In today’s digital age, patients increasingly turn to the internet to self-diagnose symptoms before picking up the phone and calling their primary healthcare provider. This is why popular healthcare sites like WebMD.com boast over 16 million unique visits a month in the United States alone. Even B2B healthcare professionals use the internet to research potential partners and learn about the latest industry solutions. The reality is that every healthcare organization can benefit from content marketing strategies, whether the goal is to target patients or potential B2B healthcare partners.
A commonly used schematic when discussing business is the marketing funnel, or sales funnel. The marketing funnel is broken down into three main sections, each of which represents key marketing strategies and sales efforts. The top of the funnel is representative of marketing campaigns, which work to raise awareness about a business. This might include emails, referrals, social media campaigns, PR, and online advertisements that are used as a vehicle to promote a business or organization.
The second part of the funnel corresponds to the leading and nurturing aspect of marketing. This includes content marketing, drip emails, case studies, newsletters, and other information-oriented marketing tools. The goal of the second part of the funnel is to pique potential customers’ interest and provide enough valuable information for them to fully evaluate your product or service.
The bottom part of the funnel is the sales portion. This is where companies offer trials and perform demonstrations, persuading their customers to commit and buy products. The last part of the bottom section of the funnel is where satisfied customers contact friends, coworkers or family members and recommend your product. Because so much time, money, and effort is spent on the first and last parts of the funnel, the middle is often neglected. This is a huge mistake, because it is the middle that is typically most important in converting a potential customer into a paying consumer who recommends the product to their friends and family.
It is the middle part of the funnel that healthcare organizations can most actively manipulate and affect. Content marketing strategies that work best for healthcare agencies are generally news, infographics, whitepapers, and case studies. Because healthcare is a constantly changing, multifaceted and incredibly complex system, having a good information gathering system is vital to success. For healthcare organizations and people to both benefit from the sales funnel, healthcare organizations must continue to focus on the middle for optimum results.
Infographics, are perhaps one of the most popular ways to disseminate information to the masses. They are usually easy to understand, full of fun trivia and interesting facts, and present critical information in a creative way through color, sleek design, and oftentimes, humor. If you handed someone a page of statistics on healthcare research and results regarding scoliosis, it’s doubtful you would see positive results. Put those same statistics into an infographic with sharp text, eye catching design and a well placed layout, however, and people will be much more excited to read the information.
Article reviews are great ways for healthcare professionals to learn about research and findings of their peers. Reviews also allow doctors, surgeons, and others to criticize or offer constructive input on published articles. This integrates a level of checks and balances to the scientific and medical community. In a world where there is competition between organizations all working toward the common goal of improving human health, even communication between rivals needs to be ongoing.
Making article reviews available to the public also allows normal citizens to see the insights of medical professionals. Many people are concerned with what their doctor or surgeon has to say about the newest surgical techniques, herbal cures, or the effectiveness of the newest diet pill. This is one of the reasons Dr. Oz has become so popular. Article reviews, while perhaps not as entertaining as infographics, do capture the public’s attention.
Case studies are one of the most effective tools for scientists, researchers, and medical professionals to sway public thought on a particular topic. Because case studies are essentially required for any new treatment to be accepted and widely used in the medical community, scientists put great stock in them. Because of this, the public is willing to believe just about anything proven in a case study. The chances of the information being accepted are increased if the case study proves something that has long been believed or hoped for.
For medical professionals who wish to show the effectiveness of new treatment, having a few case studies is essential. This will not only help convince other professionals of the worth of your discoveries, but also – and perhaps more importantly – the public. A medical company can very quickly sell any treatment or product if the public is convinced there is a need and that the product or service is worth the cost.
A Medical Obligation
Medical professionals and medical businesses have an obligation to make medical information available for the good of the public, because it is their duty to care for public health. Healthcare professionals must also ensure the information and content they publish is accurate, vetted, and tested.
Because the internet is such a fast and effective medium for communication, medical professionals must learn to rely upon the tools it provides. Doctors and surgeons are generally trusted in society, so it is important they be active in the field of content marketing. They might benefit as private businesses as well as offer their expertise when and where it is sorely needed.
For example, there has long been a fear that vaccines cause autism in babies. This fear, based on very little actual evidence and invalidated by much scientific research, nevertheless persists in American society. Research shows failure to vaccinate is one of the primary causes of the resurgence of many viral illnesses that were once thought to have been eradicated. For medical professionals to come to a consensus on this topic may be impossible, as persuading people to agree on any topic of controversy is notoriously difficult.
Infographics, case studies, and article reviews, when made available in forums and other wide reaching mediums, can significantly improve the general knowledge of nearly any topic. If medical professionals make information available to the public and to each other, an increase in productivity will be seen in both scientific results, sales, and in internet marketing efforts.
Improving the middle of the funnel in this way will help to persuade potential customers to become paying consumers. They have heard of medical brands and products through social media and advertisements, but to prompt potential customers to take action, medical professionals need to make more information easily available. By publishing case studies and article reviews about their products or services, scientists and doctors are giving the public the information to make their own educated choices.
Valuable content like this makes the middle of the funnel stronger, thereby improving the function of the sales funnel as a whole. Improving content and making it available is the best way for medical professionals and businesses in the medical field to care for the public and make a profit in the process.