Content Marketing is the beating heart at the core of any social media marketing strategy. Traditionally Healthcare Providers have relied much more on old media than other industries, being slow to adopt newer platforms but with over 72% of internet users searching for health information online, according to Pew Internet Research, we cannot afford to ignore them anymore.
HospitalHippo providers a great platform to get the word out about your Healthcare Provider by offering you the ability to target users who are already looking for treatment abroad using post types designed specifically for that purpose.
What is Content Marketing?
What is GOOD Content Marketing?
What do you mean “Be sure of your purpose”?
What do you mean know your audience?
What’s the next step?
Content Marketing is the art and science of attracting and retaining customers through the creating of interesting, valuable and/or “shareable” content.
Traditional marketing mediums such as advertising and direct calling are becoming less effective as our audiences develop natural blinders to these more invasive forms of promotion. We live in a world where people crave information and are able to find anything they want on command, so we need to tailor our Marketing Strategy to suit this kind of audience.
Through generating interesting content in the form of Articles, News, Case Reports, Infographics, Images and more, providers are able to not only establish themselves as authorities in that respective field but also build trust in their Brand.
Doctors all over the world have blogs, large hospital groups create health portals and there seems to be an endless supply of information online about every illness and treatment. How can one provider stand out from the crowd?
The Solution: Know your audience and be sure of your purpose.
Most information sources are not specifically targeted to the same audience that you are after. Others are written to be purely informational without taking into account differences in audience segments. No matter if you are using HospitalHippo, Facebook, Twitter or publishing something on your websites or a magazine, never lift a finger until you know who you are speaking to and why you are speaking to them.
Everyone wants a million patients for a millionth of a dollar. In an ideal world a provider could write an article about how good they are and the masses would mobilize to fight their way through your front door. This unfortunately is not an ideal world.
One of the biggest mistakes that many healthcare marketers make is to assume that every piece of content, every contact point, every communication should be designed to close the deal. This stems back to, now largely outdated, sales models where you should always be closing.
Not every piece of content should try to sell your products. There are many purposes to generating content which can be equally as beneficial as the quick sell.
Content can be used to:
- Build authority – If I read your doctor’s articles about my illness there’s a good chance I’d want him to treat me.
- Alleviate fears – Many users are not yet 100% sure they want a procedure and might be afraid of the risks.
- Create a need – Not all diseases have a single solution, perhaps you offer a better alternative that the user might be more willing to accept?
- Establish brand trust – For every great clinic or hospital there are 10 scalpel jockeys just waiting to commit malpractice. If associate your brand with quality content, I am likely to trust you.
- Counteract prejudice – Many providers are located in developing countries associated with low quality. A well written post about high standards of care in your country will go a long way.
- Address and issue: Perhaps a specific treatment is commonly misunderstood and creates a lot of post-operative dissatisfaction. You can address this in an article.
Most Providers have a good idea of who they want to attract in general terms but it pays to fully understand their user’s decision making process, concerns, interests and motivations. These will be unique to every country, age group and individual. This in turn will also be modified by the treatment, the ailment/cause of seeking treatment, the provider type and the provider location.
Here are some general questions that you can help guide your mapping of your target audience for a specific treatment:
Are they cost, waiting time or availability motivated?
If you know what their key decision factors are you can create content to guide them toward your Provider. Cost sensitive? Publish a Special Offer. Waiting Time? Throw out an Article comparing waiting times in their country with the much lower ones in yours. Availability? Post some news about your new treatment and how your country is making strides in that area.
Are they price sensitive or service/quality sensitive?
Everyone wants great quality at a low price but while you can push it in that direction, you can also highlight one particular area. Publish a Case Report (with patient’s permission!) showing how much it cost and how happy the patient was or publish an Article about standards of care in developed countries versus yours.
Are there any stigmas about the treatment you want to promote in their country?
Depending on the ailment and the treatment as well as the target audience’s home country, there may be some social or even religious stigmas attached. This could be anything from stem cell treatments to breast augmentation or even new technologies which have not yet gained traction in their country. The key factors here will be privacy, anonymity and even showing a distinction between your treatment and others (i.e. Placental v Embryonic stem cells). This could be done through any number of formats.
Are there any negative stereotypes about your country in theirs?
While certain countries are known for their medical care, others may find it difficult to separate perceptions of their country’s political and economic situation from their Healthcare system. Good examples of this are India and Thailand who have successfully disassociated themselves from the overarching perceptions of their country. In some cases, it might be necessary to create Articles and News posts to show how great treatment in your country can really be.
Is the treatment risky? What risks will they wish to be put at ease about?
The internet is a great tool for information but as every doctor knows, self-diagnosed and self-researched patients can be a problem, not because the information is bad but that humans have a tendency to seek out the bad. The reality is that every treatment has risks and many patients will need to be informed of this reality. Articles comparing risks of the target treatment with other procedures can help, and informational piece about how safety in this treatment has improved over the years will also go a long way.
Is this treatment the main treatment for this particular ailment?
Medicine is an ever evolving science and new and more effective treatments are being developed all time. However false hope and recklessness are also currency on the internet. If your treatment is not considered mainstream yet but does have proven benefit, then it is necessary to prove that it is not just another vial of snake oil. Case Reports, Articles and News posts that are based in fact are the key to doing this.
What is their motivation in choosing your country?
Some people choose to combine treatment with vacations, particularly if the Provider is located in a tourist hot spot. Events and Articles about things to do for family while waiting or during recovery can help seal the deal. Medical Tourism is not always just a cost/quality calculation. It pays to understand the outlining factors.
Is your country a common choice for this audience?
Different nationalities gravitate to different locations based on distance, common culture/language and general preconceptions about a country held by a society. If you wish to target an audience which may not typically choose your country, various types of posts can be used to minimize the drawbacks that they may believe your location holds. Cheap airfares from the target country? Lower cost hotels than more commonly visited destinations? These are all less obvious benefits that the audience may be interested to know.
Are you a well-known brand TO THE AUDIENCE?
Medical Tourism spans the globe with every country having their own leaders in the domestic Healthcare market, so it is not always apparent to prospective patients how big or what level of authority a Provider has. Using Articles, News and Event posts can help convey the size or market leadership to your target audience.
Decide what are going to be your Key Treatments that you will market then decide on who you are going to market it to. Map out your audience and work out what they want to read. From there it’s about grabbing their attention and proving why your Provider is the best choice for the job.