing them, can enter. Submissions are accepted for seven campaign categories across five organization types. Take a look through the lists below. If your organization and campaign fit any of these categories, a Healthcare Impact Award could be a valuable tool for you this year.

The five organizational categories are:

  • Providers
  • Insurers
  • Suppliers/Vendors
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Advocacy

The seven campaign award categories are:

  • Print Campaign of the Year*
  • Digital Campaign of the Year**
  • Video Campaign of the Year
  • Podcast Campaign of the Year
  • Social Media Campaign of the Year
  • Website Campaign of the Year
  • Integrated Campaign of the Year

*billboard will be included within Print

**app, online and SEO campaigns will be included within Digital

A Gold, Silver and Bronze award is made in each campaign category across every organization type. There are also Healthcare Marketing Impact Publishers’ Awards for special recognition (more on this below). Overall, there are lots of opportunities to be recognized and learn about some of the innovative strategies being used by other healthcare systems across the US.

Fees

The entry fee is $450 per campaign nomination. You can submit for multiple campaigns but you have to pay the entry fee separately for each campaign you enter for the competition.

Timeline (2022)

Modern Healthcare gives a generous timeline for nominees to prepare their materials and submit their campaigns. Here are the key milestones for this year:

  • June 27 – Nominations open
  • September 6 – Nomination close at 11:59 PM PT (there will not be an extension)
  • September 7 – Judging begins
  • November 7 – Winners published in print and online

Entrants can only use material that was produced and appeared between January 1, 2021 and June 27, 2022.

Choosing the right organizational category

As with any competitive process it’s important to make sure you’re in the right race and giving the judges exactly what they’re looking for. The most essential first step is making sure the category you choose is the right one for the organization that is represented in the campaign. To be clear, the type of healthcare organization submitting the application isn’t what matters. You have to pick the right organizational category for the campaign you’re nominating. Here are your options:

Provider

Organizations classified within the following business categories: hospital, medical clinic; multi-hospital system; academic medical center; ambulatory surgery center; specialty hospital; physician groups; minute-clinics; ambulance and emergency services; post-acute care including rehab facilities, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes.

Insurer

Organizations classified within the following business categories: insurance carriers; third-party payers; health plan sponsors; government plans and integrated delivery networks.

Pharmaceutical

Organizations that develop, produce and market drugs, pharmaceuticals or medical devices licensed for use as medications.

Supplier/Vendor

Organizations serving healthcare providers and payers classified in the following business categories: group purchasing organization (GPO); information technology; real estate; financial; legal; schools and universities; insurance; investment; legal; architecture; construction and design; consulting; recruitment/staffing; etc.

Advocacy

Organizations that are classified within the following business categories: government agency; voluntary health; professional association; patient advocacy groups; charitable & special interest groups

Choosing the right campaign category

Take a look through the list of seven campaign categories again and see where your recent work might show the biggest impact. Being objective about your own work can be tough. Workshop your ideas. Your best work might not be the campaign that took up the most time or energy over the last 12 months or so. There can be beauty – and impact – in simplicity. One easy way to get started with choosing your best work is looking through some of the past winners.

Here are some examples of organizations that won 2021 awards and how they leveraged their honors with smart PR strategy:

One simple way to choose the right project is to consider which of your campaigns best align with your current marketing strategy and priorities. Is there one campaign in particular that aligns with your brand? Is there one success-story you wish could be shared more easily? Try to consider what the headline might be for your award announcement. How will you describe your campaign activity in just a sentence or two? Considering the full impact of your nomination will help you choose from what is likely to be a long list of accomplishments to be proud of in 2022.

Of course, don’t forget to confirm that your campaign timelines fit the eligible window for 2022 nominations.

Making the most of an award

A successful nomination that leads to an award deserves celebration! But added success comes with added responsibility. To make the most of the award, you’ll likely need to use many of the skills and tactics you deployed in the award-winning campaign to market your win. Be prepared in advance with an outline of a press release, of communications to your customers, and be mindful of the internal communications opportunity.

While an award would be focused on the marketing team remember that healthcare is a team sport. Help others in your healthcare system celebrate you, just as you help celebrate their accomplishments in your daily work. As you think about getting the word out, the people already in your organization are the perfect place to start amplifying your message.

Even if 2022 isn’t your year, advance planning for your communications strategy at the application stage will never be a waste. As you think about how to tell the story of your most interesting work in 2022, you might find valuable insights on your campaign outcomes, new data, or simply an anecdote to help explain the value your team brings to the organization. At best, thinking ahead about telling your story, might help you figure out how to convince the judges!

Thinking of applying? The bottom line:

Going through the process of being recognized by peers and industry leaders can be daunting but more often than not, it’s time well spent. Regardless of the outcome, the time you take to pull together your application materials and articulate the work you’ve done will help you to reflect on the areas you’ve succeeded and grown, as well as areas you might want to prioritize in the future. You will likely draw out lessons and insights that are valuable to your team and senior leadership.

No matter what role you play on your team, whether you’re a senior leader or the most junior intern, being a cheerleader and celebrator in your organization goes a long way to building morale. In a year like 2022, there are few things that could be more valuable.

Ready to grow on social? We can help. We are social media marketers with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Connect with us today.

Note some of the competition details might be subject to change. Contact Modern Healthcare for the most up-to-date information and details on how to apply.

Sources:

Modern Healthcare. (2022, March 15). Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards. https://www.modernhealthcare.com/nominate/healthcare-marketing-impact-awards

North Memorial Health. (2022, January 3). Recognized by Modern Healthcare as a Winner of the 2021 Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards For Commitment to Ongoing Safety. https://northmemorial.com/news/north-memorial-health-recognized-by-modern-healthcare-as-a-winner-of-the-2021-healthcare-marketing-impact-awards-for-commitment-to-ongoing-safety/

OltNews. (2021, November 16). American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology recognized by Modern Healthcare as winner of 2021 Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards. https://oltnews.com/american-association-of-nurse-anesthesiology-recognized-by-modern-healthcare-as-winner-of-2021-healthcare-marketing-impact-awards

Seto, B. (2021, November 12). The Permanente Federation wins Modern Healthcare 2021 Healthcare Marketing Impact Award. Permanente Medicine.

2022 Healthcare Marketing Trends: 3 Tips to Boost your Healthcare Practice Exposure on Instagram

We’ve recently heard a lot more hospital marketing leaders discuss Instagram marketing. In the past, healthcare may have been slow to adopt social media marketing and advertising techniques. However, today’s healthcare professionals are open to experimenting with new platforms, as long as they are a good fit for their target audiences.

Not sure what Instagram can do for your healthcare company? You’re not alone. Many people believe that “Gen Z” and teenagers are far more active on the photo-centric social media platform than other groups. However, the following statistical data may surprise you:

  1. Just as many 25-34-year-olds use Instagram (32% of users) as 18-25-year-olds (32% of users).
  2. Teens account for only 7% of Instagram users.
  3. 15% of Instagram users (131 million people) are between the ages of 35 and 44.

All of those mentioned in the above statistics make important healthcare decisions for themselves and their families. And, if you have a solid strategy in place, you can reach these demographics through targeted Instagram marketing for healthcare.

How? Let’s discuss.

Build Credibility and Educate Patients

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet—misinformation that can be especially dangerous for medicine. Instagram is a social place to connect with others and look for answers. However, those “answers” aren’t always based on science.

Doctors and medical organizations have a chance to address this issue while also building their brands. You can reach new potential patients while also educating the general public about important health issues by creating high-quality, trustable content and sharing it on platforms such as Instagram.

However, when your content is only promoted organically (without the assistance of advertising), it takes a significant amount of time to start building an audience. Healthcare professionals who want to grow their following organically will need to post frequently and find a niche. More importantly, followers don’t always translate into actual patients.

Attract New Patients with Instagram Ads

The truth is that unless you have a sizable following, patients will not see your posts organically. And those followers may or may not be qualified patients ready to schedule an appointment.

Fortunately, the Instagram ad platform permits you to target your audience with great precision. In addition, because Facebook owns Instagram, you’ll use the same platform to target specific audiences across both social media platforms based on age, location, interests, and various other factors.

Instagram ads are also significantly cheaper when compared to many other platforms, making it an excellent place to begin exploring the world of social media advertising. You can attract new patients while also spreading a positive health education message to your patients and community with the right strategy and a bit of persistence.

Recruit the Best & the Brightest

To grow on social and grow your practice, practitioners and hospitals need an excellent marketing strategy. This starts with hiring someone who knows what they are doing. Social media isn’t about posting a great photo or an inspiring story. It’s much more; it’s an experience. And a great marketing professional knows how to tap into that. However, if your Instagram page has a poor engagement or isn’t growing, it may be time to outsource your marketing. Hiring a marketing professional allows practices and hospitals to quickly adopt a resonating messaging campaign, stay up-to-date with online trends, and prepare you for future changes to that pesky algorithm.