In today's digital climate, is it still possible to reach your marketing goals with only a basic plan, or must you have a well-documented strategy?

Let’s start by considering what a healthcare marketing strategy can do for your organization.

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that 60% of organizations that have a documented marketing strategy rate themselves highly in terms of their team’s effectiveness. They’re also nearly twice as likely to successfully track ROI. Having a plan will also help your organization maximize internal resources, align your budget(s), and take the first steps toward measuring your department’s effectiveness.

Without a comprehensive strategy, you won’t have clear goals or know if (or when) you’ve reached them. You also won’t have a full understanding of your organization’s value in the marketplace, your competitors' market shares, and the resources you have available.

Unless your strategy outlines goals, tactics, target audience, measures of success, and timeline, you’ll be creating marketing campaigns without the information you need to guide your way.

Building a balanced strategy between paid, earned, and owned channels
Understanding your market and consumers, their decision-making process and journey in making healthcare decisions is only the beginning of your marketing journey. The key to turning marketing investment into revenue for your healthcare organization is having a comprehensive, three-prong (paid, owned, earned) healthcare marketing strategy for reaching, engaging and converting more health consumers to loyal customers. Examining your marketing assets and communication channels and categorizing them as owned, earned, or paid media, can help you understand where to focus your efforts.

It seems earned and owned social media performance are at an all-time low as many marketers have focused primarily on paid channels. But in healthcare, this can be a big mistake! More and more consumers are looking to online reviews – essentially your earned media – to help them choose providers and healthcare brands. Plus, your owned media’s relevance and authority can help you rank higher in search.

The best results can be achieved when all three channels work together. Earned, paid, and owned media should be linked, overlapping in strategy and goals. When you can double-down on your owned media with effective paid campaigns and help boost your search rankings with quality earned media, your healthcare organization is more visible, trustworthy, and engaging online.

When documenting your healthcare marketing strategy, be sure to include:

  • Email campaigns 
  • Facebook campaigns (paid and organic)
  • Paid search campaigns
  • Traditional media (print, television, radio, billboards, etc.)
  • Event-related promotions (heart month, breast cancer awareness month, etc.)
  • Blogs, newsletters and other key content pieces
  • New landing pages
  • Goals by campaign, service line, month and year
  • Milestones by campaign, service line, month and year 
  • Resources needed (personnel, technology, etc.)

Tracking and measuring against your strategy and goals as you go along
Your healthcare marketing strategy doesn’t have to be set in stone. In fact, it should be flexible enough that you can make any necessary adjustments along the way.

To properly calculate the effectiveness of your strategy, your goals must be specific and measurable. They should be focused on very measurable elements such as expected increase in qualified leads, return on investment, revenue, or profitability. And every marketing tactic should have its own set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that all roll up to a larger set of metrics used to evaluate return on marketing investment or ROMI.

If you are promoting several service lines, procedures, and/or facilities, you should have individual goals for each. Whether you’re trying to gain more cardiology patients or reduce readmissions after surgeries, knowing how to achieve those goals and track progress as you go is essential.

For more tips on building an effective healthcare marketing strategy, download our Healthcare Digital Marketing Toolkit.