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Digital Marketing for Healthcare: Coronavirus and Beyond
August 18, 2020
A Vertical in Flux
The world is currently experiencing its greatest healthcare crisis for more than a century.
While the news cameras, politicians and talking heads dissect frontline capabilities and national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic on a daily basis, we could well be witness to the most significant shift in healthcare since the foundation of national health services following the second world war.
Never in most of our lifetimes has the spotlight been so focused and never has the fallout been so potentially complex. In the United States, could this situation bring about the political and popular will to introduce universal healthcare or at least reduce the dominance of private insurance in this sector?
Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, how will the funding and structure of the NHS change both in reaction to COVID-19 but also in a post-Brexit world? Will the crisis and the heightened awareness of mortality bring about a higher acceptability of private cover if it means your loved ones are less exposed to risk or waiting times?
These are not simple questions to answer, but one element is clear: users across the globe are looking online to find the latest information, guidance and policy. Health providers need to be aware of these changes and the opportunities it brings for them.
In our new Digital Marketing for Healthcare Report, TIPi Group breaks down the latest digital trends in healthcare and gives recommendations of how best to manage digital channels in an increasingly competitive and ever-evolving vertical.
The Consumer Journey for Healthcare
The consumer journey for Healthcare is often long and nonlinear and brands need to be present throughout it in order to build awareness and trust. A consumer can return to a state of good health at any point throughout the journey, and thus lose their purchase intent, meaning that a simple funnel model is often insufficient.
Furthermore, the nature of the healthcare vertical means that creating demand is usually not an option, so capturing existing demand becomes crucial. Search plays a pivotal role at this point. For consumers, search engines act as trusted confidants and consultants. For brands they offer the opportunity to get in front of consumers when it really matters
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Healthcare
The SEO landscape for healthcare is complex and competitive, with brands jostling for position alongside government bodies, national hospitals, insurance providers and a variety of other entities. In this highly regulated industry, offline authority is paramount, and brands need to navigate a number of steps to be competitive.
Firstly, they need to have a good understanding of EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) and how to demonstrate these three pillars. Secondly, being able to track and optimise for SERP Features, such as People Also Ask blocks, will enable brands to take up more real estate on the results page. Thirdly, leveraging the power of Local SEO is critical for capturing high-value users.
Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC) for Healthcare
When it comes to Search, an integrated approach of PPC and SEO is essential for driving efficiencies and maximising visibility.
The auction for PPC is highly competitive and on certain keywords the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) can be high, so understanding how to make the most out of your PPC spend is key if you want to achieve an impressive ROAS.
Firstly, brands need to be aware of the many Google Ad limitations in healthcare. Secondly brands need to consider the type of keywords used in searches across the consumer journey and identify which ones show intent. Thirdly, it is critical that landing pages are set up correctly with clear calls to action and tracking in place.
Paid Social for Healthcare
Paid Social is an excellent channel to run alongside Search in order to drive awareness and ensure you are front of mind when consumers enter the market.
A good knowledge of Facebook Ad limitations is critical, as is knowing what type of creative is most likely to capture users’ attention.
Of course, there are more platforms available than just Facebook and if your brand needs to target medical professionals then Linkedin is likely to be the best performer.
Voice for Healthcare
With more than 20% UK households now owning a smartspeaker, voice is changing the way that consumers search for products and services and interact with brands.
TIPi Group’s voice experience agency Rabbit & Pork have developed a tool which tracks the Google Assitant’s ability to answer questions, which shows that 81% of Healthcare-related queries are now being answered, with the Mayo Clinic being the most used source.
Over the past few months, many healthcare brands have accelerated their movement into the world of voice, but some are still unsure where to start.
The best place to begin is with a Voice Search Ranking Report to see how your content is performing in Voice, then you can begin to optimise to improve your discoverability. Next, come up with a use case for a voice app which will allow consumers to have a two-way conversation with your brand - the best way to do this is to find inefficient processes which would be quicker and easier to do with voice.
At a time when health is front of mind in the global consciousness, brands need to be using digital to connect with consumers, whether this is simply to answer their questions or to guide them towards products and services. However, healthcare is a highly regulated and complex sector for digital marketing, with a vast range of products and services for which the path-to-purchase varies drastically. An in-depth understanding of how to get the best out of each channel and, critically, how to ensure your channels are working together harmoniously is essential for Healthcare brands looking to thrive in the COVID era.
TIPi Group’s Digital Marketing for Healthcare Report is currently free to download.