Marketing strategies can vary between industries, and healthcare marketing brings its own specific set of challenges. The tone, personality, social media presence, and web content of healthcare organizations is traditionally quite calm, reassuring, and clean. Healthcare brands need to communicate expertise, reliability, and hospitality to their audience, and for good reason: clients want to feel welcomed and understood when managing their health. The trouble is, this leads to many healthcare brands promoting themselves in very similar ways, making healthcare branding quite monotonous and every brand ends up seeming the same.
Healthcare organizations are faced with the dilemma of creating a marketing strategy that is relevant to their clients, but that is also innovative, memorable, and fresh. If businesses simply throw away the basic principles of healthcare marketing for the sake of creativity and name recognition, they run the risk of being perceived as inappropriate or out of touch with their customers. This dilemma leaves many healthcare brands confused and wondering how to move forward with their marketing strategies.
Whether your brand needs to generate new leads, reach prospective patients, retain current patients, manage its reputation, or build its online presence, here is a guide for developing a one-of-a-kind healthcare marketing strategy.
The Basics of Healthcare Marketing
At its core, healthcare marketing should communicate with, educate, and motivate consumers in every aspect of healthcare, from patient care to science-based preventions. Healthcare marketing is what supports healthcare practices by facilitating a relationship between providers and patients. Brands can use marketing to increase their client base, build brand awareness, trust, and social proof, and promote themselves as thought leaders and authorities within the healthcare space. Healthcare marketing is also essential to help keep the public informed about new developments in the healthcare space, such as new vaccines and HIPAA updates.
There are two basic types of healthcare marketing: traditional and digital. Traditional forms of marketing include direct mail, print ads, TV and radio ads, telemarketing, in-person sales, and trade shows. Digital forms of marketing focus on online communication with consumers through social media, email campaigns, website content, PPC ads, video and streaming service ads, influencer marketing, and targeted SEO and SEM.
Depending on your organization’s needs, you may have specific objectives to meet with your healthcare marketing. There are, however, a few common goals that apply to every healthcare brand:
- Build brand awareness and authority by demonstrating thought leadership in published content
- Generate high-quality leads via coordinated marketing strategies and consistent messaging
- Optimize the patient acquisition process to make it more robust and streamlined
- Serve the right information at the right time to local searches
- Keep current patients engaged and informed about their healthcare options
- Engage with former and current patient feedback to build social proof and brand trust
How can my brand break through the marketing noise?
Subtly differentiating your brand through healthcare marketing is a difficult art form to master, but it can be done. With a bit of guidance and practice, you can learn effective ways to position your brand as an industry leader. Allow your brand stand out from the crowd while also giving customers what they want by following these basic steps:
- 1. Find your niche. Determine what makes your brand one of a kind, and then promote that message consistently across all channels. Is your brand’s origin story unique or interesting? Is your mission statement culturally relevant? Do your staff offer unique specializations? Use these questions to develop effective PPC ads that speak directly to your areas of expertise. Build responsive web pages that offer customers a seamless way to access exactly what they need. Harnessing your brand’s individuality will help you craft highly effective marketing.
- 2. Understand your target audience. Invest in market research to understand exactly what type of consumer you are trying to reach. Where do your potential customers live, what do they value, why would they seek your services, and how do they prefer to communicate? Rather than mimicking the marketing techniques of a company with a different target audience than your brand, spend your time and resources crafting original, compelling content that resonates with your unique audience.
- 3. Understand your competition. Before you can stand out from the competition, you must first understand who they are and what they offer. Examine your direct competitors’ messaging and notice the way they portray themselves. What tone do they adopt when speaking to consumers? What imagery do they use to make people feel cared for and comforted? How are they leveraging their unique tone and value proposition to make themselves stand out? Use those insights to reflect on your own brand and what you want to represent and then develop email campaigns and social media posts to match.
- 4. Don’t forget your industry. To stand out, you may have the urge to do the opposite of the brands around you or to replicate successful brands in other industries. But healthcare branding is similar across the board for a reason: potential customers want thought leadership, reliability, and a friendly face in their time of need. When crafting marketing messages across your traditional and digital media channels, don’t forget to maintain those core industry values.
- 5. Find ways to be bold. You want your brand to stand out, but not stick out. Instead of surprising consumers at every corner, try to find small ways to make your brand different. Social media is prime real estate for brands looking to try out bold new looks and gain insight as to how audiences react. Even small shifts in your brand imagery, color palette, motto, or name can set you apart and catch potential customers’ attention while still communicating your trustworthiness as a brand.
- 6. Make your brand visible. When potential customers need healthcare, your brand should be top-of-mind. Keep your brand in the forefront by communicating with consumers regularly and cultivating relationships with them. Market research can highlight how your target demographic prefers to receive information—via print, email, social media, or other channels—so be sure to use these insights to stay active in those mediums. Then, when people need help, your brand will be the first name on their minds. In today’s digital age, visibility can be achieved through a variety of mediums, including Google business profiles and direct referral programs, so leverage those options to keep your brand on consumers’ minds.
Healthcare marketing with (matter).
Are you a healthcare marketer looking to take your brand to the next level? The experts at (matter) can help you perfect bold branding that makes you stand out in the best possible way. We deliver smart brand and design solutions that make a positive impact across our clients’ digital ecosystems. To learn more about how to take your healthcare marketing to the next level, visit the (matter) website or contact us for a consultation.