Marketing touchpoints: The stethoscope to your target audience
A doctor walks into a marketing agency. The marketer asks what brings them in today and if there are any pain points in their current marketing strategy. The doctor proceeds to answer and says, “I feel constant pain in our website content strategy, lack of nutrition in our paid media, and a social media plan that hasn’t seen proper exercise in years.” Seeing the look of distress in the doctor’s eyes, the marketer answers back with a calm and steady tone and says, “A touchpoint a day will keep the marketing heartburn away.”
Let me remove the tongue from my cheek and allow you to recover from a corny marketing joke. The point is, we’ve all walked into a doctor’s office at some point, either as a patient or as a medical practitioner. It can be a frightening experience to get professional advice on a topic you know very little about. I often see the same timid look when a new client steps into my office. So to the doctors and medical workers out there who want to succeed in digital marketing, I know that a breakthrough is closer and more accessible than it may sound. And it will only hurt a little … at first.
Credit source: giphy.com
End bad medical marketing practices
Let’s take an assessment. You’re probably reading this because you’re frustrated with your marketing strategy. You aren’t seeing the results you want and don’t have time to learn how to interpret the data you’re tracking. (If you’re not tracking; don’t worry, we’ll talk about that later.) Beyond that, your competitors seem to be getting the better of you in the digital marketplace. These are all symptoms, but the greater need is to see your bottom line increase. You may not want to hear it, but the cure is a smart marketing strategy. “But Josh, I’ve paid ‘experts’ to get my brand noticed and nothing ever happened.” We’ve heard that before and we’ll hear it again. The truth is, just like any medication, it takes communication and a skilled professional to prescribe the right antidote.
Strong marketing begins and ends with message strategy
Think about the last time a website stood out to you. What made it a great experience? Did it simply look nice with clear graphics and text? Was the information easy to read and located where you expected? Maybe the call-to-action (CTA) buttons were smart with intriguing language and strong color. Now think of a website that was boring, vague, and frankly ugly. You landed there expecting an answer to a question, directions to their office, or to learn more info about a topic.
The difference-maker has everything to do with message strategy. The strength of your message lives in your images, page/site layout, user flow, keyword positioning, and of course your content. But these all must work together. This is where many marketers get it wrong. Designers want a pretty website, UI/UX specialists want enticing CTAs, SEOs want specific keywords, and writers want juicy content. The lesson here is that all these components don’t naturally come together. Without a cohesive message strategy, users are left confused, frustrated, and let down. And we’ve only touched on your website. The same is true about social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.
The biological marketing diagram
Over the course of a year, I see my dentist, general health care practitioner, chiropractor, and even a massage therapist every now and again. It is a fact that I cannot perform any of the methods used by these doctors/therapists on myself. For one, I’m not trained, and two, I don’t have the tools to even attempt this type of care. I did, however, ask my friend to crack my back last week (I am now in even more pain). When it comes to marketing, not cracking backs, Counterpart provides an important method of strategy. We call ourselves the Message Strategy Experts® because we have dedicated our entire suite of services around this cohesive marketing work. Every day we help those who feel lost in the marketing hustle. So we created something just for our friends in the health care industry. We call it the biological marketing diagram.
The central nervous system: Your website, SEO, and the Google algorithm
At Counterpart, we say that your website, at its most basic form, is your digital business card. It’s the place where your customer learns who you are, what you do, and how you provide solutions to their problems. Your website acts as the central nervous system to your digital strategy. A healthy website determines the functional growth of your online brand. Whether you’re investing in an advertising campaign, social media presence, or organic (search engine) strategy, your website is the bottom line in the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Basically, everything runs through your website. And just like our central nervous system, the website sends out messages in an extremely efficient way. But first … a health check.
The first priority when assessing a healthy website is a simple diagnostic check. Is your site set up with a secure HTTPS status so pesky hackers don’t infiltrate your digital domain? Are you targeting the right audience through your content? You may be surprised, but a lot of “nice to look at” websites are missing vital solution-oriented copy that speaks directly to the user’s needs.
And it’s not enough just to have keyword-rich content; each webpage needs a strategic user flow to guide visitors from landing page to final destination. This is where a contact page and unique calls-to-action come into play. Google’s everchanging ranking algorithm is designed to favor sites that ultimately help the user complete an action. That action may be answering a question through helpful copy; learning more about a topic; or ideally, reaching out to YOU to meet a need.
The fun, geeky part of it is that you can track all of this and more through a free tool called Google Analytics. All you need is a Google account and a keen eye for metrics. Don’t fret! We’ve got special goggles to sift through the data and get you set up.
Credit source: giphy.com
The eyes, ears, and mouth: Your social media strategy
So if your website is the central nervous system of your digital brand, your social media strategy acts as the eyes, ears, and mouth of your “digital body.” Whether you’re on a social media platform or not, let us be the first (or last) to tell you that social platforms are the perfect digital medium to listen, discuss, and share messages within a community. And, spoiler alert, you can engage that community anytime and on many unique platforms. You can quite literally put your digital ear to a community of users who want and need your services, see how they are engaging, listen to their needs, and speak out about how your services can help them. So just as the website sends messages, social media is the best way to listen to the messages from your customers.
LinkedIn, for example, is the perfect place to build your brand in the B2B (business-to-business) community. Are you an internist who works with other specialists neighboring your industry? LinkedIn is the medium to add to the conversation, connect, and gain new partnerships. Maybe you’re a psychiatrist who helps patients dealing with mental illness. Guess what? There’s a platform for that. Multiple, actually!
Advertising on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter reaches a broader B2C (business-to-consumer) audience who may need your expertise. Each social media company has vast databases to help you target a community who may not know they need your help. Not ready to advertise? Develop a posting schedule that fits your budget and availability. We recommend posting regularly as opposed to often. Can you only post once a month? Do it! Your audience is smart and will understand when you go silent.
Credit source: giphy.com
The hands and arms: Email marketing
Who said email was dead? No one likes spammy emails delivered to their inbox every other day from a brand they don’t engage with. However, email still has a place in contemporary digital marketing. Health is in the top three most popular search categories, after food and getting directions. Why? Because if they don’t know what’s causing a symptom or they have a question about the most recent COVID-19 variant, users go straight to Google. Email, on the other hand, can bring the value of Google straight to people’s digital doorstep. And you can quite easily hold out your digital hand and offer helpful information, reminders, and tips to a vast community who can benefit. Email is where you get to reach out with ongoing messages to people who already know who you are. Don’t discount the power this gives you.
Let’s use a general health care practitioner as an example. Legally, you’re allowed to send emails only to people who have signed up to receive them from you. I can see you’re already thinking about how to incorporate an email signup call-to-action on your website. I’m so proud of you! Okay, back to the example. COVID-19 has struck fear, doubt, and confusion into the minds of many over recent years. It’s a hot topic and something to take seriously. Anyone who has signed up to your email list views you as a trusted source. So getting a simple checklist from you about ways to stay safe and healthy would have a greater impact than Googling information from unknown sources. The metaphor of extending your hand to give aid works perfectly here. Now, pandemic-related news is obviously a heavy subject. But you can also send out quarterly updates about upcoming holidays and closings, new hires, health tips, and so much more. Keep emails to a minimum so you don’t overwhelm your audience; typically once per month is a frequently as we recommend. I think you get it.
Your marketing prescription
This diagram should act as a reference point. We aren’t outlining a message strategy for you here, but our goal is to help you see that success in marketing can happen for you too. Whether you run marketing projects in-house or use an agency, it’s important to understand your message. We’re here to help you on that journey. Let’s put your best digital foot forward! The exact marketing prescription you need is waiting right behind our door. We’re open and ready to talk about your digital pain points. We’d love to set up an appointment with you, but only when you’re ready. In the meantime, check out our other tips and tricks on how to be your best brand on and offline. We thank you for being part of the health care industry. And if these brief tips are our only touchpoint, we hope you and your customers benefit from what you learned thus far.