As hospitals and health systems continue to aggressively compete for new patients, it’s more important than ever for organizations to develop digital and traditional advertising strategies that are designed to educate and acquire consumers.
While there are many reasons for businesses to develop advertising campaigns, there are some very specific reasons why health organizations should. One obvious reason is that advertising allows specific targeting of a segmented portion of an audience.
Whether the target audience is new mothers, recovering orthopedic patients, or those facing a cancer diagnosis, media strategies can effectively position specific physicians, expertise, technology, and convenient access to those researching their options for care.
When the time comes to incorporate digital advertising, or more traditional approaches to paid marketing, there are a few elements that will enhance the development and success of campaigns.
Don’t just have a media plan, develop an effective one
Develop reasonable goals.
Is the goal of your campaign to acquire new patients? Or to promote awareness of a new location? Whatever the goal may be, certain media choices may be better options than others to deliver the appropriate results.
Establish your target audience.
Once goals have been determined, it’s time to determine which consumers should be targeted with paid advertising efforts. Experienced media agencies are able to develop highly targeted plans to reach very specific audiences and demographics, in the most efficient ways.
Determine available budgets.
The higher reach and frequency of a campaign, the more likely it will be successful. Traditional media such as print and outdoor have higher costs yet provide a greater reach, while digital efforts provide higher frequency and more-specific targeting at lower costs.
Decide on distribution channels.
Not all media channels and outlets are created equal. Depending on target audiences, it’s important to understand where customers are consuming content and marketing messages. Social media continues to change how advertising messages are delivered on a daily basis and is a great option to distribute paid content.
Know your buyer's journey
Once you determine which tactics and channels will help you reach your target audience, it’s also important to consider where those tactics and channels fall within that audience’s journey.
It’s important that you have content that guides audiences from awareness to consideration, consideration to decision, and decision to loyalty. While not all of the content needed across the buyer’s journey is paid, many pieces of content can be repurposed and reworked for use in multiple channels.
Social media ads, paid search, TV ads, and sponsored content drive audience awareness. Content like a blog, website landing page, social media, and retargeting ads drive audiences from awareness to consideration. The buyer’s journey continues with content like videos, webinars, consultations, and reviews guiding people to their decision. And finally, customers become loyal evangelists through email, surveys, testimonials and events.
Plan for change
As we stated earlier, digital advertising allows you to target specific audiences with pinpoint accuracy, and the benefits don’t end there. Additionally, digital advertising campaigns are nimble, and changes can be made in real time.
Advertisers can test digital ad text and creative variations, then double down on versions that perform the best. If a crisis or major event requires adjustments to budget or messaging, it can be done instantly. If consumer media consumption shifts—which it inevitably will—paid media can quickly and efficiently pivot in reaction to that shift.
Measure the Results
It’s important to remember that in the world of media strategy, it’s not necessarily about instant success. Hospitals and health systems should focus on the long game. Consistent investments in distributing marketing messages over time will lead to exponential results and growth. By starting small, and optimizing for success, high-quality content will continue to provide value for years to come.
All of that said, we recognize that the budgets of hospitals, health systems and medical groups are being scrutinized, and that an emphasis is being put on tactics that drive new business and revenue.
We understand, and we can help.