According to a new article on ITPortalPro, digital transformation totally has changed how and when organizations engage their audiences, and you can be sure it’s had a lasting impact on healthcare PR and marketing strategies as well.
A new post by author Cara Sloman details how just how the latest digital tools and trends have changed business as usual — and the same holds true within PR and marketing. Mobile technology, the connected home, cloud computing, blockchain, big data and social media have dramatically transformed business models, consumer expectations, communication channels and, consequently, what it takes to be successful in PR and marketing today.
But how has digital transformation specifically reinvented healthcare PR and marketing strategies? And what are the tactics necessary to ensure that the new realities of digital business align with a company’s communications? We’ve taken the stark realities detailed by this article and tailored it to our healthcare industry customers:
Social, mobile and cloud
Social media has reinvented how companies can reach, connect and learn from customers and the general public. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to help marketers share their content and drive web traffic today.
According to IT Pro, the majority of users are accessing social media from mobile apps and over half the visitors to most sites—62 percent and growing—are coming from mobile devices. As such, healthcare organizations must optimize content that flows easily between desktop and mobile devices to effectively engage audiences.
Optimization strategies in this area include:
- Shorter content—Mobile devices have small screens, and users are often on the move themselves. Long content and chunky paragraphs, while optimal for SEO, might turn them off.
- Readability and compatibility—Creating a strong user experience dictates making sure all content is mobile-ready. This includes adjusting pages to fit on smaller screens and font sizes large enough to be read on a small device. Along those lines, only images and videos compatible with mobile devices should appear on a healthcare organization’s site.
Cloud computing has leveled the playing field between small and large companies by providing affordable infrastructure and new opportunities for business growth. The technology enables businesses to integrate and analyze their data to make better decisions across each department, including marketing and sales.
At the same time, the cloud provides companies with greater accessibility to marketing software, helping them to streamline activities and access valuable insights through tools like HubSpot. Even healthcare organizations serving mostly B2B audiences, like those targeting physician practices and payers, have found these tools to be incredibly useful in everything from supporting lead nurturing to managing content marketing efforts. As a result, cloud-enabled healthcare PR and marketing strategies and reporting are now the rule, not the exception, for most companies.
Integrated efforts between PR, marketing, sales and operations
Just as digital transformation has broken down silos between healthcare providers themselves (e.g. health information exchange and APIs), the same is true for emerging healthcare PR and marketing strategies. Communications professionals have long created and nurtured relationships on behalf of their clients—and that’s still true—but digital transformation enables them to go further than ever before. They can now take advantage of big data sets, as well as new technologies and media, to create new strategies for cross-channel engagement.
At the same time, business leaders are seeing what’s possible and asking for more complex marketing initiatives that require specialized expertise, including integrated social media, market research and customer referral programs.
By optimizing the sharing of data and its analysis across PR, marketing and sales, campaigns can be more collaborative, drive better results and reduce duplicated efforts. Brands will find success by integrating these efforts across PR and marketing to use earned, owned and paid media to drive much more significant ROI.
From data to actionable insights
Too many healthcare PR and marketing strategies involve just metrics that look good on paper but don’t actually mean much for the health of the business. This includes number of subscribers, page views, social media followers and other analytics.
On the other hand, actionable metrics empower marketing pros to take actions that lead to business growth. They include click-through rates, sessions, pages per session, engagement, competitive share of voice and sentiment. These metrics enable you to link certain activities to conversions that would not otherwise be possible with vanity metrics.
Multi-media, omni-channel content
As technology has proliferated, the number of channels for communication have expanded — there’s online and offline advertising, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, social media, content sites, influencer marketing, mobile app marketing and your own website. The traditional channels remain, too: PR, direct response, online and offline events, and much more.
In this new landscape, the buyer’s journey has become more intricate but also presents new opportunities to drive engagement and brand recall. Whereas a multichannel strategy relies on releasing content and examining consumer experience across multiple channels, omni-channel means extending those activities across all channels.
An omni-channel strategy involves understanding which types of content will resonate on which channels and with which audiences. So, one long-form content piece, like a white paper, can be re-imagined as infographics, articles, blog posts and social posts. This can help your organization make the most of its healthcare PR and marketing strategies, reaching across multiple channels while minimizing the work effort involved.
Most companies realize that search engine optimization (SEO) should be part of any strategy to lead customers to your business. However, it’s important to note that Google Analytics continually changes its ranking algorithms as searchers’ online behavior changes, making SEO an ever-evolving set of practices. That’s why you need to constantly review and optimize your content according to the latest best practices.
Backlinks remain valuable, for instance, but the quality of the site linking to yours determines whether the link results in a boost in your site’s ranking. So, a few links from high quality, high traffic sites will help with your ranking much more than dozens of links from less reputable sites. For example, backlinks from prominent digital destinations like Healthgrades are far more valuable than less reputable publications and websites.
An imperative focus on SEO applies to the media, as well. Ad revenue for the news media has moved to clicks and eyeballs, with greater dependence on Google search page rankings, meaning communications professionals can increase their success by presenting story angles that are in line with their SEO strategies. This includes evergreen stories with long-lasting relevance to an industry, especially those published in highly-reputable industry media outlets like Modern Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review.
On target for transformation
Rather than rendering healthcare PR and marketing strategies irrelevant, the explosion of technologies and information-sharing platforms makes them even more essential for organizations to create and disseminate the right messages. Digital transformation has significantly changed how and when healthcare organizations engage their audiences, and PR and marketing strategies and tactics have stayed in step with those evolutions. So whether you are a technology provider selling analytics to health insurers or an integrated delivery network directly providing care, you can leverage the tips above to find, attract and retain the attention of your target audiences.
Need a leading agency that can help your organization put these principles in action in order to bolster your healthcare PR and marketing strategies? Activate Health was just named one of the top digital agencies to partner with via DesignRush! To learn more about how we can help your organization, contact us today.