It has become essential for healthcare businesses to leverage digital marketing over the last few years. In an industry undergoing rapid change, healthcare organizations have become adept at implementing marketing strategies. Adoption of digital innovation has not only helped the sector to boost growth post pandemic but also has aided in advancing the management process.
This shift to remote work, triggered by COVID-19, greatly affected the functioning of the manufacturing unit of pharmaceuticals – hampering the supply chain, impacting healthcare professionals (HCPs), sales representatives & regional business managers (RBMs) along with the patient community.
The need for digitization in the healthcare sector is crucial considering patients and customers (internal and external stakeholders) are the centre of focus. To better serve them, companies have been stepping up their digital marketing skills.
Millennials, Gen Z, and the upcoming generation, Gen Alpha are all considered to be tech and social media savvy. This also suggests that these group of people will be the potential stakeholders for the industry. In contrary to baby boomers who relied more on word-of-mouth marketing in absence of social media presence, a patient from the new generation will first go online to check reviews, google symptoms, and read doctor credentials before making an appointment to visit a general physician or a hospital. Hence, building a strong and trustworthy online presence becomes not only essential but also deploying a team of digital marketers is a need of the hour for healthcare providers.
These trained marketers will make use of the best digital marketing channels from content marketing, digital advertising (paid ads), social media marketing, search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEOs) and other specialized tools to ensure patients and customers find the business online and engage with the brand. This is also proved in an article published by the University of Scranton, whereby consumers heavily rely on information found online and use it to gather healthcare information and connect with other patients to garner support and learn about similar conditions.
With the surge in usage of artificial intelligence applications and tools such as Jasper AI, Chat GPT, Synthesia, Dall-E-2 and Canva, the future of traditional marketing like traditional advertising is likely to lose its dominance. Digital adoption in marketing is growing at an exponential rate. Phone and tablets have become a necessity for majority of people. Therefore, this rises the expectations to find results faster about the search query on these electronic platforms by people. The healthcare companies must utilise these digital prospects to their benefit by reworking and adopting to the ever-changing world of digital marketing.
Digital marketing has higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional channels. This is because it is easy to target the audience – the ones who know the business and the ones you want to reach and create awareness about your brand. The cost is customized as per the content and your target audience the business wishes to reach.
The Internet is where the customers spend a lot of time which means to be able to reach them the brand must be present on these platforms too. According to a recent report by Hootsuite, 31.8% of Canadians use social media to find information about brands and products and over 31.8 million Canadians use an average of 6 different social networks, spending 1hr 53 minutes on an average everyday.
The audience gets a chance to skip ads when presented or shown a traditional advertising versus digital marketing – as it aims to reach potential audience who will more likely become a brand’s customers.
For example, a local mental health centre can create a digital marketing campaign using social media platforms to make the residents of the city aware of its existence, educate the audience about staff, help in identifying symptoms, and share treatment options.
Trained digital marketers will know to create a positive online presence for the brand. They will build pages for patient/customer testimonials to post positive reviews creating a referral system. These marketing professionals will help curate and maintain spaces for patients to advertise for the business who share their experience with the brand and are willing to leave a positive review online. As Canadians are looking up for products and services online, reviews will help them in making an informed decision.
In modern times, businesses can not truly be closed anymore. While the physical office space will have business hours, the prospective clientele will expect to have interaction and engagement with the brand 24/7 through websites and social media channels. With the evolution of technology, presenting audience with an opportunity for open communication with the brand at all hours play an important role in long term.
To elaborate on the previous example, if the local mental health centre has a fully functional website and up-to-date social media platforms that states all services, health packages, about the doctors-nurses, area for booking appointments will not only help in building trust in the services provided by the brand but will also support in generating leads off-working hours.
Healthcare for everyone is different and is subject to personalization when it viewed by marketers for content creation. Following a generic approach can result in failure, however, a tailored made marketing approach will prove to be profitable. The digital experts will improve the communication for the brands and assist them to reach their patients in a personalized manner to cater to audience’s specific needs.
The availability of various social media channels creates space for a flexible marketing campaign that will incorporate mix of desired platforms according to the brand’s target audience. The best part about utilizing social media marketing for a healthcare service is that if the campaign is not working in its initial stage of launch, the strategy can easily be modified and updated to improve results for generating better leads thus profiting.
In contrary to traditional marketing, one of the key advantages of digital marketing is its ability to gain measurable results. The capability of tracking and analyzing data helps to better understand customer action and engagement and preferences of potential customers, target audience. As the findings identify, it will assist the decision makers of the company to make right and informed judgements about future investments in digital marketing.
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