In today’s healthcare marketing landscape, customers and patients have a lot of choices in how they interact with your organization – both digital (website, social media, blogs, webinars) and traditional channels (events/seminars, direct mail, and call center).
They also get to decide which digital device they’d like to use, whether that be a smartphone, desktop computer, or tablet.
This fractured landscape could potentially lead to disjointed experiences that may frustrate customers and lead them to seek out other options. However, well-planned multi-channel marketing campaigns can minimize this possibility and instead give healthcare customers connected journeys across channels.
Multi-channel marketing campaigns mimic consumer behavior, which, according to a Forbes report, is trending toward using many platforms to research and interact with companies prior to purchase. In fact, 72 percent of consumers report that they would prefer to connect with businesses across multiple channels.
Not only do multi-channel healthcare campaigns appeal to customers, but they provide valuable benefits for your organization. Here’s why:
Benefits of Multi-Channel Healthcare Marketing
Multi-channel healthcare marketing ensures customers experience seamless, connected, personalized interactions with health systems, regardless of communication method. Multi-channel healthcare marketing has numerous benefits, including:
Improved Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is crucial; strong healthcare brands inspire consumer trust and boost revenue. As it takes five to seven impressions on average for customers to remember your brand, the more touchpoints the better. Multi-channel marketing is an effective method for creating touchpoints, driving up impressions and building strong brand awareness.
Unified Patient Experience
Switching between platforms and devices is now an extremely common customer behavior, and leveraging multi-channel marketing creates a seamless patient journey, connecting interactions to smoothly move patients from one stage to another.
Greater Patient Engagement
Increasing patient engagement not only boosts acquisition and retention numbers, but it creates more satisfied, healthier patients. Multi-channel marketing helps increase patient engagement by providing personalized, proactive interactions throughout patient life cycles.
Across industries, 90 percent of marketers report higher profits and sales when using multichannel strategies, and 52 percent say they “usually” or “always” hit their financial targets. In the healthcare industry specifically, we’ve seen health systems report more than 40 percent improvement in conversions when using multi-channel marketing.
5 Best Practices for Effective Multi-Channel Healthcare Campaigns
To be impactful, you need to execute multi-channel healthcare campaigns strategically. Let’s look at five best practices:
1. Integrate Your Technology Platforms
If you want customers and patients to have seamless cross-channel experiences, you need to integrate the backend technology platforms that execute them. Just as with personalization, think of the HCRM as your multi-channel marketing hub; it’s the central feature that powers all else.
Key platforms to integrate for multi-channel success are:
- EHR: By connecting your electronic health records (EHR), you bring certain clinical data into the mix, enabling you to personalize by needs and service lines. This integration also helps align marketing with clinical experiences, creating a truly seamless care journey.
- Marketing Automation: By integrating a marketing automation platform with your other marketing technologies, you can create triggers for key touchpoints, like appointment reminders, while still maintaining a level of personalization. For example, a patient signs up for an informational webinar on lowering blood pressure, create a follow-up email around your cardiology services to send the day after the webinar. This keeps customers and patients engaged, with minimal time and effort.
- Call Center: Healthcare call centers offer quick, person-to-person service. They are also an effective communication channel for patient acquisition and retention. Integrating with your HCRM creates an optimized call center platform that supports personalized campaign communication and relationship-building across channels. You can also collaborate with a marketing automation tool to deploy follow-ups on call center discussions, further enabling a seamless cross-channel patient journey.
By connecting marketing tools with your HCRM at the center, you establish processes for personalized, effective cross-channel marketing campaigns.
2. Personalize Across Channels
Impactful multi-channel marketing campaigns include personalized features at every step— using customer names, tailoring based on location, service line, and patient journey stage, providing applicable information and services, and referencing previous interactions. This increases engagement— customers are twice as likely to interact with your content if it’s personalized to them— and creates smooth transitions throughout the patient engagement journey.
To do this, you need detailed insights that give you holistic, 360-degree views of customers and patients. Use a sophisticated HCRM platform to gather, store, and organize customer and patient data across sources like email, social, website, direct mail, and your healthcare call center.
The platform then allows you to easily access the data you need to properly target and communicate with customers and patients, no matter what channel you use to do so. It also collects insights throughout multi-channel campaigns, helping you see what messaging customers have already received and build upon it for increased personalization.
3. Keep Messaging Consistent
To the customer, multi-channel campaigns should feel harmonious. This means that campaign messaging should be consistent, no matter what platform it’s presented on. Customers view your healthcare organization as a whole— the sum of all interactions they have. Thus, consistent, positive experiences with strategic, well-planned messaging at each turn are crucial.
Keep in mind that wording can be varied depending on the stage of the campaign and the platform, but the underlying message should remain constant. For example, a campaign designed to drive flu vaccinations might phrase content for Facebook less formally than for a direct mailer, but both will contain the key message: that your health system is hosting a flu vaccine clinic and customers should attend as a proactive health measure.
4. Include Calls-to-Action
Not only is it important to plan out who you’re targeting and on what channel, but also how you want them to engage. This is where strategic calls-to-action, or CTAs, come into play.
No matter which channel you’re using, include a CTA that drives customers and patients to a further engagement opportunity, such as a form on your website. Campaign CTAs should be consistent across channels, depending on the goal of the campaign.
For example, if the goal is to get customers to schedule a clinical appointment, all campaign content, whether it’s delivered in an email or on an outbound call center call, should include the same CTA: “Schedule an appointment today” with a link to a digital form.
Be sure to include tracking parameters within your CTAs so that you can evaluate conversions by channel and optimize future campaigns.
5. Use Data to Optimize Campaigns Across Channels
As you build multi-channel campaigns, use the data and insights gained in one channel to optimize other channels, and the campaign as a whole. For example, if you’re seeing engagement on social media to an informational video on a new orthopedic procedure, incorporate that video into an email. If a direct mail piece is driving appointment booking with a particular audience, expand the target audience within those parameters.
Continual testing in your digital channels (through A/B testing) and performance measurement are the keys to optimization. Gartner principal research analyst James Meyers states the importance of this clearly:
“Marketers gain confidence in delivering customers’ preferred experiences when they have data that supports the decision. After all, test results are numerical proof that customers prefer one experience over another.”
When getting started, follow A/B testing best practices like setting clear, quantitative campaign goals and utilizing a specialized A/B software platform.
Proper campaign management is critical to multi-channel campaign success; in one report, less than half of respondents said they felt confident in the way they were managing integrated campaigns.
Be sure your campaigns have strong leadership and that you break down operational silos so that messaging and goals are universally understood, planned, and delivered across channels. Prioritizing multi-channel campaign management will help your healthcare organization prove ROI, giving your department a strong case for greater investment into these types of initiatives in the future.