The sensitivity of human health and the zero margin for error makes the healthcare industry different from any other sector. It’s not only highly regulated but there are also certain ethical concerns that your online marketing has to take cognizance of. The lives of your audience could be on the line. Even though the goal of your healthcare practice is to make a profit, you shouldn’t develop a defective product or use misleading advertising that could place your patients’ lives in danger. Fortunately, there are ways you can strike the right balance between regulatory compliance, medical ethics, and effective digital and healthcare marketing.
1. Make the Conversation Fun
Healthcare topics can make for somber conversations. Many people searching for a health-related topic online are likely looking for answers to a medical condition or exploring solutions on how they can better improve their health. Nevertheless, your healthcare product marketing campaign doesn’t have to be engulfed in a cloud of doom and gloom. By injecting some fun and excitement into your campaign, you are more likely to get your audience interested in what you are saying.
In between the solid research-based narration, find time to include some humor and even interactive games. Your content should not be a boring endless monologue. Rather, it should encourage active participation by your audience. They should feel compelled to share the content on social media. Just be sure to not go overboard since sounding casual and unserious won’t do your product much good.
2. Appeal to Community Values
From the get-go, your product will likely be facing dozens of competitors. And if you think about it, there’s probably not a whole lot that distinguishes your product from every other one in the market. That’s why it takes more to persuade your target audience to buy your product and not your rivals’. Associating your product with certain social causes and community values can provide that much-needed boost to your product’s profile.
The good news is that the healthcare industry is better placed than most to plug into such causes. People like to be associated with the fight against cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, dementia, malaria, and other illnesses. All you need to do is identify the cause that your product would be best aligned with then show your support. You could partner with a charity, donate to a specialty hospital or participate in an awareness campaign (e.g. during World Cancer Day).
3. Be a Reliable Information Resource
One of the main reasons we are so scared of sickness and disease is because of the nagging fear that we don’t fully understand what could be going on within our bodies. We go to a doctor because we want to listen to a recognized expert tell us what the problem could be and the best way to fight it. You will do your healthcare product a whole lot of good if you demonstrate that you are a source of reliable, fact-based knowledge about the associated health issue.
Many people will go to the Internet first for information before they set up an appointment with their doctor. In fact, since it isn’t really that one visits the doctor for each and every minute ache and pain they experience, the Internet has fast become the go-to resource for mild to moderate health issues. It’s only when the online suggestions fail to deliver the desired results that people will seek expertise offline.
It’s therefore important that your website and social media pages provide the answers your target audience is looking for. Refer and link to credible studies that support your arguments. Make your content so authoritative that people are comfortably linking back to it when discussing the subject matter elsewhere online (to understand the gravity of backlinks in SEO, get more on this site).
Organize live chats, Facebook Live or Twitter Q&A sessions where your customers and prospects have an opportunity to ask questions on the subject matter. Given the gravity of health matters, be honest when you don’t know the answer to any question.
4. Embrace Audio-Visual Tools
Getting the facts right is critical when it comes to healthcare-related online marketing campaigns. However, it’s just as important that the information is presented to your audience in a form that’s easy to digest.
The healthcare industry is bedeviled by complicated jargon far more than any other sector. While these difficult terms may accurately explain the issue, they inadvertently push away readers who aren’t familiar with them (and that often happens to be the overwhelming majority of readers).
Unless your product is meant for doctors and other persons with deep technical knowledge of the issue at hand, always assume you are speaking to an audience that is unfamiliar with medical terminology. Audio-visual tools such as videos, charts, infographics and digital brochures can come in handy in this regard.
It’s all about presenting information in a way that’s interesting, relatable and understandable. A single-page infographic with all the key findings is much easier to follow than a 20-page research report. Audio-visual tools help you cut through the lengthy explanations so you can get to the point fast.
5. Develop Relationships
Successful entrepreneurs and business executives have long known that making an emotional connection with customers is a critical ingredient for success. Perhaps in no other industry is this as important as it is in the healthcare sector. Illness is a worrying issue and patients would like to feel some connection with their doctor that allows them to freely express themselves.
The Internet may have introduced a great deal of speed and efficiency when it comes to doing business. However, it also has a tendency of making business-to-customer relationships distant and impersonal. You must put deliberate effort into making sure an emotional bond is established with customers.
One of the best ways to do this is getting your staff involved in responding to comments on your website, actively participating with their own accounts on your social media channels, sharing their personal healthcare stories and posting videos showing them participating in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
6. Empower Your Customers to Be Your Marketers
Customers are the single most underutilized resource in online marketing. Many organizations spend a great deal of their time and resources in building a perfect product and developing an elaborate digital marketing strategy. What they, however, fail to do is create the environment and avail the tools needed to make their satisfied customers the foremost advocates for their product.
Customers can be a powerful, persuasive voice for your business. They are perceived as impartial and therefore their opinion of the product will be more believable. Encourage your happy customers to share their positive sentiment online including on their social media pages. Video testimonials and referrals are especially moving. You, however, have to make sure any customer information you share on your site is with their consent and adheres to HIPAA guidelines.
Using these tips, you will find new ways to market your healthcare products online, demonstrate your expertise and lay the foundation for your healthcare business to thrive.