You may have heard from your hospital or medical center department head that healthcare digital marketing isn’t a good investment. “It costs too much and there isn’t anything to show for it” or maybe “we’re only going to use Facebook.” While they may believe this, you simply know that your patients and supporters exist all over the internet and they are just waiting to be engaged and brought in. But how in the world do you go about convincing your department head that, yes you do need to invest the time and money into digital marketing?
1) “Healthcare Digital marketing won’t work with our patients and supporters”
With 88% of United States using the internet and 72% of people on social media, you can find the places where your target patients and supporters spend time. Many medical centers choose to use television advertising as their largest marketing or communications expense but time spent online has actually surpassed the amount of time people spend watching TV! If you want to be where your customers are, you need to have a presence online.
2) “Competing medical centers don’t use digital marketing and we shouldn’t either”
Assuming this is true, this is actually a tremendous advantage to be the first mover in the market. If no content is currently being generated at a consistently strong level then it opens up an opportunity for you to fill the gap. When you do, you can make sure that you’re capturing them and turning them into patients and supporters that other medical centers would envy.
The reality is, most medical centers are doing this to varying degrees of success. Some are focused only on social media and others are taking an aggressive approach using a PPC advertising strategy. Now, the amount of success they will achieve – particularly long term – depends on their ability to capture them and make sure they aren’t one and done visitors.
3) “Digital marketing is still a fad. Stick with what’s already around”
By this definition, TV and radio were fads way back when they were invented but that didn’t stop them from becoming tremendous platforms for marketing and advertising. Between 2006 and 2012, social media adoption grew at a faster rate than just about anything in history, to this point. Facebook has grown at an annual rate of over 100% and Twitter at over 300% since their launch. With 1,000,000,000 users, Facebook has become a fixture in our lives, not a passing fad like Furby or Tickle Me Elmo.
Google has grown from 300,000 monthly searches when it first began back in 1998 but now processes over 17 billion per month – just in the United States alone.
4) “We won’t actually generate any paying patients from digital marketing”
This isn’t an argument you’re going to win without some data.
- 77% of people search our health-related information on the web before contacting a doctor and 80% of clicks are on the top 3 results.
- A Southeast health system implemented an online doctor referral program that generated 49% more paid visits than the traditional method.
- 90% of 18-24 year olds trust information shared by others via social networks.
- 18-24-year-old are more likely to use social media for health information. If you have an active and engaging strategy that speaks to this demographic, you can create a source of new patients as they become old enough to start buying their own healthcare.
- At any given time, up to 15% of the population is moving, either in or out of a metro area. This likely means that they have to change doctors, hospitals, care providers, etc. What is the first thing they might do when searching out a new one? Start looking, either by asking someone locally or by searching online to find the one with the best fit. With a sound strategy in place to attract, capture, and convert, you could have a relatively reliable source of new patients and supporters.
5) Use the competition to your advantage by pointing out what they do well
If you see competitors – in your footprint or not – doing something well, point it out. You may like the website they have because it’s easy to navigate and provides a way to capture visitors that yours doesn’t. Make sure you point out the accomplishments that other hospitals are achieving – a threshold of likes, engagement, local publicity, etc. Point out what they’re doing well at and be ready to show that you can accomplish the same results. Where to start? Well, Facebook is currently the most popular online presence for engaging with patients.
6) Show them the results
That is one component that healthcare digital marketing has over traditional marketing investments: the ability to measure the return generated from your activity. Digital marketing may be a small piece of the activity you’re doing and if you want to do more of it, be able to show the results of your activity. Demonstrating the return – and the possible return – of an investment in digital marketing.
7) Try it out
There are ways you can experiment that are relatively inexpensive and will allow you to gauge how well your market responds to digital marketing. Free trials to platforms like HubSpot or small investments into Google or Facebook ads will go a long way in showing your department head if healthcare digital marketing is right for you. You can track the results and show demonstrable results for little upfront cost.
Knowledge is power! If you’ve read this, you’ve undoubtedly read numerous other blog posts about digital marketing. Forward the most convincing ones to your boss. Show them that, yes, other people are successfully using digital marketing and that the cost of not taking an action is very high. Use some of these insightful tidbits to help persuade your higher ups:
- 41% of people responded that social media affects their choice of a medical facility or hospital.
- Parents are the most likely of all groups to seek medical information on Facebook (22%) and YouTube (20%).
- 60% of doctors believe social media actually improves the care delivered to patients.
- YouTube traffic to hospital websites has increased 119% year-over-year
9) Enlist the help of other departments
If possible, get other departments to join in and support your plan to incorporate digital marketing. If one of the other departments needs more patients or wants more notoriety for its services, join up. Show them how you can help them and then jointly request a larger investment in digital activities. Work with them to understand the ROI necessary in order to make the most persuasive argument possible to the department heads.
10) Be proactive, legally speaking
Did you know that only 31% of healthcare and medical facilities have written guidelines for social media use? That means nearly 70% have nothing telling employees what they can and cannot say online! This opens them to a host of patient confidentiality issues and possible employment lawsuits. Stay ahead of the curve.
These 10 tips for persuading the department head of your hospital or medical center may not be easy. But persistence and data speak loudly. Your department head will thank you later!
What are the common objections you hear when promoting a new marketing strategies?