Digital media has drastically altered the way health care information is consumed, how patients select providers and services, and how providers look for additional resources. Consider just a sampling of eye-opening statistics.
- 73 percent of consumers use search engines to search for treatment.
- 83 percent of patients will visit a hospital website before booking an appointment.
- 62 percent of Smartphone owners use their device to look up health care information. That number jumps to 75 percent when just looking at users between 18 and 29 years old.
What kind of health care information are people searching for? Here's what a study from Pew Internet & American Life Project found. Specific disease or medical problem (63 percent)
- Medical treatment or procedure (47 percent)
- Diet, nutrition and vitamins (44 percent)
- Exercise and fitness (36 percent)
- Prescription and OTC drugs (34 percent)
- Alternative treatments (28 percent)
- Health insurance (25 percent)
- Anxiety and stress (21 percent)
- A particular doctor or hospital (21 percent)
Patients aren't the only ones using online resources. Sixty percent of doctors say social media improves the quality of care they deliver to patients. Another survey found that two-thirds of physicians use social media for professional purposes, and patients are happy with this new dynamic. Fifty-one percent say they are "very comfortable" with their providers seeking advice from online communities.
What social media platforms are most popular? LinkedIn has many groups that are specifically for physicians around the world, including groups hosted by Physician's Practice and Medical Group Management Association. In addition, there are many social media networks that specifically target medical professionals. For example, Sermo provides a platform for physicians around the world to solicit advice from their peers with 800,000 users in 150 countries. WeChat is the most popular social media platform in China, and is becoming more popular throughout Southeast Asia. In fact, according to one study, U.S. physicians lag behind their Asian counterparts when it comes to their comfort level on these digital platforms.
Why do these studies and statistics matter to today's health care marketer? Knowing where your potential customers are going for answers to their pain points is critical to optimizing their journey to your product or service. Transparency and authenticity reign in today's marketing environment. Audiences want valuable content in a format that is easily digestible. How can you navigate the digital media landscape successfully? Here are four tips.
Identify the Top Media Platforms
Google. Facebook. Instagram. YouTube. Successful media platforms are plentiful, but it's critical to find out where your potential and existing customers are. For example, one percent of all Google searches are related to medical symptoms. That may not seem like a lot, but consider that 3.5 billion Google searches are performed daily. That means 35 million online searches are performed for health care information every day. So, display and search ads are definitely on the table in the health care digital landscape.
Further refine your available platforms by narrowing in on your audience. For example, if you are targeting parents, find out what resources they use. What platforms do parents view as credible and reliable? One survey found that 22 percent of parents use Facebook and 20 percent use YouTube for health care related inquiries. For patients in general, the same survey found that 56 percent of consumers searched WebMD, 31 percent Wikipedia, 29 percent health care magazine websites, 17 percent Facebook and 15 percent YouTube. Another 13 percent used blogs, and 12 percent joined patient communities.
Where do your customers look for reliable information? In addition to general research, get specific data by asking your existing customers. A simple, "how did you hear about us?" can provide valuable insights into where your consumers are going for their information. Consider these next steps to determine what platform is best for your brand.
- Define your goals. Is your objective raising awareness, generating new leads, driving consideration of your brand/business, or driving conversion (sales)?
- Analyze your resources. This includes both your budget and your staff resources. What platforms will bring the most ROI? Do you have the skills in-house to develop a successful campaign on your preferred platform? Skills to consider include development and creative talents, search and social marketing expertise, as well as setting up digital tools, defining measurement and performance frameworks, and campaign optimization. Determine what you want to do in-house and what might be best to outsource.
Choose the Most Effective Formats
The formats you choose should be driven by your target audience. For example, video is a valuable tool if you are targeting physicians. Why? Doctors are usually searching for techniques, examples and suggestions. They are trying to consume a lot of information about a topic quickly. Therefore, video length should be based on your specific campaign objectives.
Ninety percent of what goes into our minds is visual, and visual elements are processed 60,000 times faster than text. A video is an easy way to digest complex information and retain it. These facts make videos an excellent way to educate and motivate physicians to consider a product or service. In addition, getting your physicians, researchers or developers on camera to explain or demonstrate your product adds credibility.
Forty-one percent of consumers say the content they found on social media impacted their choice of hospital or treatment center. Consider this scenario. You're seeking to educate patients about the benefits of your product. Take advantage of all those Google searches by creating rich blog content that answers questions, and provides quick tips and advice about the health condition related to your product. Use search or social media ads to drive traffic to your blog content.
Consider writing in-depth patient success stories, journeys that other patients will relate too. Combining organic content with your ad format will give your campaign an authentic, transparent feel, and forms a more comprehensive digital ecosystem for your brand. However, don't discount video for patient marketing. Videos inspire, especially ones that feature other patients that viewers identify with. Build credibility by interviewing a patient to go along with the "in-depth" patient success story described above.
Transparency and Optimization
We've already discussed transparency in the context of the content you push out to users. It's critical that they view your ad as an "open book," someone with no hidden agendas whose main concern is solving their pain points. However, transparency is digital marketing applies to managing your cost and inventory. According to AdWeek, as of last year an estimated $120 billion in media advertising was under review due to trust and transparency issues. Ad transparency across all platforms means you know where your ads are placed, the context and the performance. What is the cost-per-conversion on your pay-per-click campaigns? How much of a traffic increase has resulted from your YouTube videos?
Implementing a process that closely monitors ad performance provides transparency and arms you with the data you need to optimize your campaigns throughout their lifecycles. For example, if a Facebook ad has a high click-through-rate, but your cost-per-conversion is high too, it's time to look closely at the campaign performance to determine what elements of the program to optimise towards.
AdTech and MarTech: Keys to Following the Golden Rules
If you think tracking all the data needed to optimize your campaigns is impossible, you're not alone. Thankfully, technology makes it easy. In fact, 74 percent of marketers say they want to work with agencies who know how to make use of AdTech (advertising technology). According to MarTech Today, agencies and marketers need to "think like data companies."
However, AdTech and MarTech go far beyond simply monitoring the data of existing campaigns. According to Chief Marketing Technologist Blog, 80 percent of consumer health is driven by factors like what we eat, where we live, marital status, educational background, how much TV we watch, how long we sleep, how much we exercise or even what we read. These factors force marketers to always be "listening." Individuals can go from a passive healthcare consumer to someone who is actively looking for a treatment, device, doctor or hospital in minutes. Awareness and a proactive approach to healthcare marketing are critical. MarTech makes that possible. Here's just a sampling of two of the most common MarTech solutions.
- Automated communication. Data-driven communication provides relevant content that is customized to the consumer. From appointment reminders to lifestyle tips, MarTech enables marketers to reach consumers exactly when they need their product or service. For example, Marketo is a effective tool that combines email, content, automation and social media. It allows marketers to measure the performance of campaigns, and identify potential customers based on their demographics and online behaviors.
- CRM management. CRM tools are the most powerful MarTech resources. Tools, such as Salesforce or HubSpot, enable companies to organize, track and nurture leads, and ultimately achieve the highest return on their advertising spend. An effective CRM allows you to create deeper relationships with customers and potential customers. In fact, HubSpot is consistently rated as one of the top 10 CRM's for healthcare companies.
AdTech and MarTech leverage the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and many others to deliver a seamless customer experience in a data-driven and data-informed manner.
Daptiv is passionate about enabling Asian businesses to create great customer experiences using best in class technology and tools. Contact us to learn more about our services.