Tip 1: Get on board.
Let’s start things out by just calling a spade a spade. In the 21st century, “digital marketing” is just marketing. Gone are the days when companies only utilized traditional marketing methods. If you’re not using any forms of digital marketing today, you’re not really marketing.
Tip 2: Utilize social media to get in front of patients.
As of January 2015, there were over 2.078 billion people with active social media accounts. That means that over a quarter of the world’s population is actively engaging each and every day on social media websites. That’s crazy! If your company isn’t using social media as a main marketing tool, then you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to reach a quarter of the world’s population with your message about your brand.
Not using social media yet? Have no fear! It’s never too late to improve your marketing strategy. Focus on building strong social media accounts for your company on the Big Three: Facebook (make sure to use these best practices for Facebook), Twitter (learn how to get Twitter followers and boost engagement), and LinkedIn. Not all social media is the same, and each of these platforms allows you to communicate with different audiences in a different way. Think of each platform as one important piece that, when used in tandem with others, makes up the whole social media marketing pie. They’re complementary, and when used effectively can become a dangerous tool for any marketer. Plus, why settle for one slice when you could have the whole pie? If you’re looking for some inspiration, Cleveland Clinic has a huge following and does a great job with their content and fan engagement.
Tip 3: Use platforms like LinkedIn to target influencers in your industry.
Not every marketing effort should be geared towards consumers. To be truly successful, it’s just as important to make sure that your brand is reaching and engaging with influencers in your specific industry. Promoting your posts on LinkedIn is one of the best ways that you can do this. Not only can you target people based on interests, groups, and industry, LinkedIn also allows you to use much more specific criteria when targeting, so you can promote your posts to people based on their specific job titles or positions as well and ensure that the right people at the right level in the right industry are the ones seeing your posts.
Tip 4: Keep it concise.
Let’s face it. In the fast-paced, consumer-driven 21st century, people want twice the information and they want it delivered in half the amount of time. We don’t have the time to scroll through pages of text in order to glean the few bits of information that we’re actually looking for. Got something to say? Keep it short, sweet, and simple. That’s why digital marketing tools like videos and infographics are two of the most popular types of marketing content. They’re simple, visual, and allow marketers to condense several pages of information into one user-friendly element.
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to get emotional.
One of the benefits of digital marketing is that it’s actually a much more effective medium for storytelling. Being able to package stories with video, audio, photographs, and text then easily share them via the internet has been HUGE for 21st century marketers, not to mention much easier and much cheaper than traditional alternatives. It’s also easier for us to track how consumers are reacting to the content that we’re sharing. Emotional appeal is a huge influencer when it comes to a post’s likelihood of engagement, and the more you use digital marketing tools to help your audiences relate to your message the more they’ll connect with your brand.
Take this commercial from insurance giant Metlife, that tugs at the heart strings and as a result had huge engagement from consumers. WARNING: do not watch in public or without a box of tissues handy.
Tip 6: Consider ditching that direct mail campaign for an email campaign.
We’re not too young to remember the days of direct mail campaigns, which means we’re not too young to remember how expensive and annoying they can be. Address lists aren’t cheap, and neither is paying someone to spend hours folding, stuffing, addressing and stamping your letters. Email is the new direct mail, and the benefits are huge. It’s cheaper, it’s faster, it’s easier, and it’s track-able. There are tons of email marketing services out there (here’s the list of 2015’s best email marketing services) and almost all of them give you the added benefit of tracking the success of your campaign. You can see how many of your emails were opened, how much time was spent reading them, how many people clicked on your website links, etc. In comparison, direct mail campaigns are just more difficult to measure success for.
Tip 7: Recognize that a strong website is key to your success.
With so many other fancy digital marketing tools out there, it’s easy for companies to forget about what we think is your most important asset: your website. It’s the foundation of your brand, the bread and butter of your marketing tools, and it can make or break you. Your website is, in many cases, your first point of contact with a consumer. Sure, it’s possible that they saw your page on Facebook or they heard about you somewhere else, but that true brand connection? That moment when they decide they’re excited or disinterested by you and what you have to offer? It happens the first time they visit your website. Your website should be as strong as your brand, so to be a killer brand you’ve got to have a killer website.
Here are a couple of things you can do to strengthen your website:
-Make sure you understand how to reach consumers with your website
-Make sure that your website is mobile-optimized so that you don’t miss out on consumers who are using their phones
-Make sure that your website is interactive, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing
-Make sure that your website is SEO friendly
-Make sure it stands out
If you’re looking for a real life example, check out the website for Oscar Health. It’s fabulous.
Tip 8: If you can’t do it well, don’t do it.
There are so many tactics available when it comes to digital marketing, and it can be easy to freak out and think that you as a marketer need to be using every single one of them. You’re wrong. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a marketer is to over-reach and spread yourself too thin. Less is sometimes more, and if you have to choose between using 15 marketing tools mediocrely or using 5 marketing tools really really well, always opt for the smaller number. Mediocrity is the bane of our existence, so stick with your strengths and work to further refine them. This doesn’t mean that you should never try new things, it’s important for your digital marketing efforts to continue to grow and evolve and embrace new technologies, but if you’re doing something and it’s not relevant to your brand or hasn’t been successful in reaching your consumers, you might be better served by pulling the cord and focusing those efforts on a tactic that’s been more effective.
If you know that you need to do something but your team just isn't big enough, don't hesitate to ask for help from the experts in health care marketing!