You often hear that the world of healthcare marketing is changing. It is true, but shouldn’t we all be looking at this statement a little differently?
The world of healthcare marketing has already changed.
It is not a matter of predicting where healthcare marketing is heading. We are living it, right now, right here. Traditional healthcare marketing strategies are failing to reach target audiences like they used to. Even in their heydays, traditional healthcare marketing tricks were not considered a precision approach. They were more like a numbers game, which simply doesn’t work anymore. Magazines and newspapers are obsolete, and radio and TV are declining in a big way.
In place of traditional marketing strategies rises digital marketing. Simply put, digital marketing is the most effective way to market your healthcare practice today – and for the foreseeable future.
What is digital marketing?
It is a data-driven and targeted brand promotion approach through technology. “Digital marketing” is an umbrella term that may include websites, podcasts, social networks and other forms of digital media, where the Internet is the center of all channels. This form of marketing is organized and targeted, and it delivers tangible results in real time.
There is no guesswork involved. Strategies are tested continually to see what is working and what is not. You can measure results and adjust strategy immediately.
This is the way digital marketing supports growing your medical practice when you have a skilled and reputed healthcare marketing agency assisting your brand.
Does your medical practice need a healthcare marketing agency?
Most medical marketers usually think of hiring a marketing agency when their practice hits a fork in the road and they need to make a decision. They could be facing any of the following scenarios:
1. They are growing at an astonishing rate and no longer have the time or resources to manage their practice and keep up with the ever-increasing demands of the online market.
2. They are stagnating and are finding it hard to keep a consistent flow of patients coming through the door.
3. They are losing business to competitors.
4. They are just starting a new practice and do not know how and where to direct their marketing efforts.
They need help. It is time to make a decision.
Hiring a healthcare marketing agency for your medical practice is one of the most important decisions you get to make as a business owner. If all goes well, you will only have to make this decision once, but usually this is not the case.
Hiring your first healthcare marketing agency is a stressful task, and engaging the second one is even more terrible. However, you can eliminate the pain and frustration of hiring the wrong marketing agency just by asking the correct questions during your initial meetings.
How can a healthcare marketing agency help grow your brand?
A healthcare marketing agency provides modern marketing solutions, including website design, search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, social media marketing and other marketing services.
But it is only natural to think: Are all these marketing strategies beneficial and should a small medical practice hire a marketing agency? Here are some points to help answer your questions:
1. Access to skilled professionals
Building an in-house digital marketing team to take care of your marketing efforts is a practical impossibility for most medical practices.
The skills your practice needs are either hard to come by or too expensive. What’s more, it may not be financially viable to hire someone for a full-time position if you do not need their skills regularly.
Your campaigns may change at different times of the year. For instance, you may want to focus more on branding and SEO at the start of the year, then on social networks and paid advertising toward the end of the year.
A healthcare marketing agency will retain employees with varied skillsets and can apply the right mix of expertise to meet your goals.
2. Effectively manage your budget
Digital marketing agencies are typically responsible for the marketing spend that your medical practice places with Google, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Tracking this spend across multiple campaigns and platforms is time-consuming and difficult. Now add to that the need to track conversions, carry out optimization and direct budget to more effective campaigns, and you have a complex set of reporting requirements.
Marketing agencies are experts in managing your budget, having tools and processes over hundreds of clients to make the process smoother.
By working with an agency, you will benefit from their proven processes and internal controls. You can set the budget, and they will handle the rest.
3. Gain a fresh perspective
Your in-house team might be limited in experience and exposure. They might be in an echo chamber, exposed to the services and products that you are trying to market and the techniques used to sell them.
Marketing agencies work with a wide variety of clients, and they get to learn about and develop innovative marketing techniques and apply them to different aspects of healthcare marketing.
Their employees are also required to meet professional development requirements. For instance, some healthcare marketing agencies need their employees to complete annual training on the latest digital advertising tools.
You will tap into these insights in an effective way when you partner with a marketing agency.
4. Adhere to campaign timelines
With a strong marketing strategy in place, your medical practice cannot have points of failure that might occur with an in-house marketing department.
A typical marketing agency will have multi-person teams working on your campaigns who support each other and will ensure that campaigns are delivered on time.
For example, any reputed agency will have over 30 employees with expertise for PPC, SEO, social media, website development and design. These teams can help you in your planning and development stages and keep campaigns ready to be executed smoothly.
5. Allow you to focus on critical areas
Scalability is one of the most significant advantages of hiring a marketing agency.
As your medical practice grows, your operations need to grow as well. A big medical practice cannot be run the same way as a small medical practice, and the growing pains of transitioning from small to big are real.
A healthcare marketing agency can respond to the changing needs of your practice and will have the expertise to deal with the issues you are facing and trying to resolve.
Your internal teams and departments will be free to focus their efforts on growing the practice, employee engagement, training, operational efficiencies, etc.
End of the day, you are the boss!
At the end of the day, you are the one who will be paying. You hold power. When interviewing healthcare marketing agencies, remember that their job is to make you feel confident about their performance, deliver desired results and help you understand marketing concepts in a simplified manner. Never be afraid to ask questions, as any agency worth its salt will not only have the right answers but also proven practices for all of your concerns.