Inbound marketing for the healthcare industry shares the same characteristics as inbound marketing for other industries, but it comes with its own specifics as well.
As a healthcare provider or company, you’ll need excellent attention to detail, a reputable and trustworthy brand image and a high level of professionalism and thought leadership. After all, you have a duty of care and should strive to be an accurate, reliable source of information.
These are our 11 musts for inbound marketers in the healthcare industry:
1. Understand your (patient or business) buyer personas
Are your customers patients, consumers or businesspeople? To get a good idea of who you’re addressing with each piece of content or marketing initiative, take the time to understand who you’re marketing to. They will make up your new customers, and hopefully repeat business.
Give your buyer personas names, profiles, challenges and needs. Identify where they spend time online, where they seek information and what answers or solutions they might use Google to find. This should then form the basis of your content plan, social media strategy and more.
2. Embody your brand values with your inbound marketing
Brand values are important whatever your industry, but as a healthcare industry some of your values are likely to focus on delivering on promises and being caring, professional and trustworthy.
Every part of your inbound marketing, from your choice of language and tone (e.g. friendly but not over-familiar, reassuring and supportive), to the accuracy of your information and the value of the content you put out, will communicate something about your brand. Be your brand values in everything you do.
3. Design a website that looks the part
Your website will be, for many of your potential customers, the first impression of your company and brand. Above all, it should not be seen and presented primarily as a sales tool, but as a valuable source of information, and should be designed as such.
This means it should be easy to navigate and find useful content, for example your blog or sections of the website devoted to providing help and answers. The images, colours and fonts you use will also impact your audience’s impression of your company, so start seeing your website as your brand’s face and invest time and resources accordingly.
4. Target the right SEO keywords
Going back to #1, understanding your buyer personas will be the key to your SEO strategy’s success. Whoever your potential customers are, you need to know what they might be searching for online.
Brainstorm topics of interest and possible keywords, based on the challenges and objectives of your buyer personas. Then use a tool like Google or HubSpot to identify the low competition, high search frequency terms to use. Repeat each time you want to produce new content.
5. Look after your social media accounts
…and they’ll look after you. Your most relevant platforms will likely be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and (for business to business healthcare) LinkedIn; it all depends where your buyer personas spend time.
Keep your info up to date, your posts frequent and your visuals (header images, graphics for posts) fresh and consistent with your brand’s style. Post whenever you publish new content, have a new announcement or find a useful piece of relevant, external content. Ask your followers questions to engage them, and engage with others’ posts.
6. Develop a healthy, balanced content plan
Aim to be an information resource for your healthcare niche. The content you provide should be varied in format and always accurate and value-adding. Use blog posts to link to landing pages which then provide your visitors the opportunity to download a piece of content for further information, in return for giving their contact details (see #9).
Types of downloadable content may include:
- Patient case studies (obviously confidentiality regulations apply) or business client case studies detailing how your company has helped people
- Guides or eBooks on relevant topics to serve as resources for potential or existing customers and clients
- Infographics with facts and stats on topics related to your niche, for example treatments, new healthcare laws or trends
7. Publish audience-driven, SEO-driven blog posts
Once you have your content plan, you can develop an editorial calendar of blog posts to attract visitors to your website, and merge the two together.
For each piece of content, you can produce a number of blog posts around the same topic but targeting different keywords to increase your visitor numbers and reap maximum downloads for your content pieces. Write for the search engines, but also write for your audience.
8. Incorporate strong CTAs
CTA (call-to-action) copy should be short, to the point and persuasive, and the design can be anything from a text-only button to a larger image. A HubSpot Academy tutorial on CTAs provides some best practices for different types.
Throughout your website, within the navigation barrier and on each page, you should look to incorporate a CTA inviting and encouraging your audience to ‘sign up’ or ‘subscribe’, ‘get started’ or ‘contact us’ — whatever action you want them to take. Likewise, your blog posts should all come complete with ‘download now’ or ‘join our webinar’ CTAs, leading people to landing pages.
9. Generate leads with your landing pages
A landing page might be the first page a visitor comes to on your website, or the page they come to from one of your blog posts. Either way, it has to do the job of explaining why they should take action, so that they type their email address in, as long as some other pieces of information, and become a new lead or contact.
In a short space of time, it needs to present the value to the customer of e.g. downloading a piece of content. Copy, images, design, testimonials and a simple form to fill out should all come together to make a well-performing landing page. See HubSpot's list of 15 of the best landing page designs for inspiration.,
10. Nurture leads with email workflows
As your new leads trickle — or flood — in, your email marketing software (such as HubSpot) should add them automatically to your email list. You can also automatically segment your email list, sorting your contacts depending on the content they downloaded or their job role.
Emails should be designed in an attractive way and provide value to your contacts. Try distributing newsletters, special offers and content — whatever is relevant to your business and your potential and existing customers. Read HubSpot's rundown of 13 types of email workflow for ideas.
You can then target relevant emails to each segment using different automated workflows. Different buyer personas at different stages of the customer lifecycle or sales funnel can then receive emails that are perfectly tuned to them. Automation saves time, and can improve open rates and conversion rates.
11. Track and optimise your results
Your website, blog posts, landing pages and email activity should all generate data as people enter your sales funnel and engage with your content. Use this data to inform the inbound marketing choices you make longer term.
If a particular email workflow is converting well, try to replicate its style and format. Blog posts that are performing higher than others can be promoted more, with further investments into boosted social media posts or PPC ads, for example.
Experiment, track and optimise your marketing, learning important lessons and acting on them as you go.