Content + Automation: The Modern Marketing Power Couple

by Jason Skinner, Chief Marketing Officer - 03/13/19


Leading healthcare brands are leveraging the power of content automation to supercharge their marketing strategies.

Harvard Business Review has described content as both “the currency of modern marketers” and as “crap”—the latter characterization reflecting the crush of irrelevant messaging permeating our inboxes, social media feeds, and other print and digital platforms.

In fact, a recent Content Marketing Institute survey found the majority (64 percent) of B2C marketers report that their organization is extremely or very committed to content marketing—and the stream of articles, videos and other content types isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

According to the Huffington Post, by 2020 the volume of online content will increase 600 percent and a Forbes article predicted that we will soon reach the saturation point of content marketing. To quote the author: “The vast majority of companies will embrace content as a regular and unmovable component of their marketing strategy and budget.”

While this cacophony creates dissonance for consumers, it fosters opportunity for those brands whose signal rises above the noise by delivering content that is timely, useful and relevant. The challenge is trying to manually plan, create and deploy quality content on a consistent basis—an unsustainable proposition for marketing teams struggling to keep up with competing priorities.

Enter content automation.

The Trappings of MarTech

Like other industries revolutionized by content automation, marketing is entering a new era with unprecedented potential to target, personalize and measure content like never before. That’s the good news. On the other hand, the proliferation of marketing technology is creating a tsunami of programmatic ads and content that’s drowning us all in conversion-at-any-cost clickbait.

Like content budgets, the investment in marketing technology—and automation in particular—will increase for the foreseeable future, making it even more important to ensure you’re taking a thoughtful approach to content marketing. The 2018 Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends Survey found 89 percent of marketers will continue or increase their investments in email marketing and automation next year while 92 percent will maintain or grow their content marketing spend.

The Automation Advantage

So how can your content stand out from the crowd? The winners take a thoughtful approach to delivering content where and when their audience is seeking health information. Here are a few ways we’re working with healthcare organizations to effectively use content automation at every stage of the healthcare buyer’s journey.

Awareness: Lead Generation

Your website is the hub, and marketing content automation allows you to create a conversion path that starts with the initial site visit. Through strategic calls to action that connect to downloadable guides, health assessments and other assets designed to educate consumers, you can identify anonymous visitors, determine where they are in the buyer’s journey and serve up relevant content that helps solve their problems. This positions your organization as a subject matter expert and provider of choice.

Evaluation: Lead Nurturing

Once a lead has been captured through a landing page, call center or other source, connecting them to relevant content in a timely manner is critical. According to an article in Harvard Business Review, firms that "contacted potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer." The reality is that not everyone who engages with your site is ready to schedule an appointment, so nurturing leads through automated trigger-and-drip email campaigns and relevant content is an excellent way to position your brand as a trusted resource and advance them through to an appointment when the time is right. We’ve found that by delivering nurturing content in the form of automated emails, we’re able to convert up to 25 percent of those who aren’t at that “ready to buy” stage. Even something as simple as a single follow-up email a few days after taking an assessment or downloading a guide can be enough to move that prospect to the next stage.

Decision: Lead Conversion

When your prospect is ready to make a decision, automation makes it easy by keeping your brand top of mind—and just a click away—throughout the journey. For example, when someone fills out a form on your landing page, they can enter an email automation workflow that allows you to continue nurturing them with great content on why they should choose you. The results are remarkable: Visitors who return to our campaign sites after receiving a drip email are 24 times more likely to complete an appointment form compared to consumers who visit the site via other methods. This process can be accelerated through A/B testing that optimizes subject lines, cadence and other elements.

If you need to generate revenue quickly and are on a limited budget, start with the low-hanging fruit of those actively searching for your services and ready to make an appointment. Or if you’re needing to grow volumes for a service line like bariatrics and you have a qualifying event like a seminar, plan your campaign and budget specifically around seminar registrations and use the event as the opportunity to convert them into patients.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Content Marketing

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