Digital Marketing Basics Every Healthcare Marketer Should Master

by Ashley DuFrene, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist - 01/09/19


Running a successful healthcare digital marketing campaign requires clear goals, careful analysis and an understanding of the tools at your disposal. Use these tips to maximize your next campaign's ROI.

Engaging the digital consumer is a top priority for healthcare organizations, and marketers are leading the charge by leveraging a diverse spectrum of tactics designed to connect consumers with brands—including social media, paid search, landing pages, videos and more. This presents a challenge as each campaign may require different key performance indicators for gauging success. Strategies that work for an engagement campaign that introduces users to your brand, for example, may not work for a conversion campaign designed to generate leads and drive profitable volume.

If you’re ready to dive into digital marketing, paid social and paid search are great channels to start. They provide high-quality leads and are high-converting paid channels. Creating a compelling ad that links to a well-designed landing page—an alternative to driving paid traffic to your organization’s main website—creates an effective path to conversion and allows you to easily track results. It’s another component in conversion-driven campaigns.

The Right Time to Begin Optimizing Campaigns

When it comes to launching a digital campaign, too many marketers make the mistake of falling into “set it and forget it” mode—letting a campaign run on autopilot indefinitely. Another common pitfall is changing elements of a campaign too quickly without allowing enough time to accumulate sufficient data for proper analysis.

For paid social, we recommend letting a campaign run for at least one or two weeks before looking for ways to improve its performance. For paid search, wait a month or more, as search engine marketing takes a little longer to ramp up. These campaigns take time to yield detailed performance metrics, and with so many ways to analyze data for optimization—by device, ad extension, keyword, ad copy, bid strategy—you want to ensure you have enough to make impactful decisions.

The Most Common Metrics Used

After you’ve gathered enough data to see what’s working and what isn’t, consider the type of digital channel and your overall goals, and then let those guide which metrics you use to optimize your campaign. Most digital marketers use these three metrics:

1. Click-through rate (CTR). If you see a low CTR—2 percent or below in paid search—your ad copy may not be relevant to your target audience. Consider testing different ad copy to see if it can boost CTR. Google now offers responsive search ads that can help determine which ad copy variations are most effective, based on your goals. When running Facebook ads, consider revising ad copy or messaging if you CTR is 0.5 percent or below.

2. Conversation rate (CVR). If you are seeing a low CVR—3 percent or below—be sure there isn’t a disconnect in messaging between your ad copy and landing page. Prospects will think they clicked on the wrong ad if the landing page doesn’t match its message, and they may bounce off the page before a conversion occurs. Ad copy testing or landing page testing can help increase your CVR.

3. Cost per lead (CPL). First, determine what cost you are willing to spend on driving a lead. Many companies use the customer acquisition cost metric, which reveals the average cost your company spends on getting a customer. Once you know that number, you can ensure you’re optimizing your different channel campaigns to achieve that metric. You can optimize based on how you bid. Google Ads offers Smart Bidding Solutions that allow marketers to use machine learning and ad performance data to achieve higher conversions or hit a specific CPL. If you’re more of a manual optimizer, the best way to lower CPL is to increase your conversion rate and/or lower your cost per click (CPC).

Proving Digital’s Worth to the C-Suite

Demonstrating the value of digital marketing to the C-suite is essential. The No. 1 element to demonstrate is how your digital efforts align with the organization’s goals, which may include driving patient volume, increasing brand awareness or boosting engagement among target consumers and physicians. From there, create a report that details how digital does just that. Keep everything at a high level of analysis, and focus on the impacts your digital efforts have made for the organization. Executives typically don’t have the time or interest to get in the weeds, so keep your reports  short, simple and actionable.

If, for example, your organization is new to a specific location within your market, showing awareness metrics of how you have expanded your reach within that location using digital is key. If you’re using paid social, how much reach—the amount of people who have seen your ad—did you achieve? How many times did someone share your information? What percentage of the audience engaged with your ad by clicking through to learn more? Did the number of people liking your Facebook page increase over time? Most importantly, how many new patients were generated through your digital marketing efforts and at what cost?

In a marketing world where digital matters to your audience but is still new to many in the organization, it’s up to you to bridge that gap. Learn to gather and share relevant metrics and use those to drive successful content that leads to conversions.

Let Us Guide Your Digital Strategy

True North Custom works with 500+ healthcare organizations to plan, develop and optimize digital marketing campaignsFind out how we can help engage your consumers and physicians to create a connection that drives brand and revenue growth.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Measurement & Analytics, Paid Media & Advertising

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