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inboundMed Blog

4 stepping stones to successful online healthcare marketing

Oct 19, 2016 5:30:00 AM / by inboundMed

stepping_stonesSometimes the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line, but a carefully targeted pathway of action items to execute so that you can achieve specific goals.

Following this crooked path of key stepping stones, you can build a marketing strategy for your healthcare company or medical practice which shrinks the distance between you and your prospective patients and can greatly increase the odds that you will expand your patient base as a result. 

The foundation of successful medical marketing has its roots in inbound strategy. The concept is deceptively simple. 

They ask, you answer.

Rather than push an advertising message on to populations of patients who are already steeped in information overload, you listen for their questions first, then produce the answers to their questions.

Using a campaign-building framework based on this problem-solving concept can help you strengthen your marketing strategy and avoid common marketing mistakes.

We believe in the "stepping stone" approach to the "They ask, you answer" concept and have detailed it below. It provides a simply framework for thinking about both the problems that need solving and the ways in which you can solve them. 

Stepping stones to healthcare marketing success

Stepping Stone #1: Identify your patients' most frequently asked questions concrete_question_mark

Any campaign should be built around identifying problems that your business is poised to solve. In the case of the independent healthcare business, there are two main problems:

  1. The medical problems that your prospective patients have a burning need to solve, and
  2. Your challenge in acquiring them as new patients so you can help them solve their medical problems.

Your current patients’ most frequently asked questions can give you significant insight into the kinds of problems your potential patients need to solve (and how you are best suited to help them).

Compiling lists of questions helps to frame their pain points into categories of information around which you can start building content for your marketing campaign. 

You can learn more about “playing 20 Questions” to identify your patients’ needs and identities here.

Stepping Stone #2: Build and understand your specific patient personas stone_face

It’s likely you have 3 or 4 archetypal patient groups who most often seek your services. These archetypes provide the basis for building patient personas you can target as part of your campaign.  

Start with the questions that you identified at stepping stone #1 to help you shape personas that represent your targeted patients. Personas can be thought of as representative of distinctive patient populations.

For instance, a pediatric psychiatry clinic may specifically serve, on a regular basis, these 3 different patient groups:

  • developmentally challenged patients in the preschool-aged category
  • pre-adolescents with learning disorders
  • at-risk teenagers who have been disciplined for behavior problems at school

See how these 3 categories of patients are completely different from one another? That’s because they are archetypal and can be represented by these distinctive “character sketches” that define their representative personas.  

Want to learn more about building patient personas? Click here.

Stepping Stone #3: Create your costone_tabletntent around these patient questions and personas

Now you can start putting together ideas for content. What qualifies as content? Most commonly, you start with blog posts.

Blog posts are “fresh” content, which helps your medical practice website improve its chances of “getting found” on the Internet by search engines and, ultimately, prospective patients.

Blogs can include all kinds of content forms: text and photos are a common duo, but these days, animations, podcast links with transcripts, how-to videos, slideshows, and infographics can also relay the same “fresh” content you want on your website.  

The blog posts you write have amazing value for a number of reasons, but ultimately, key to their value is the opportunity they provide to readers who need to find you so that you can help them solve their medical problems.

Other places where strong content can be very useful to your marketing efforts include landing pages, static web pages, e-books that visitors can download, call-to-action (CTA) offers, and PDF worksheets that readers can apply meaningfully to their problems (such as understanding the abbreviations and language written on a prescription bottle label).

Check out this previous discussion on where to begin when writing blog posts.

Stepping Stone #4: Use a checklist to manage youstepping_stones_with_blue_arrow_toward_goals_and_benchmarksr overall healthcare marketing strategy

A checklist can do a lot of things to keep your marketing campaign focused so that you can: 

  • keep on task with producing frequent, high-quality blog content
  • amplify your content through dedicated social media channels
  • employ smart search engine optimization (SEO) practices using smart keyword tactics
  • nurture leads, develop relationships, and build trust with potential patients
  • analyze patterns in traffic and engagement that inform decision making
  • land conversions by assisting your new patients along their "patient journey"

The value of the checklist is more than just tracking your efforts. It also helps you identify concrete goals and establish tangible benchmarks for your marketing campaign at the very start.

You cannot know if your campaign is working without putting analytics, editorial schedules, social media presence, SEO tactics, and other practical applications of your marketing strategy into play.

But... you can't having a working campaign at all without first following these 4 stepping stones. stone_magnifying_glass

Review these varied and essential elements of your campaign with an eye for identifying both strong points and weak links.

This allows you the wherewithal to redirect energies and resources if and when your campaign falters, as well as the motivation to streamline your campaign if and when it suddenly strikes gold.

Below you will find the link to our popular Marketing Checklist offer, which goes into great detail about strategy based on the stepping stone approach outlined here. Click the image to get your copy so you have fuel to hit the ground running with your healthcare marketing campaign.

InboundMed Marketing Checklist

Topics: medical practice, healthcare marketing

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Written by inboundMed

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