The healthcare industry has been slow to adopt digital marketing strategies in contrast to other sectors. However, now patients rely on online research for information. They have become more discerning about the services they seek. Physicians also actively participate in the digital realm when searching for health-related information.
Global statistics reveal that 72% of internet users have looked online for health information in the past year. Search engines serve as the starting point for 77% of patients conducting research, while social media platforms are also utilized.
With a significant number of patients and physicians seeking solutions to health problems, it is crucial for doctors and companies in the medical and pharmaceutical fields to have a well-defined marketing strategy. This strategy will enable them to effectively promote their products, services, and treatment options helping them set themselves apart from competitors.
Challenges In Healthcare Marketing
Following are the challenges that someone might face when doing digital marketing for doctors:
Having No Personalization due to HIPAA
HIPAA regulations prohibit using patients’ personal health information in marketing without their explicit consent. This restriction can make it challenging for marketing agencies to personalize their messaging to specific patient demographics.
Here are the solutions to address the lack of personalization issues due to HIPAA:
- Gather patient information through surveys, feedback forms, or in-person conversations to better understand their preferences and tailor marketing efforts accordingly.
- Use non-identifiable data, such as location, age, or general health concerns, to segment audiences and create targeted campaigns.
- Leverage technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to analyze large data sets and identify patterns that can inform personalized messaging.
HIPAA regulations impose limitations on targeting
Retargeting is a commonly used technique in which visitors to a website are shown ads for that site after they leave. This, however, is not allowed in healthcare marketing due to HIPAA regulations that aim to safeguard patient data and privacy.
- Focus on improving the user experience on the website to encourage patients to return on their own.
- Invest in alternative forms of targeted advertising, such as display ads, or sponsored content on websites, that do not rely on retargeting.
- Use email marketing campaigns to reach out to patients who have already provided their contact information and expressed interest in the organization’s services.
Discontent and mixed feelings
Due to political controversies surrounding prescription drug prices and coverage, there needs to be more trust in these organizations that they must address.
- Build trust through transparency: provide clear information on pricing, treatment options, and outcomes.
- Prioritize patient satisfaction: focus on positive patient experience to build loyalty.
- Educate the public: provide accessible information to demystify the industry and build trust.
- Leverage digital channels: use healthcare SEO to reach wider audiences, especially through targeted content.
Targeting the Right Audience
Crafting and ranking appropriate content is challenging for healthcare digital marketing agencies to achieve conversions. Their content may appear in searches where users only seek information on a concept or ailment rather than actively seeking services or products.
- Conduct keyword research to understand patient search behavior
- Create educational and promotional content for different stages of the patient journey
- Use long-tail keywords to target specific topics
- Optimize website content and metadata for relevant keywords
- Utilize content marketing and social media to build brand awareness and authority
- Continuously monitor and adjust content and advertising strategies based on user behavior and search trends
Having a limited budget
Sometimes, healthcare personnel needs to understand the benefits of marketing to potential patients, resulting in limited investment and resistance to new technologies or initiatives. Marketers face the challenge of accomplishing more with fewer resources.
- Healthcare marketing can enhance their decision-making by utilizing data-driven approaches and monitoring ROI.
- Analyzing website traffic sources and user navigation patterns enables prioritized optimization and effective content creation.
- Keyword research enhances campaigns, while tools like heatmaps and session recordings aid in understanding user behavior.
- Google Analytics identifies high-traffic and low-traffic pages, informing strategic decision-making.
- Healthcare marketing automation optimizes lead generation and allows marketers to allocate time efficiently, offering various additional benefits.
Lack of unity between marketing and sales departments
Marketing and sales teams often don’t work well together, causing challenges in healthcare marketing. Lack of communication and coordination between these two divisions leads to costly mistakes.
The solution lies in increasing synergy between sales and marketing. This should be integrated into the overall plan from the start. Using customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation software can offer user-friendly solutions and detailed tracking throughout the sales process.
Crucially, managers from marketing and sales departments need to collaborate closely on the ground. By doing so, businesses can overcome these challenges and drive better results.
Healthcare marketers can access various tools to target and convert their audience, such as social media, precision in paid advertising, and research tools. Marketers can support a conversion-focused strategy by differentiating with a unique value proposition and clear communication.