Tips For Pivoting To A Healthcare Digital Strategy
Maneuvering Through the Crisis: 9 Tips For Healthcare Digital Strategy
To say that 2020 is a unique time in our lives is an understatement. There is also no playbook (for care, the economy or brand marketing) for a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. But businesses, at least the ones that are able, must continue to push forward. To remain relevant during this unprecedented time, it’s critical that organization’s remain agile and responsive with go-to-market strategy, brand messaging and marketing…which must include rethinking healthcare digital strategy.
Responsive doesn’t mean going dark with your healthcare marketing until we get on the other side of the crisis. Instead, organizations need to reassess their campaigns to keep up with and address changing attitudes and behaviors. And this likely means reallocating your marketing expenditures with more focus on healthcare digital strategy to remain connected and relevant to current and prospective customers.
Maintaining Brand Presence
A study by Kantar revealed that people believed that brands should maintain their advertising efforts during the crisis. Only 8% of 35,000 global consumers thought that brands should stop advertising, while 78% believed brands should be present to help improve people’s daily lives.
Of course, when it comes to health systems, hospitals and other providers – they’re already doing everything humanly possible (and going above and beyond the call of duty) to save lives. And while elective services have dramatically slowed (as have revenues), maintaining an active brand voice is nevertheless important to nurturing and maintaining relationships.
By pivoting to digital strategies and balancing short-term realities with long-term likely outcomes, healthcare organizations (whether health systems, hospitals, physician groups, or specialty providers) will better position themselves for eventual growth when the pandemic subsides and people venture back into facilities.
Nine Steps To Take With Healthcare Digital Strategy
1. Marketing With Empathy
As we wrote about previously, all organizations regardless of channel need to be marketing with empathy, with a primary goal of adding value to your audience. More important than ever, this means putting yourself in customer’s shoes and truly identifying with their situation. There’s never been a more important time to consider how your brand (in it’s own unique and genuine way) can offer relief. Organizations that are seen to put the needs of people first and their bottom line second may take a short-term financial hit but will likely come out stronger when normality returns.
2. Reassess Marketing Budget & Voice
In this fluid environment, campaign decisions made even just a couple weeks ago might no longer be appropriate given the current trajectory of the crisis. So healthcare organizations must always be on the lookout to reassess every possible marketing aspect of their brand across paid and owned channels.
In the midst of a lot of uncertainty, there are certain realities that you can plan against. You know at this point that trade shows aren’t happening any time soon. You also know that people aren’t traveling right now, whether on mass transit or in their cars. Which means bus, transit, outdoor and radio advertising exposure is going to be limited.
Organizations who’ve historically spent a majority of their budget on traditional paid marketing channels now have a larger amount to spend elsewhere. By capitalizing on healthcare digital strategy, health care organizations can not only continue to push through the hard times and stay relevant, but they can also measure and adapt their work.
Along with reassessing marketing strategy and campaigns, all of your brand’s creative campaign elements should also be scrutinized for their potential impact. Organizations need to carefully evaluate their messaging – from their tone, visual imagery and copy, to keywords and media placements.
3. Be There For Customers
Your communities, prospective patients and current patients are struggling right now. Your ability to anticipate and proactively meet their needs can help you strengthen connections now and long into the future. To understand what they’re going through, you can make a list of all the ways their lives have changed, and what their biggest pain points are, e.g.
- How are we going to make ends meet?
- How are we going to stay safe?
- How am I going to be able to get my annual check-up?
- How are we going to keep the kids from losing their minds?
- How am I going to be able to go for my physical therapy?
- How do we keep the kids engaged in their schoolwork?
- How am I going to stay fit If I can’t get to the gym?
- What’s plan B if our SBA loan doesn’t come through?
For each of these questions that you can help address (whether directly or not), begin with “How Can Our Digital Assets Assist…” to ease their worries and make lives easier?
4. Host Online Events And Webinars
If your health system or hospital had in-person events that were postponed due to the outbreak, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t get people together and deliver the information they were looking forward to receiving. Hosting an online webinar or interactive session can prove to be extremely helpful and therapeutic for your audience. At this point in time, it’s not only about the subject matter they’re interested in, but being able to connect with others when they’re otherwise isolated.
5. Optimize Your Website Content For Users And SEO
Given changing priorities, what people are searching for online has changed as have their buying behaviors. This represents an opportunity to strengthen your website presence by improving your rankings and potentially outranking competitors. Ensure you’re staying up to speed on the most highly searched keywords relevant to your specific services and prospective patients, and brainstorm ways that you can tweak your website content to align.
6. Create New Content
In addition to optimizing your current content, it’s important to maintain relevance by creating unique content around newly targeted search queries around the pandemic. Your communities are looking to learn as much as they can about the coronavirus, how it is affecting their communities, the most up-to-date precautionary steps in place and for the reassurance that comes from knowing that your organization is doing all it can to assist. And as a healthcare provider, you’re in the perfect position to be the resource they turn to.
Rahm Emanuel re-introduced the phrase “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Use this opportunity to generate new ideas for blog posts or videos for your communities to show them you’re right there with them, and as a result, you’re going to keep them updated on everything important. You can also give people the opportunity to connect with your brand via interactive content which is inherently more shareable, which in turn, keeps your organization top of mind.
7. Step Up Social Media Efforts
Given that we’re all staying at home and are more isolated from one another, your communities are likely spending more time posting, commenting and sharing on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter than ever before. This is on top of the fact that (according to Stastista), 79% of the population in the United States has at least one social media profile, and 62% of adults use social media to catch up on trending news. Many people also use these spaces to share tips for managing anxiety or boredom or looking for entertaining media for just a bit of relief.
Take advantage of the opportunity. Post more frequently or consider increasing your paid advertising budget for social media platforms. Also use this time to diversify your content. If you ever thought about creating a video or podcast, or learning how to create Instagram stories, now is the time for your organization to do so. Remember that production value matters much less than human value.
8. Create Video
Video consumption is booming and it is arguably, the most powerful and persuasive medium today. It is also the only type of content that allows people to see you, hear you, and to know you from the convenience of their screen. According to App Annie, a mobile market data and analytics platform, we spend 3.7 hours a day on our mobile devices, much of it watching video. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017 according to Cisco.
Video can also be used to replace or supplement written content that you share on your website and social media platforms. As reported by HubSpot, 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. Given this, why would you not incorporate video into your healthcare digital strategy?
9. AR and VR
Business insider has stated AR and VR “is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 113% to reach $215 billion in 2021, up from $11 billion in 2017.” There’s no doubt that AR and VR will have a major impact in the future.
Two simple definitions of AR and VR are in a CNET article, titled AR and VR Made Simple:
- Augmented reality (AR): AR is when you look at the real world and see it overlaid, or augmented, with location-specific information and graphics.
- Virtual reality (VR): VR is when the sights and sounds around you are replaced with virtual, computer-generated ones.
Augmented and virtual reality bring an interactive element to audiences and a whole new dimension to customer experience – something that has become crucially important in today’s digital advertising. People today no longer want to passively receive a message. Instead, they’re looking for active participation in a campaign and playing a part in personalizing their message. AR and VR technologies make that possible.
Extraordinary circumstances force us to explore new ideas. So…what are other ways you can deliver value to communities who desperately need you, e.g. AR and VR experiences, virtual courses, online webinars, live or recorded video content, etc.
Knowing all that’s happened and will happen, it’s extremely important that your organization quickly adapt, help people to overcome obstacles and get ahead of your competitors by implementing more digital tactics that match what your audience is searching for and yearning for. In the end, the time you spend on strategizing and optimizing your healthcare digital strategy will yield returns, as your results and long-term impact will far outlast the coronavirus.
Since 1999, Trajectory has specialized in helping healthcare and wellness organizations rise above the noise to grow brand value and business. If you’re looking to grow the trajectory of your brand and business, let’s talk.