Bring in more clients with inbound marketing.
The healthcare market is a financial gold mine that isn’t slowing down its output any time soon. From Big Pharma companies to those specializing in healthcare IT, companies in this industry can likely anticipate a prosperous 2017:
- Projected 5.6 percent annual growth in National Health Expenditure between 2016 and 2025
- Healthcare IT spending to total approximately $100 billion by end of 2017
- Global pharma market to reach $1.12 trillion by 2022
In a competitive industry that offers the potential for lucrative returns, companies need a strong, strategic marketing plan that differentiates them from competitors.
When it comes any marketing, potential customers are less interested in being talked at and constantly bombarded by one-sided messages. With the rise of social media, we have seen that consumers desire a two-way relationship: They want usable, valuable content personalized to them, and they want to know that they are being heard.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing—also known as demand generation—is a marketing strategy that relies on consistently providing relevant content for your current and potential customers to digest. By providing content that is usable and educational, your customers see you as an expert source, and They will turn to you when they need information on a subject matter. Providing this information helps position your brand as a leader in your industry.
When you commit the resources and time to developing a strategic inbound marketing strategy, you can anticipate reaping the benefits for not just your brand but your bottom line, too.
What Type of Content Can an Inbound Marketing Strategy Utilize?
Blog posts can range from short-form (minimum 300 words) to long-form (around 900+ words). Include photos, graphics and video to provide visual substance. Ideally, you’ll want to post at least once a day. If you’re a smaller company and/or have limited resources, consider outsourcing the work so you are guaranteed to consistently offer quality content to your audience.
White papers are a type of high-level content that range from 2-6 pages. These take longer to research and write than blog posts but will establish your company as a thought leader. White papers don’t need to be published as frequently; however, try to aim for one every quarter. Consider a white paper to discuss current trends or issues that interest your customers.
eBooks are great for those with a lot of expertise in an area of an industry as well as the time and resources to dedicate to it. Books range from about 50,000 to 75,000 words depending on topic. Though this type of content requires a lot of time, anticipate great returns. Quality, informative eBooks are great shareable content. You can even “reuse” the information from your eBook to create white papers, multiple blog posts and social media content.
Webinars let you provide your customers information in real-time. Webinars can range from 45 minutes to over 90 minutes. Information is presented for about three-quarters of the time, and attendees can ask questions throughout. The last quarter of the presentation is dedicated to a question-and-answer session to ensure attendees get all desired information from the session. Webinars are used for eLearning, presentation, training and/or product demonstration and more.
These types of content should be separated into two categories: free content and premium content.
Free Content Versus Premium Content
Free content is exactly that: Free. It can be accessed by anyone without needing to provide information (e.g. name and email address). Free content includes social media posts and blog posts. These short/quick pieces of content help get your audience interested in what you have to say. They can even serve as a “sneak peek” for your upcoming piece of long-form content and help generate buzz for its release.
Premium content is part of the conversion process. While your free content gets people interested in what you have to say, your premium content helps gather their information. Most companies that offer white papers require individuals to input their name and email address to access the content (others have lengthier forms). Once they fill out the form, the website should lead them to a “Thank You” page with a link to or automatic download of the content.
Now that you have the contact information of people who are interested in your content, use this list to generate leads, with the goal of converting them into customers.
Crafting Your Ideal Healthcare Inbound Marketing Strategy
1. Determine Your Audience(s)
If you don’t already know who your audience is, now is the time. Healthcare companies, depending on their products and services, will not all have the same type of audience. A healthcare IT company a hospital’s head of IT. Manufacturers of IV solutions, premix, pumps and sets and other products will speak product purchasers. Pharmaceutical companies will speak directly to the consumer, encouraging them to talk to their healthcare provider about a specific drug.
At this point you will also want to create what is called a buyer persona. This includes gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and other factors of your ideal buyer. What problems are they trying to solve and how can your products or services resolve their issue? What are their objections to your company or products and services, and what is your response to these objections? Having a buyer persona in mind helps you craft your best messaging.
If you have more than one audience (e.g. consumers and clinicians), create multiple buyer personas to ensure that you target each group with specific messaging.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
To make sure that your marketing is optimized for success and that you have a way of measuring this success, you need to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. That means your goals are:
You’ll want to create specific S.M.A.R.T. goals for each outlet (Facebook, Twitter, email, blog), and you’ll want to keep track of how you’re doing, so create a spreadsheet for each. Check them at specific intervals, see how you have improved (or have not) and adjust your goals accordingly. Remember that S.M.A.R.T. goals are not stagnant and are based on your current position and your goals, which may frequently change.
3. Plan Your Content
Planning your content ensures that you will consistently post and always have quality content for your audience. Try theming a month around one subject area, or do a series that users can except on a specific day each week. Whatever content you decide, make sure it:
- Is appropriate for the medium (social platform, blog)
- Positions yourself as a thought leader
- Is knowledgeable
- Speaks directly to an audience/buyer persona
You will want to include a mix of long-form content, such as white papers and blogs, with short form content like quick videos or graphics. Doing so keeps your content fresh and caters to all types of individuals that may access your content, from those who want to really digest your information to those who are looking to get right to the point. Plus, having content always planned means you can adjust as necessary and frees up time to craft real-time content on an as needed basis.
Remember to have a mix of free and premium content to engage users at all levels within your conversion funnel.
4. Follow Through
The most challenging part is often following through with your marketing plan. Be sure to post each day at times when the most eyes will fall on your content. Your audience will come to understand that they can rely on you to always provide knowledgeable content.
The goal of inbound marketing is to convert potential customers into actual customers. Through strategic planning and dedication, you can craft an inbound marketing strategic that will position your healthcare company as a thought leader and, ultimately, drive conversions.
Need help establishing your ideal inbound marketing strategy? Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 312.828.0200.