Shattering the Myths of Marketing Automation

by Valerie Lauer, Copywriter - 08/12/14

In an increasingly competitive and complex environment, marketers have to work smarter and make better use of limited time and resources. Automation tools allow marketers to leverage technology to maximize efficiency and measure results unlike ever before.

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According to SalesForce.com, more top performing companies are adopting marketing automation solutions. While gaining popularity in IT and other industries, these tools offer huge opportunities for forward-thinking marketers in healthcare—where less than 2% of organizations are leveraging these systems.

If you're hearing the buzz but need help separating the signal from the noise, this article from the Content Marketing Institute offers a good primer. For those who are evaluating options or preparing to implement an automation tool, we’re here to help distinguish fact from fiction.

Myth: Automation makes your marketing robotic.

Fact: The soul of great marketing is the same, whether you type each message or let a program do it for you. These tips can help keep your campaigns as human as possible.

Focus on relationships. You know your audience, so use that information to personalize interactions from the start. The more adaptive and intuitive your communications are, the clearer it will be that you care and are listening.

Use exceptional content. Even in this digital age, content is king. Though you have a program sending your message into the world, it shouldn’t read like a program wrote it. A campaign is only as good as its message. Invest in writing that is informative, interesting, and clear, and that helps guide patients and their families to services that will improve their lives.

Include a human element. Health care is a face-to-face industry, so it’s important to bring that element to your marketing. Use events such as health fairs, screenings, informational seminars, and support groups to take your relationship to the next level while championing community wellness.

Myth: Traditional methods are more effective for marketing health care.

Fact: Along with the inherent benefit of multiplying marketers’ efforts, automation tools allow marketers to better understand their audiences and deliver relevant content based on those insights. This is especially beneficial in health care, as more consumers are researching conditions and educating themselves on treatment and provider options before scheduling an appointment. Healthcare marketers can empower current and prospective patients during this self-discovery period through content that meets them where they are.

Here are just a few ways marketing automation can support your content strategy:

  • Segment your database and target those at risk for readmission with educational messages about how to manage their conditions and enter the system at the appropriate point of care (outpatient clinic vs. emergency department).
  • Nurture leads captured at screenings, health fairs, and other community events with relevant content until these prospective patients are ready to schedule an appointment.
  • Create landing pages that feature online health assessments and schedule follow-up emails to those who complete the assessments based on their level of risk (low, moderate, high).
  • Optimize your blog and other website content for search, and automatically syndicate articles across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social channels.

Myth: Marketing automation ensures success in a short period of time.

Fact: Automation is not a silver bullet for marketing success, and automating the distribution of poorly written content only magnifies the problem. Leading marketers understand how to marry the art of developing great content with the science of targeting, testing, and measurement. Great writing and design are still essential to engaging your audience and moving them to act.

Also, the reality is that generating web traffic and nurturing prospects is more marathon than sprint, and results from inbound marketing using automation tools are not instantaneous. Developing relevant, engaging content for your blog, social, and email campaigns requires a commitment and consistency over time. This Hubspot article illustrates this point that content marketing is a long-term investment.

Want to learn more about marketing automation? Look for a feature article in the next issue of Healthcare Insight, a free resource for qualified healthcare marketing professionals. Sign up today!

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