A comprehensive content marketing strategy can help your healthcare organization convert prospects into patients.
Content is becoming increasingly vital to the success of a healthcare organization’s marketing efforts; let’s explore how to generate leads with content marketing. Meeting your audience along their patient journeys with relevant content in the form of blogs, print publications, eBooks, webinars, downloadable guides, videos and email newsletters positions your organization as a trusted resource—even before they pick up the phone to schedule an appointment.
“Having a content strategy is critical for generating and nurturing leads at every stage of the healthcare decision cycle,” says Jason Skinner, chief marketing officer at True North Custom. “Marketing is often defined as creating value for customers. What better way to demonstrate the value you offer to current or prospective patients than to provide them with insights and ideas [content] that helps them navigate their healthcare experience?”
Do the Research
To demonstrate value to potential consumers and generate leads with content marketing, you first need to understand who they are and what is keeping them up at night.
Taking an in-depth look into the demographics and behaviors of your current consumers through surveys and other information-collecting tools, such as interviews or focus groups, helps create audience personas and answers the “who” question to better understand their needs and expectations.
Once you have an idea of the “who,” the “what” can be easily broken down with the assistance of keyword research, a fundamental component of search engine optimization (SEO).
“Through keyword research, you can identify how people search when looking for information about your services and products,” says Ashley DuFrene, senior digital marketing specialist at True North Custom. “Having that knowledge will help formulate parts of your content strategy, as you will want to ensure you are writing about things that people are interested in and not putting resources and effort into creating content no one is actually searching for.”
Once you have piqued your potential consumer’s interest, you need to make sure you are delivering quality content that delivers on the promises made through paid media, social posts and other promotional tactics.
“Ask yourself, did the customer find what they were looking for?” DuFrene says. “The quickest way to lose readers is if they feel the information they thought they were going to get turns out to be irrelevant.”
Furthermore, remember that the need to be relevant and deliver value applies to your call to action (CTA), as well. You cannot expect to generate leads with content marketing if your CTA is an unnatural progression of the information you have provided.
For example, a CTA advertising a wellness program at the end of an article about weight loss would be relevant to your reader, whereas a CTA asking readers to donate to a healthcare organization’s foundation at the end of an article about the flu would seem out of place and be unlikely to spur any action.
Nurture Your Leads
While getting someone to simply click on your link or open an email is no easy feat, you need to also ensure that you are converting that engagement into a quantifiable action. Sometimes, this will occur very quickly. Webinars and downloadable guides, for example, tend to be consumed by individuals who are already interested in a specific service or service line.
More often than not, however, consumers interact with content multiple times before taking an action.
“The large majority of your site visitors aren’t ready to commit, so lead nurturing is a critical part of any successful content marketing strategy,” Skinner says. “In fact, Hubspot estimates that only a relatively small percentage of inbound leads are ready to make an immediate purchase so a lack of nurturing can leave up to 90% of inbound leads on the table.”
To capitalize on the momentum your content creates and generate leads with content marketing, you need to present your prospects with multiple opportunities for future engagement based on their needs and interests. This can be done, for example, by encouraging potential consumers to subscribe to your organization's newsletter. Then, with the assistance of effective email workflows, you can continue to foster these relationships until your customers are ready to give you a call.
“Repetition is key. You want to ensure you are showing up in the multiple areas your audience is interacting with and constantly reminding them why they should choose you over the competition.”
—Ashley DuFrene, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist, True North Custom
The Key to Lead Generation
Marketers who consistently deliver value are the ones who win, and creating relevant content is an excellent way to do exactly that—no matter the category or competitive landscape. If you’re unsure about where to start planning content that aligns with your audience needs, Skinner suggests the Elements of Value pyramid from Harvard Business Review as a source of inspiration.
The content marketing philosophy of delivering value versus pushing product is embraced by the likes of Google Senior VP of Global Marketing Lorraine Twohill who said, “You do not wake up in the morning and think, ‘I need a new browser today.’ You wake up in the morning and worry about getting your kids to school and paying your mortgage.”
In the same way, healthcare marketers should constantly ask themselves what matters to their consumers and help solve those problems to generate leads with content marketing. The result: Your organization is positioned as a trusted resource when the time is right to seek treatment.