Healthcare Solutions Marketing…REALLY…
An important NUTRIENT for healthy healthcare communications…
Advantages & Benefits for Clients
Before founding Ascendant Advertising & Communications, I had a boss/ manager (not leader) who took great self-flattery when saying “marketing is an activity that is a necessary evil; advertising is a subjective expense; while public relations is free.” Moreover, these opinions came from MBA’s in marketing, and even phds and above… hey, what’s up with that less than success attitude?
Then again, over and again, I also hear businesses and even consultants claim that advertising is an investment. While that is true – when their marketing elements and or campaigns are unsuccessful, those same groups – call it an unnecessary waste of resources. In literal context – actually – Marketing cannot be both. ________________________________________________________________________________
dear to: YOU, Not many physicians have heard of content marketing. Frankly, in our view, it’s a new term–probably created by social media and Internet marketing types–for an already established way to keep current patients engaged while also attracting new patients.
Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of content for the purpose of acquiring customers. It is the art of communicating with customers and prospects without selling.
We appreciate the designation ‘content marketing’ and believe the attention it’s getting is justified – especially in healthcare. In fact, Ascendant Agency is very experienced with content marketing and we have been delivering measurable performance results for medical practices commensurate with this approach for many years.
Having so much technology and so many channels of influence today, consumers are now less motivated by promotional marketing than they were in the past. They routinely ignore advertisements- whether those are on-line, on the radio or television, or even in magazines and newspapers unless those ads have immediate relevance and or are catchy. Plus, most of our clients don’t have the resources to over saturate running their promotional communications as is done by the likes of GEICO, pharmaceutical companies, Unilever, and others.
So, how does content marketing work?
Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if you (as a company or medical practice) deliver consistent, ongoing, and valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.
Large consumer companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, John Deere, and even Weber Grills have embraced this option. Small businesses and independent entrepreneurs are benefiting from it too.
Still, the boom in the public’s dependence on social media, the Internet, and smart phones has given content marketing a major boost. It is now easier than ever to develop relationships with existing and prospective patients. Not only is it efficient and effective–this type of marketing is also one of the least expensive options, when applied correctly. Conversely, it can quickly prove detrimental and costly–if done unprofessionally and or if the approach/ strategy is misguided.
Yet, in our opinion, healthcare is the most ideal environment for highly valuable content marketing. Those practices that seek to become established and or those that have a plan for meaningful growth most certainly should have a strategy that includes allocation for content marketing activities.
While executing a good content marketing plan for healthcare may seem simple: Buyer beware. Interacting with prospective, new, and existing patients is different and often more delicate than a typical retail or commercial environment. Not only is every one of your patients unique in how they listen, learn, and respond–the regulatory environment (for example, HIPPA requirements, etc.) is unique and exacting as well. Most marketing agencies can (and will) claim they provide content marketing solutions for their clients, but few can confidently share-when it involves healthcare and medical practice marketing-that they have the proven results and experience of Ascendant Advertising and Communications.
That said, how can physicians use content marketing? Perhaps the easiest place to start: develop content (and creative) that is valuable and relevant to your patients and add it to your web site, blog, social media, and or patient newsletters. There are many additional and more effective approaches as well that we’d welcome discussing with you directly. While not all content marketing applications are a fit for every practice or healthcare system, you might find the following simple examples interesting and worthy of further consideration.
Practice changes: Keep your patients updated on any practice changes, such as adding a new physician, change in office hours, new practice services added, etc.
What you do: If you are a family physician and you offer sport physicals for students, explain what you look for during a sports physical. If you offer travel medicine exams and immunizations, explain why these are important.
FAQs: Keep track of the questions your patients ask and answer those in-depth.
Video: People read less and watch more. YouTube is now the number two search engine, after Google. And patients are searching for videos to answer specific questions, such as “What can I expect after my colonoscopy” or “Should I have a PSA screening?”
Health in the news: Let’s say a new study has been published on colon cancer screening, and the study has been misconstrued by the media. Set the record straight for your patients by posting the correct information about the study on your web site and encouraging your patients to see you if they have any concerns about colon cancer.
Health topics relevant to your patient base: Think about your patients and what most concerns them. What top 10 patient conditions do you treat? Write a short blog post about each of them and encourage patients to seek treatment for these conditions from you.
Importance of immunizations: There is a lot misinformation about vaccinations. Explain to your patients why vaccines are important and how they should discuss their concerns with you. Provide links to reputable web sites and credible information about immunizations.
Pros and cons exist for each content marketing element and we advise against trying to apply those that are not central to your practice and specialties. Misguided communications can prove costly.
While we also believe there remains value in promotional marketing, that too should be applied with selective consideration and its cost-benefit should be understood.
IF the whole thing was planned and managed properly… THAT’s effective MARKETING and COMMUNICATIONS Ascendant Advertising and Communications Agency style.
ThinkAboutIT.sm Then consult with us to fully understand how to apply professional, successful, and transactional content marketing and promotional marketing with business savvy.
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