5 Common Gaps in Online Healthcare Marketing

by Hillary Eames - 10/16/19



Learn how to avoid these common mistakes marketers make with their online content.

We’ve written a lot about online healthcare marketing, and for good reason. More and more, people are turning to their laptops, smartphones or voices to find information when faced with healthcare concerns—and search engines are ready to give them answers.

While guiding content strategy for healthcare organizations, we have noticed some missteps marketers tend to make. We spoke with Ashley DuFrene, senior digital marketing specialist at True North Custom, and Sarah Fredriksson, managing editor at True North Custom, about common gaps in healthcare digital marketing they encounter during keyword research and content audits.

Gap: Not Connecting Content with Search

Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 8.24.24 AM“Many companies that request an audit are surprised to find out where they currently rank with keywords,” DuFrene says. “Many clients think their content will trigger specific searches, but find out their content hinders search engines from knowing what their content is really about.”

Knowledge is power when it comes to online healthcare marketing. To create a content strategy that engages your audience, you need to know what Google thinks of your content.

“When we show clients what keywords they rank for, the analysis showcases how search engines categorize their content,” DuFrene says. “If the keywords we show them are not the focus of the page’s content or the client’s goal, that’s where a content audit can be truly beneficial.”

Gap: Misunderstanding Audience Needs

Understanding what your audience is really looking for, instead of only focusing on what is important to the business, is vital when creating online content—and it’s a factor that is often overlooked in digital healthcare marketing.

Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 8.24.38 AM“Often, the user is not the center of the content creation for the website,” Fredriksson says. “When a consumer-facing website is not geared to what consumers are looking for, there is a missed opportunity for true engagement and meaningful action.”

Fredriksson brings up the tendency to stress awards, accreditations and acknowledgements in content as an example.

“Those are awesome and should be highlighted, but marketers need to be strategic about placement,” Fredriksson says. “And, this applies to physician-geared content as well. Mixing provider-specific content with patient-specific content can be confusing for the average user who is just trying to find information about a health concern or service.”

At the end of the day, your audience is coming to your website with a question: Are you able to solve my problem? It’s your job to assure them that you can.

Gap: Website Difficult to Navigate

When it comes to online healthcare marketing, layout and navigation play a key part.

“Nothing stresses users out more than visiting a page and being visually bombarded with alarming graphics and disorganized navigation,” Fredriksson says. “Healthcare website navigation and design needs to be clean and simple.”

User-friendly navigation is especially important when it comes to smartphones, as the gap between desktop and mobile searches continues to widen. In 2019 alone, almost 142 billion web searches were conducted on mobile devices, while 62 billion were conducted on desktops.

“Your users can’t see your entire page at once on their smartphone, and the scroll is much longer,” Fredriksson says. “Navigation needs to be streamlined and straightforward for that reason.”

Gap: Not Prioritizing Content

Website content needs to be excellent, educational and up to date. Don't ever give a user a reason to leave your website to find information that you could have easily provided about a service or procedure. And make sure you are speaking in plain language; define terminology that is hard to understand.

In this way, you are creating content that puts the reader first. Include the information the reader needs instead of focusing only on what an SEO audit or content audit is telling you; make the two align.

“It’s important to have content experts working alongside SEO experts, because sometimes, at first glance, the findings can seem at odds with each other,” Fredriksson says. “If you put the SEO and content data side by side, you can determine, based on user experience, the best way to reach your goals.”

Gap: Thinking SEO Is a Short-Term Solution

In DuFrene’s experience, this is the most common mistake. Online healthcare marketers often think of their SEO rankings as another task to cross off their to-do list, rather than an evolving strategy that requires continuous monitoring and re-evaluation.

“At the end of the day, SEO is a long-term strategy,” DuFrene says. “It’s not a quick switch like paid digital channels. You need to continue analyzing it, optimizing it based on those analytics and seeing where your content gains traction overtime.”

Bridging These Gaps

In order to avoid these mistakes, start by having a better understanding of your content and your audience and creating a plan to reach them. 

“Overall, as a marketer, you need to understand how your content drives people to your services,” DuFrene says. “A website and content audit allows you to evaluate the current state of your content and formulate a plan to take you where you need to go.”

Get Ideas for Improvement

Our digital team is ready to conduct a free site audit for your service line pages, blog or other key areas. Request yours today and receive insights and recommendations from our experts in digital healthcare content. 

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Topics: Digital Marketing

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