The use of technology as a healthcare marketing tool continues to evolve, while all marketers search for the most effective uses to get the best return for their marketing dollars. Hospitals are no exception.
In a recent Medical Marketing & Media online article, it was reported that Cleveland Clinic has already shifted its marketing spend to digital through paid media, mobile optimization, email marketing and online video content generation as a means to attract patients locally as well as nationally. In the past 12 months, the health system’s combined efforts created 75,000 internet leads –surfers who clicked on links from paid search and downloaded information – which led to a conversion rate of 6,500 patients using their facility.
The reason they went digital? Patients today have a wide array of sources they tap into to inform their medical decisions, and 84% of that information comes through a screen, according to a 2012 Google Hospital Study.
What used to be a simple sales funnel of creating local brand awareness through billboards, TV ads and radio spots is now a mash-up of touch points that can include these mediums as well as desktop and mobile screen experiences. In fact, according to the Google Hospital Study, 83% of patients who booked an appointment visited a hospital’s website before doing so. And roughly 1/3 of this group did so on a tablet or mobile device.
Enter the era of the multiscreen patient. Now more than ever, patients are using multiple devices—desktop, smart phone, iPad—to do their hospital research, whether they are looking for physician reviews, health plan networks, or other relevant information to help them make their decisions.
Hospital marketers who want to engage multiscreen patients should keep these tips in mind:
- Recognize that no two paths are the same – Messaging needs to scale to fit different devices, at different times and in different contexts. A website that works on the desktop may not make sense to the consumer who is pulling it up on their smartphone as they look for a hospital. Define some possible consumer scenarios, then adapt accordingly.
- Avoid dead-ends – The surest way to turn off potential patients is to abandon them on a path that leads to nowhere. As hospital marketers, we need to make sure that every touch point leads patients to the next logical connection. That series of touch points is an extension of the brand experience. So if a patient uses their mobile device to respond to a call to action, but the site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ve effectively shut down a potential patient experience. Map your patients’ journey and craft a digital content strategy that spans all channels and connecting touch points.
- Embrace the informed patient – There’s no getting around the wealth of healthcare information online thanks to sites like WebMD, as well as provider and payer sites themselves. The best a hospital can do is provide clear brand messaging that speaks to the reputation of the facility and physicians, and eases the patient journey to conversion.
Know your patients. Understand how they approach a healthcare decision, and make sure your brand is where they are. Today that means taking a holistic approach to digital content to ensure your consumers have a rewarding experience at every step of their journey, no matter which device they use to access it.
This post was also contributed by Christine Pierpoint, VP of Emerging Media at IMRE