Key Post Highlights
> Talking to your key audience is one of the most critical steps in developing a digital marketing strategy.
> Content needs to meet your business goals.
> Don’t forget to plan for content distribution.
Well, it’s very likely that your hospital’s digital marketing strategy isn’t exactly where it should be.
Here are 5 reasons why your digital marketing strategy just isn’t working.
1. You didn’t talk to a key audience: patients ...
We can’t stress this enough: Talk to patients. Current patients, former patients, potential patients, patients who considered your hospital but decided to get care elsewhere. All of these perspectives are crucial for creating a strategy that actually meets audiences’ needs and keeps them coming back.
At CareContent, we tend to break up discovery interviews with patients into several buckets: needs, fears, frustrations, and motivations. Often, we break them up further so that we cover both their care and the website. For example, we might ask them about what they need from their providers in order to feel more comfortable with a diagnosis, as well as what types of information and functionality they need from the website.
If you skip this step, you’re not doing your patients — or your hospital — any favors.
Patients will get annoyed when they can’t find the information they’re looking for the most — like if you take their insurance or if your providers offer after-hours care. Annoyed patients look elsewhere.
Health systems have a responsibility to provide their patients with the tools they need to improve their health and wellness. If you’re not utilizing your digital presence for this, you’re missing out on key opportunities to fulfill this responsibility.
2. … Or your other key stakeholders.
Since digital presence is a communications tool, the marketing and design teams are obviously going to be heavily involved. And we’ve already mentioned how important it is to talk to patients. But make sure that you’re not missing out on talking to other people who can provide valuable insights.
You wouldn't host a clinical trial by yourself. You’d go through all the proper channels. You’d work with researchers, physicians, funders, pharmaceutical companies, federal regulators — you name it. It’s the same with your marketing strategy. You can’t just pull things together by yourself and hope it works. It takes many perspectives and insights to create a successful strategy.
Don’t forget to talk to:
- Providers: They can tell you what patients frequently ask them — as well as the questions they should be asking, but aren’t. They can also inform strategy for provider-facing content, like pages about careers or educational opportunities.
- Call Center Employees: They get overworked and frustrated when they’re answering the exact same questions every 20 minutes, when those answers could easily be on the website. This also creates a back-up of people who actually need to get through on the phone lines.
- The Higher-ups: C-suite. Board members. Find out exactly what they’re hoping to grow over the next year (and beyond) so that you know what you should be writing and posting about. Which leads us to …
3. Your content doesn’t actually match your hospital’s business goals.
Your digital presence’s strategic goals need to align with the health system’s strategic goals. Otherwise, you’re not really moving the needle anywhere.
If the hospital wants to bring in more patients to the cardiology unit, but you’ve focused most of your content on oncology and women’s health, you’re not targeting the right people. If the hospital is trying to book more appointments all around, but you haven’t provided the right number or put the “Make an Appointment” button in a place that’s easy to see, you’re making that a lot more difficult.
4. Your content is stale.
The content on your site can’t just be informative. It has to be engaging, interesting, and shareable.
This is why we recommend blogging. A lot of people freak out when they hear the word “blog,” because they view blogging as a rigid chore. So instead, they create “content hubs” or “resource centers.” Totally fair.
No matter what you call it, erase the idea that blogging is a burden and embrace the blog approach:
- Post frequently and on a regular cadence. Make a content and social media calendar ahead of time so you don’t post too sporadically or suddenly post every hour.
- Tailor content to align with specific services that advance your hospital’s strategic goals (see point #3)
- Create evergreen content. This is content that isn’t time-sensitive, and can keep on bringing in traffic long after it’s published. Remember: You can always reshare this content, or go back and edit it.
- Also create timely, relevant content. Mix it up. In between your evergreen content, write about the issues that people want to know about right now, in this moment. These posts can easily bring on the clicks and shares when posted on social media.
5. You didn’t include distribution in your strategy.
Okay, so you’ve read this list so far, and you’re thinking, “Wait…but I did all of that!”
If so, it might not be a problem with your content creation strategy — it could be that you forgot about distribution.
You can create all the amazing content you want, but it won’t get results if it doesn’t get into the hands of the right people.
Social Media Distribution
Social media is a must — 57% of consumers report that a hospital’s social media presence would strongly affect where they choose to receive care. However, you don’t need to be on every single platform. Put your energy into building a strong presence on the channels that will help you meet your goals and reach the right audiences.
That means doing your research. The social media landscape is always changing, so be sure to check current trends for the most used and fastest-growing platforms (Those are Facebook and TikTok, respectively, right now). Find the platforms where the user base’s demographics match those of your target audiences. It’s also a good idea to ask your audiences during discovery interviews about the channels they use most frequently.
Also Read: What’s Your Social Media Style? [QUIZ]
Newsletters are a great way to ensure that your audiences aren’t missing out on valuable content. A newsletter doesn’t need to be old-school newspaper style, with articles and columns made specifically for it. It can simply be a round-up of new content. Depending on the platform you’re using, you might be able to make newsletters customizable so that audiences can choose the type of content they want to receive.