10 Things We Learned or Confirmed in 2018

by Jason Skinner, Chief Marketing Officer - 12/26/18


Here are a few of the most salient insights drawn from hundreds of content marketing strategies and service-line campaigns.

Optimize every step on the patient journey.

Service-line marketing can be successful only if the patient experience is frictionless, and an effective campaign relies heavily on constant communication between the marketing team and service line management. By identifying a point person within the service line to receive the leads, the team can ensure these candidates are connected to the appropriate access point, such as a seminar or appointment, and subsequently nurtured if they become a no-show during the process.

Know your audience—and give them what they want.

When marketing for orthopedics, we found the ideal prospects to be age 50 or older and those who view email on desktop computers more frequently than mobile devices. Prospects also did not respond to an online scheduling tool as much as they did a phone number when scheduling appointments. Like all conversion opportunities, it’s important to test these elements and optimize for the next outreach.

Start with a story.

Whatever you want to feature—a service line, a new device, an event or a new building project—start with a story. Dig deeper than the event or program and ask yourself if there is a person-centered story that can lead the content. Is there a patient who could tell his or her story to highlight the real-life benefits of a procedure, service line or physician? In other words, who can tell your story for you instead of you talking about yourself?

Make picking up the phone a snap (or tap).

When sending email outreach, make sure the phone number is hyperlinked so users can simply touch to call when viewing your email on a mobile device. Also, repeating the phone number several times within emails has been shown to drive higher responses. 

Experiment with email cadence.

There is no magic equation for how many deployments an email campaign should have. Rather, evaluate response and adjust accordingly. For example, if you set a bi-weekly cadence but notice that engagement falls off after a few sends, your outreach may be too frequent or your message too repetitive.

Don’t neglect print.

While industry leaders often talk about all things digital—and marketers should be thinking with a digital-first mindset—print still has a place in the modern toolkit (just ask Facebook). Consider the crush of competing email messages in your inbox compared to the relatively small amount of mail you receive on a daily basis. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute recommends that marketers “consider using print as everything else is going digital” while planning their 2019 strategies. If you’re focused on brand awareness and perception, a print magazine coupled with an effective blog, social media and search engine optimization strategy is incredibly effective. If your marketing focuses on promoting service lines, direct mail adds amazing results to digital campaigns.

Find your voice.

Establish a tone and style guide that applies to all paid, earned, and owned media channels. Establishing consistency with everything from commas to the way you reference your physicians doesn’t just make you look smarter, it builds trust with your audience. Most readers won’t notice if things are done well, but they will notice mistakes and inconsistencies. Having a style guide to share with internal and external content partners ensures quality at every touchpoint.

Make sure your website is a useful tool.

Web content for healthcare organizations should be written in a way that delivers the answers consumers are looking for, while progressively guiding them toward a goal conversion. For those just starting their journey to intervention or treatment, the goal could include signing up for an e-newsletter or completing a health risk assessment. If users are farther down the path, make it easy to engage by downloading a patient guide or scheduling an appointment.

Track everything.

Whether it’s print or digital, use trackable phone numbers, vanity urls (especially for direct mail or magazines), pixels (for digital ads) and google analytics or similar for tracking website performance, sources and goal completions.

Keep moving forward!

We’re not fans of fixing what’s not broken, but using data to continuously improve content planning and service line tactics will pay dividends. If a topic or a daring tactic doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to rip the cord and move on. 


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True North Custom works with 500+ healthcare organizations to plan, develop and optimize content marketing strategiesFind 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: Content Strategy

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