Thanks to health care reform, and revolutionary changes in funding streams, marketing to (and influencing) consumers needs to be a key part to organizational growth and sustainable strategy (to evaluate your current efforts, check out my briefing, Are You A Winner Or A Loser With Consumers Online? all members). How do you think consumer learn about your organization and understand the services and knowledge you provide? If your answer isn’t “my online presence”, you are missing a key ingredient to how consumers approach the health and human services industry. Consumers are now paying $307.7 billion or 11.4% of the total health care budget “out-of-pocket” and your online presence — all the information available about your organization and clinicians online (websites, reviews, ratings, advertisements, search engine results, videos, etc.) — is THE influencing factor for consumers’ perception of you, and your competition.
And, those who properly manage and optimize their online presence will have the edge for consumer-driven referrals. In my work with provider organizations, I use what I call a five-point “blue print” for building an online consumer marketing strategy:
1. Understand Your Online Presence & Current Reputation – Organizations need a clear understand of how different consumers find services online, and position yourself through search engine ranking, performance rankings, and consumer reviews so that consumer both find you, and understand your value (see Can Your Customers Find You Online? all members).
2. Work On The Basics – Organizations need to walk before they can run, as the saying goes. Develop a strong online presence with the online vehicles already at your disposal first, and then growing your presence and strategy. Adopting a new online tool or platform before you are prepared to use it is almost always a waste of effort (see Blink! all members).
3. Develop A Consistent Reputation Management Strategy – Decide how you want to be viewed online, plan (and execute) how to get there, and most importantly, act accordingly. Track and manage all your ratings and reviews — but they are affecting the perception of your organization online whether your properly managing them or not (see You’re Being Rated – Like It Or Not all members).
4. Expand Your Online Presence – When you have a handle on your current online presence, then it’s time to expand that presence. That means using social media and blogging; creating “cause-related” Facebook groups and social media circles; posting photo albums on Flickr or videos on YouTube, listing your website appropriate directories (Google Places, Wikipedia, Superpages, Yelp, Angie’s List); and developing strategies for encouraging positive reviews (see How To Calculate Your Organization’s Social Media IQ: Facebook, Twitter, Blogging & More).
5. Evaluate Your Progress – It’s never a bad time to ask yourself the important strategic questions about your online presence, but when you think you have that presence optimized, it’s time you ask yourself several questions. Has your website traffic increased? How were your search engine results affected? Higher rankings? More listings? Comments/reviews incorporated? Are you seeing a positive ROI? Identify the areas that need work, and address them quickly (see The Virtual You all members).
Winning online demands a thorough understanding and strategy – while losing merely entails having neither of these. For more on these topics, as well as managing rankings, reputation, ratings, & reviews online, check out my 2013 OPEN MINDS Planning & Innovation Institute presentation with Jeanne Oliver, Vice President, Marketing & Development, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Consumer Marketing In The Age Of Health Care Reform — How To Win (Or Lose) Online.
For another free resource, see: Get Marketing Leverage With Web Marketing & A Social Media Plan all members