Posted: July 18, 2017

Can you believe we’re halfway through the year? Now is the perfect time to assess whether your healthcare marketing campaigns are hitting performance projections across channels and touch points, all while staying within budget. A midyear analysis and adjustment can keep your organization from getting complacent with ineffective strategies, while identifying areas that will sustain or drive demonstrable ROI.

Here are five steps for a strong second half of ’17:

1) Know where you stand
Measurement sets the stage for proper management of marketing leads. You should be able to drill down within all active campaigns to track every consumer contact — from initial awareness through scheduling, return visits and billing. Also look at campaigns by channel to determine the relative strength of leads in the pipeline (e.g., Google vs. Facebook vs. Twitter). Get actionable insights from the latest figures on total marketing spend, average cost per lead and ROI.

2) Evaluate your initial approach
It's important to set realistic expectations for the earned, owned and paid media tactics that form a balanced marketing strategy. For example, do your goals and benchmarks place too much emphasis on driving consumers to your web, mobile, and social properties without support from purchased ads that increase awareness? Have you devoted enough time and resources to generating mentions, shares, reposts, and reviews that enhance engagement and sentiment around your brand? (Soliciting positive reviews can have an especially large impact on your earned media and search rankings.) Have you focused enough on key strategic service lines that have the best chance of resonating with consumers across all media?

3) Determine to stay the course or pivot
Investing marketing dollars isn't always a linear process. In other words, you've likely front-loaded your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts toward creating content that will attract site visitors who will later become loyal patients. At the same time, you may be “paying for performance" in real time through search engine marketing (SEM), direct mail, or billboard advertising. Analyze not only what's left in your budget, but where you can make the most cost-effective changes for the remainder of the year. For instance, consider whether you've allocated sufficient time and manpower to optimize for mobile SEO, which can deliver higher conversion from search to appointment than traditional desktop queries, according to research from Google.

4) Align with your consumers’ needs
Today's healthcare consumers want a streamlined, integrated process of connecting with a provider. They're highly interested in using technologies such as self-monitoring devices, health improvement apps, and online scheduling, all of which factor into making service more convenient and personalized. Think about how your current digital marketing strategies address consumers' desires for improved access and efficiency and consider enhancing your physician profiles. From a content perspective, make certain your information is up-to-date, authoritative, and “share-worthy" via social messaging.

5) Help steer consumers' decisions
Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals a sea change in consumer health insurance coverage. For the first time, half of covered U.S. workers now face deductibles of at least $1,000 for single coverage. That includes 65% of workers at smaller firms (3-199 employees), who typically have higher deductibles than their counterparts at larger companies. It would then be reasonable to expect consumers to become more frugal healthcare shoppers. Indeed, research shows consumers responding to higher deductibles by indiscriminately cutting back on services — regardless of whether care would be considered preventive or elective. There's an opportunity to connect with consumers via digital marketing, educating them to take advantage of personalized options for care.

As you review your digital marketing plans and priorities for the rest of the year, run through our Consumer Experience Checklist to maximize online engagement with your healthcare consumers.