Here is the marketing advice I give to executive teams almost daily, “take your marketing resources to where the consumers are – they are online and on mobile devices.”
How do I know this? Seventy-seven percent of consumers research providers online before making a health care decision. The direct link to your sales? Forty-four percent of these individuals researching treatment options made purchasing decisions based solely on the results of their online research (see Running A Best Practice Digital Marketing Program: Using Online Marketing & Social Media To Your Advantage). This means having a strong digital marketing strategy (including both website design and optimization along with a social media strategy) is essential for your organization. Some other eye-catching user statistics from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library?
- 24% Of Consumers Post Health Care Online Reviews, 48% Read Health Care Reviews
- 70% Of Homeless Emergency Department Patients In Connecticut Own Cell Phones, May Benefit From mHealth
- 21% Of Adults Use SmartPhone Apps Or Other Tech To Monitor Health
- 21% Of Smartphone Owners With One Or More Chronic Conditions Have Software Applications To Monitor Health
To develop a strong strategy, you need to polish your online brand with a digital marketing plan. What is in that plan? It covers your website, search engine results, email communications, mobile and text platforms, video streaming, social media, digital advertising, and your digital reputation. (For more on the challenge of developing your brand, check out my previous advice in, The Goal: Be A Golden Brand).
Start the process by building awareness through a customer journey map. A journey map is a simple flowchart that shows all the different stages that your customers go through as they interact with you, from awareness, to consideration, to purchase. It’s a way for you to understand your customer’s experience from beginning to end by outlining how consumers find you online, their expectations, which parts of their process influence them the most, and which methods are working for your marketing and which aren’t. Making this map is a nine-part process:
- List your customer types (not consumer types). This list must include everyone who can make a purchasing decision for the services you provide (consumers, caregivers and family members, physicians, referrers, etc.)
- Develop a profile for each customer type by describing each customer’s personality and feelings – do this for both their present state of mind and future ambitions as a way to think about what these customers are looking for (For example, a caregiver with a newly diagnosed family member might be overwhelmed and looking for basic information and an overview of the various treatment options now; in the long-run, they might be looking for a local quality provider that can meet the treatment needs of their loved one)
- Determine an optimal outcome for each customer profile by thinking about what they are hoping to achieve
- List all digital actions the customer could take to reach that desired outcome (search, check insurance network website, check with friends on social media, etc.)
- Underneath every action, list all channels and touchpoints the customer could possibly encounter (Google search results, Google places, Facebook page, company website, Healthgrades listing, etc.)
- Identify the moments the customer encounters your touchpoints and channels (For example, where is the first place a caregiver is likely to hear about your organization – online through a Google search? Through your organization’s Facebook page? Etc.)
- Experience each possible journey and rate the experience as a customer. Note the positive and negative features of each touchpoint
- Gather additional data from past customers and focus groups
- Evaluate all the information you have collected
These steps will help you to understand how customer’s interact with your organization every step of the way. This understanding will help your organization to build a digital marketing strategy that takes into account all the realities of today’s market. For a more detailed look at this process, you can watch my streaming presentation on the five key steps to building your best practice digital marketing program, Running A Best Practice Digital Marketing Program: Using Online Marketing & Social Media To Your Advantage. And, be sure to join me next month at The 2015 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat for my presentation, What Is Your Social Media Plan? An Executive Guide.