Marketing to patients and consumers online is still relatively new, and changing every day. But if you can get a grasp on how it works, which processes to apply, and why it’s so helpful for businesses, you can start attracting more patients to your practice.
Understanding content marketing vs inbound
The goal of inbound marketing is to create messages that pull consumers toward your brand–the opposite of traditional, interruptive messages that push them away. Part of the inbound marketing process involves deciding when and where to push these messages out, and to whom.
Content marketing is an integral part of inbound marketing. It’s a broad term that can include blogging, e-books, emails, website copy, social media communication, videos and more. Without helpful content, the inbound marketing process would fall apart.
How can content marketing help doctors?
Any business can benefit from content marketing, but this is especially true in the medical field. Patients, like any other consumers, need quality information that answers their questions, concerns and needs. Fulfilling these needs by providing the answers is an easy and helpful way to cause patients to naturally gravitate toward your practice.
For example, if you run a women’s care center and you want to attract more pregnancy patients there are a few types of content you could create that would draw more mothers to your practice.
You could research the common phrases that expectant mothers type into Google when they want to learn more about pregnancy, or find a doctor. They likely will have general questions about what happens during pregnancy, as well as more in depth questions about insurance coverage and birthing options.
By knowing what information they’re searching for, you can create blog posts and e-books that will answer these questions. When they see your website show up in Google as having an answer, they’ll want to click your link. And if you’re doing content marketing the right way–sharing helpful information rather than pushing an agenda–you’ll be able to draw them in to learn more.
Overtime, since you’re creating helpful content without pushing your business intentions, your prospective patients will get to know you, like you and trust you. This applies to the practice itself, as well as the doctors within it.
If your content can accomplish all three of these objectives (knowing, liking and trusting in your practice), prospective patients will think of your practice, before your competition whenever they need medical services.
This year, the US healthcare and pharmaceutical industry will invest $1.41 billion in paid digital advertising, and 56% of those dollars will go toward direct response, according to a new eMarketer report series on industry-by-industry digital ad spending. When it comes to mobile ad spending, the industry lags behind.
By most accounts, pharmaceutical companies have been slow to engage consumers through new media formats like social networking and online communities.
As we wait for the anticipated guidance from FDA regarding the use of social media by the pharmaceutical industry, one of the many aspects discussed as been that of patient engagement with the industry. The Internet is highly utilized for the pursuit of health care information and social media – as part of the Internet experience – is a forum where people can seek, exchange and comment on that information – with or without the industry.
For some in industry, it has been without. As a highly regulated industry, some medical product manufacturers have been reticent to participate and become involved. Others have established big and wide social media footprints. Of those involved, most are involved on a corporate level with varying degrees of engagement, while still others have been involved on a product level. And many good articles have been written on the subject of how consumers of health care information may or may not wish to engage with industry. A lot of the focus on social media and pharma has been on the topic of patient engagement.
But especially for the medical products industry – pharma, biotech and devices – there is important reason to be involved with social media beyond the matter of patient engagement. That is because it is an essential component in the way that we communicate in general and in the reporting that goes on by media.
It used to be that a television reporter would provide a broadcast news outlet with very limited reporting on a regular basis. On the evening news, there would be a segment about a newsworthy item likely to appeal to a mass audience. Social media – twitter in particular – opened the way for reporters to report on several items a day – as many as they like – and the subject matter could be quite granular. Social media has engineered a new kind of journalism for many in the business. And if one looks on twitter, there are a huge number of health care beat journalists who are quite active on twitter.
Likewise the investor community – and investor reporters – are quite active social media users.
Finally, a topic I have mentioned before – while the number of overall users of Twitter does not match that of Facebook – Twitter is the medium for reporting news and at medical meetings there is a lot of news to report, and hence, a good deal to follow. Reporters, scientists, physicians, patient groups are all commenting and reporting on what they are seeing and hearing that is of interest at meetings and the increase in twitter use at medical meetings from year to year is huge, withparticular increases reported for the ASCO and ASH meetings. This is also whypharma web sites (and medical society websties) need to be optimized for mobile,because people aren’t walking around medical meetings using their laptops – they are on their phones.
I touched on this topic as part of a posting about a larger topic – the Sunset on the ROI question for social media, but I thought it important enough to give it its own posting following a talk I was giving where people in the audience seemed so focused on patient engagement. Social media is patient engagement, but it is much, much more.
Janssen Healthcare Innovation (JHI) has today announced the UK launch of Care4Today™ Mobile Health Manager, a free and secure mobile app and website designed to enable people to stay on track and in control of their medicines and treatments. The platform generates medication dosing and repeat prescription reminders with the aim of improving medicines adherence. It also provides family members and carers the opportunity to provide support through Care4Family™ visit www.mhm.com
Objective: To examine recent studies on the effect of mobile and electronic (ME)-health technology on adherence to acne treatment.
Results: Adherence to oral acne medication was higher than for topical acne medication. The frequency of office visits was also an influencing factor for acne treatment adherence. The telephone-based reminders on a daily basis did not improve acne patients' medication adherence, whereas the Web-based educational tools on a weekly basis had a positive effect on medication adherence in acne treatment.
Conclusion: In using ME-health interventions, factors such as medication dosage forms, frequency of intervention, and patients' preferences should be taken into consideration. Developing disease-specific text message reminders may be helpful to increase adherence rates. In addition, a combination of text message reminders with another type of intervention may improve medication adherence.
"As we move to a patient-empowered healthcare system let’s not forget that patients are like you and I. Universally those with access to the internet will `Google it’ when needing information. Those who don’t reach for a search engine will visit their social networks. These two facts alone cast a spotlight on the issue at hand."