6 Steps to a Strong Health Tech Digital Marketing Strategy
Far too often, digital health marketing becomes a spray and pray strategy. Targeting content to the right people at the right time to guide them through your marketing funnel takes time and effort, and when you’re wearing all the marketing hats, it feels overwhelming.
However, if you’re just throwing content out there and hoping it sticks, you’re not going to get the results that you could. At your next board meeting, the board may say “what the fork!?” and direct your marketing budget to efforts they think will get the results they want.
It’s time to stop putting out marketing content that no one is reading and acting on and start optimizing your content to nurture prospects to the decision stage. To do that, you’ve got to slow down to speed up. Here are the six steps you need to take to build a results-driven marketing strategy.
1. Talk to your customers
Whether you’re a HIT startup that’s still in beta testing or whether you’ve already landed satisfied customers, you need to learn from your buyer.
Depending on your product or service, you could approach this a few different ways. For B2C digital health tech companies , connecting with existing patient communities can help you build relationships and learn from your customers.
If you’re a B2B company, you may need to focus on communicating with multiple levels of health care hierarchy. For instance, depending on your product, you may need to talk with a few department heads, physicians, or even the head of decision-making boards.
At this point, the goal isn’t to sell. You’re simply trying to develop relationships with your audience to learn from them so you can better serve them.
2. Create a hypothesis based on your knowledge of your customer
Every health tech marketing strategy needs a starting point. Even though your initial hypothesis may need to morph, it at least gives you a foundation to build on.
This hypothesis serves as the initial draft of your value proposition. In other words, what makes you important (or should I say, vital) to your customer. The next phase will help your value proposition develop beyond a hypothesis.
3. Research your competitors
While there may be similarities between you and your competitors, you need to develop a distinguishing message - one that sets you apart in a good way.
Let me rabbit trail here for a minute to mention a common pitfall I’ve seen. That phrase that seems cutting edge to you? It may actually be a cliche that all your competitors are using. For instance, everyone is using the term patient engagement right now. Even if that’s what you do, find a different way to say it, otherwise you’ll be selling under the shadow of more established players who have already been there, done that.
This is why you need to research your competitors. Ask yourself these questions as you analyze their marketing approach:
What do we do differently than our competitors?
How do we uniquely solve customers’ pain points?
How can we show customers that we understand them better than anyone else?
What words and phrases do our competitors use that we need to stay away from?
Is our value proposition only a slightly different version of theirs?
4. Create a content tree
Your value proposition or core marketing message is like the trunk of your marketing tree. Everything centers around and supports this message. Each piece of content you create should funnel back to the value you provide and the problem you solve.
Pillars to guide your content creation
Your core marketing message will be supported by the outcomes you achieve for your customers. Think of 3-5 main outcomes or categories of outcomes that help your customer solve their problem. These outcomes are your content pillars.
Add topics that support your pillars
Your pillars create the safe swim zones for every piece of content you create. Each topic should align with one of your pillars to help funnel your audience back to your core marketing message.
Here’s an example of what your content tree could look like:
The next step is mapping your content into your buyer journey. I give you the steps to do that in my checklist 5 Steps You Need to Create Health Tech Content Pillars.
5. Determine your distribution channels
Before you release any of your content, you need to have a plan about where to release it. Here are some key things to ask yourself when determining the best channels for your content:
What influences my audience?
Who influences my audience?
What channels would increase our credibility?
What platforms have the highest concentrated volume of potential buyers?
Depending on your niche in healthcare marketing, however, certain social media platforms work better than others.
For instance, if your target audience is transplant centers, transplant teams probably won’t lean on Instagram to stay informed about medical advancements. So determine which platforms are going to help you reach the right audience, and then focus your efforts on those specific channels.
Owned content is a relatively simple way to establish credibility and build a following.
Owned content is content on platforms that you own, like your website and blog. It gives you an opportunity to help customers with their problem while also developing trust.
White papers are another form of owned content that can help establish your brand. In them, you can put forth the theory behind your tech solution and how it will improve healthcare in the long run.
Another opportunity to build brand awareness is through PR. Although this strategy may take more time in the long run, it has unique benefits that are hard to establish with other distribution channels.
What other channels give you backing from established sources vouching for your credibility?
Earned media does take time, though. You need to build and maintain strong relationships for a chance at PR opportunities. With a little patience, however, you can gain exposure through reliable sources, giving you attention and respect from your target audience.
Additionally, email campaigns give another opportunity to release your content in a friendly, helpful way. Brands are still able to etch their message into our memory through solid subject lines and consistent outreach.
This is why email should still be a part of most digital marketing strategies. It functions like a bookmark, drawing your audience back to you when they need you.
All the previous digital marketing channels have one thing in common… you’re the one reaching out to your customer. However, SEO turns marketing on its head. This channel helps customers find YOU.
The key is to optimize keywords in your blog content and website copy. That way when buyers conduct searches related to your product or services they’ll find you.
Tied into SEO is Search Engine Marketing. This is when you pay to have your ads put in front of people who search with certain keywords.
Unlike other marketing channels, you get to handpick your audience and hone your message. And while you might not be reaching millions at one time, you’ll be reaching the RIGHT ONES at the right time. The result? Better ROI for your paid ads.
6. Execute that strategy
Now that you’ve established your core message and your strategy, you’re ready to put your plan into action.
If publishing and releasing content is dependent on several people within your company, you’ll want to establish a workflow that’ll enable consistency. Develop a calendar that keeps you and any team members on the same page.
Ready to create a strategy that gets you the results your boss and board need to see?
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WHO IS WHITNEY?
Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.