This post is the third in a four-part blog series that discusses why hospital marketers must transition from traditional marketing campaigns and embrace digital marketing. Be sure to check out part one and two and four for more information on why hospital marketers must transition from traditional marketing campaigns and embrace digital marketing. This post discusses digital marketing campaigns tactics and challenges in more detail.
More on Metrics
Our last post on this topic left off with a discussion about metrics, which is the most important component of digital marketing and is what differentiates digital marketing campaigns from traditional marketing campaigns. When you initially launch a digital marketing strategy, we suggest that you keep your metrics simple and then branch out to tracking more advanced metrics as your team’s skills grows and your ability to track more advanced metrics via your CRM system expands. For example:
Setting goals and tracking success or non-success is the only way you will know whether your campaigns are working. Using this information, you can continuously change and improve your healthcare digital marketing strategy and campaign tactics.
The Omni-Channel Experience
Before you develop your campaign plan, you need to reflect on how a patient or consumer wishes to engage with your organization, what we call the “channels of communication.” There are many choices: the in-patient or out-patient experience itself, a telephone call, through a website or mobile app, social media, your blog, or at an educational seminar. Furthermore, a consumer can access your services using many devices — their phone, smartphone, tablet, or computer.
An omni-channel experience provides a unified, seamless, harmonious experience to every consumer regardless of the channel he/she chooses to use.
As a marketer looking to develop an omni-channel experience, you must understand and consider the customer first — not the product or service you are offering and not the channel of communication. To optimize an omni-channel experience, you must ensure that you structure the patient or consumer experience around the patient or customer — regardless of the channel — by listening to, capturing, and analyzing data about the patient or consumer and how they want to interact with you across all channels.
The Contact Database
Digital marketing campaigns are not just about email marketing, but more than likely, emails will be a component of the plan. This means you need a good list of contacts with email addresses. The dreaded contact database…how do you start developing it? You may have a list of names and addresses from your traditional marketing campaigns, but you don’t have email addresses. So how can you get this information?
- First, you can start with the hospital’s list of patients.
- Then you can begin to build out the list with the new visitors that come to your website or respond to your campaigns.
- To help you quickly build out your list, consider partnering with a vendor that offers both a CRM system and the ability to match and append the hospital list with consumer data. This extends the reach of your digital campaigns to new segments not otherwise available to the hospital.
Finally — the Campaign Plan Itself!
By now you know:
- Who to target
- How to segment
- Your key messages
- Your calls to action
You are now ready to develop your campaign plan — a tactical plan that lays out all inbound and outbound marketing activities over a 6-12 month period.
Inbound campaigns are those that ‘pull’ patients and consumers to you and include:
- Search engine marketing (SEM) and Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media campaigns
- A website, microsite, or landing page
- Thought leadership content residing on your own website or on a sponsored site
Alternatively, outbound campaigns are activities where you “push” patients and consumers to you and include:
- Direct mail
- Call campaigns
- Trade shows,
- Seminars, etc.
Yes, we include direct mail in the list above. Remember those direct mail campaigns you ran as part of your traditional marketing campaign strategy? You don’t need to stop executing them because they may still be useful as awareness campaigns. In a digital marketing environment, building awareness with patients and consumers and the media is still important. Do consider the cost and resources committed to those activities and weigh them against more measurable activities. You may also want to rethink your target audiences and ensure that you integrate any direct mail campaign with the rest of your digital marketing strategy.
Most importantly, you don’t “touch” a patient or customer just once. Instead, you “nurture” a patient or consumer to entice a conversation over a period of time through “multiple touches.”
Not all leads are equal and you need to find a methodology to separate cold leads from hot leads and anything in-between. Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank patients and consumers against a scale (e.g., 1–5), where each number in the scale represents the perceived value of a lead. The lead score then determines the next follow-up action (e.g., include in another campaign, forward the lead to the call center, etc.). Scoring gives marketing credibility with the rest of the organization and ensures that marketing and/or sales acts upon a lead appropriately and on a timely basis. If you don’t score your leads, your digital marketing efforts will not succeed.