Your goal is to improve both quality and efficiency in care, yet your healthcare information technology (HIT) business isn’t growing at the clip you’d like — or maybe not at all. Or, maybe your business is growing, but the competition is growing faster and that worries you. Avoiding risk and sticking to the status quo can be a comforting approach, but it can have negative effects on your company’s growth.
Generating and nurturing inbound leads (and later, educating and retaining clients) requires that you execute extensive marketing strategies, carefully measure the results, and reiterate your process over and over and over again. Stale strategies lead to stale results; an iterative process can help you avoid missed growth opportunities or poor reviews from customers.
In this post, I’ll start with an outline of recent healthcare technology regulations before sharing six compelling strategies that can help you grow your inbound lead pool, acquire more clients, and gain a competitive advantage.
A brief history
The HIT industry has steadily grown over the last couple of decades (the industry’s market size of $188B in 2019 is projected to surge to $391B by 2024). Unsurprisingly, this matches the upward linear growth trajectory of healthcare occupations (projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028). Recent and future legislature will continue to fuel this growth.
- 2009: Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) under Title XIII of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARAA). President Obama encouraged US healthcare practices to adopt electronic health records, offering a federal economic incentive to those that complied.
- 2019: The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) distinguished remote patient monitoring as a separate billable service, then later expanded the reimbursement plateau to increase opportunities for mobile health and telehealth solutions.
- 2020: The Trump administration announced an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act and National Emergencies Act, enabling the CMS to pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Why are telehealth services so likely to be an industry disruptor? To start, they are a friction reducer; telehealth options provide access to the best doctors from the comfort of a patient’s own home. Pair that up with the younger generation’s growing dissatisfaction with traditional healthcare services, and my guess is that this will become the new normal.
How do I market my healthcare technology?
I. Create buyer personas to address your buyers’ pain points.
Healthcare organizations vary dramatically, and thus, buying committees, capabilities, and processes differ across organizations. It’s not uncommon for smaller organizations to have players with greater buyer capabilities and a more general focus, as opposed to larger organizations having players with weaker buyer capabilities and a more narrow focus on certain aspects of the business.
Large organizations can be especially difficult to navigate due to the intricacies of their buyer collectives. These collectives/committees are often disconnected by separate locations and departments, which can create a lack of communication and collaboration across the organization — and a potential roadblock for your business.
Given that the average HIT purchase process is made up around nine different individuals, it’s never been more important to develop customer personas to ensure your marketing efforts truly resonate with each player in the process. Consider these questions when developing customer personas:
- What’s their pain point, and why solve it now?
- How will they measure the success of your solution?
- What are their objections to your offering and why might they think that the competition is better suited to address their needs?
- What are the factors of their decision matrix in choosing a solution?
- Where throughout their buyers' journey do they go for resources and information?
It’s important to recognize that buyer personas are never fully complete. As a digital marketer you are a data collector and experimenter, so routinely investigate and produce insights from your data. Determine whether you are reaching and engaging your audience, and make sure to adapt accordingly.
II. Curate valuable content to create thought leadership, and to educate and convert prospects.
Nine out of 10 healthcare decision makers report difficulty finding the content they need to make informed technology decisions, with the majority seeking healthcare industry perspective content, information from trusted sources, and case studies/use cases. Start by mapping top-, middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel content for the various buyer personas you created. (Bonafide’s content mapping template can help you begin.) Which questions are your ideal customers asking? Answer and publish them online! Long-tail keyword searches are more focused and can help drive prospects who are further in their buyer journeys to your product or service.
Think about your website as a book. The collection of content on your website (blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, and webpages) are chapters in your book. If individual topics get dedicated chapters, these topics become easier to navigate through your table of contents. Similarly, Google has an easier time indexing your company for keywords/topics (chapters) as you build out your table of contents. The more chapters you have on a given topic, the more authority and trust your domain gains as a reputable source for these topics. It’s a compounding effect that makes it easier for prospects to find you and increases lead generation for your business. So, while Google can’t index our brains yet, creating SEO-optimized blog posts and a library of content is key to scaling.
In addition to improving your search engine rankings, premium content such as eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, and research studies can be a powerful lead generation tool. You can gate your content behind a sign-up form to encourage a conversion. Most prospects are willing to share their work email for quality content. Voila! You now have leads to nurture and for your sales team to follow up with.
III. Host webinars and create training videos.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak means HIMSS20 and other trade shows have been cancelled this year. While this may have been a great avenue to share your new product developments, raise brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately increase revenue, it’s not your only avenue. Try to dissect the experience that you were set to create at the trade show. Was it a business assessment? A demo? Whatever your goal, webinars are a great medium to educate prospects virtually. Develop a comprehensive campaign around the business offer you want to promote, including a landing page, pillar page, and subtopic pages around it. Once you’ve collected email addresses from webinar attendees, you can create a trade show-specific email nurturing sequence to continue to engage them, and then subsequently incorporate them into your broader inbound market strategy.
Webinars are also a good opportunity to connect with your current clients who may be seeking support and/or training with your product, while also giving them an opportunity to connect with their fellow user community. Increase client engagement to increase the customer lifetime value.
IV. Find watering holes where your buyer personas consume information.
We live in an omnichannel world. The decision-making process is non-linear; the more mediums you use to present your brand to your ideal clients, the stickier your brand will be. If you do proper buyer persona research, then you can identify which mediums of content your buyers consume and where. Consider doing a guest blog for other healthcare or technology blogs. This is important because your content will reach new audiences and increase organic visibility by creating backlinks to your site. Backlinks are underappreciated gold in SEO. In a nutshell, when reputable sites link back to your site, Google increases your domain authority and ranks your site higher because it recognizes that you are an “expert” on certain keywords and/or topics.
V. Ask for reviews, seek referrals, get testimonials from users, and create a trust strip.
People trust reviews. Whether it’s looking for the best tacos in town or selecting a revenue cycle management platform to track patient care to the complete payment of balance, the organizations you want to work with check your reputation online. Sites like Capterra, KLAS Research, and even Glassdoor can reveal a lot about your company. (With regard to Glassdoor, the way your employees perceive your company is a big teller of the type of organization and culture you foster, and whether it’s a fit for the clients you’re trying to obtain.) With sites like Capterra and Glassdoor, organizations can be proactive in asking for reviews. Companies like KLAS Research are a tad bit trickier, as they ask vendors for a list of their clients and reach out to a randomized handful of customers. With this approach, it can be important to educate your clients on the importance of these directories and how significant positive feedback can be for your organization. The key here is communication with your clients.
Asking for a review is beneficial in two ways. First, you gain valuable feedback and are given the opportunity to resolve any issues that you may have been unaware of. Second, you can get praise for your product and/or services. This positive feedback can lead to testimonials for your site and make for good repurposed content for your social media channels. Your best clients will become your biggest champions. With their permission, proudly share their logo on your webpage to showcase your successes and increase your brand strength.
VI. Link internally.
Imagine you are on your phone searching “the benefits of telehealth.” You find and read a blog post, then click back up on that search bar and continue your research by searching “does insurance cover behavioral health telehealth,” finding and consuming another blog post from another site on “how to prepare for a telehealth appointment.” Maybe your company offers answers to all these questions, but if you do not encourage users to explore your site more, then don’t expect them to. That’s one reason why it’s important to link internally; cohesive sites promote increased engagement by prospects and encourage them to take actions to convert them into leads.
Additionally, internal linking creates a hierarchy of your site and gives Google an idea of how to rank individual pages accordingly. As Google crawls your page, cohesiveness and site structure must be SEO-friendly to encourage Google to give you appropriate link value for well-structured content.
Whether you are new to the market or an established firm, you need to be proactive in your marketing efforts to stay ahead of the competition. We’ve only scraped the surface with some techniques in this post, but hopefully they spur your creativity as part of your wide-reaching inbound marketing growth plan.
Knowing your buyers, creating content for these buyers where they can find it, building trust, and encouraging them to take action to become a lead will give you the competitive edge you seek
NEED HELP MARKETING YOUR HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY?
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