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8 Marketing Tips from Leading Healthcare Organizations

What strategies set healthcare marketing innovators apart from the pack — and how can you put them to work to reach your organization's goals?

Our Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends Survey, now in its 12th edition since 2005, provides a snapshot of how healthcare organizations across the United States manage their marketing programs in the face of new technology, updated regulations, and changing consumer desires. 

As with any trend, our survey recognizes there are some organizations that find it challenging, for various reasons, to adopt the latest and greatest in marketing tactics. 

On the other hand, some respondents adapt to new trends and technology quickly, investing in them early on and using them to their advantage as soon as possible. 

We funnel these early adopters and self-identified marketing trend-setters into our Leaders category, the organizations paving the way for what will become commonplace in healthcare marketing in the coming years. 

Aside from their self-reported scores, what sets Leader organizations apart from their Average and Laggard counterparts? And, perhaps more importantly, how can you leverage their prowess to find marketing success at your organization? 

In this article, we dive into the strategies that take the teams in our Leaders category to the next level, and how you can put them to work to reach your own goals.  

What’s holding healthcare organizations back? 

Before we dig into the trends and tips demonstrated by our Leader organizations, let’s recognize the hurdles that often hold the Average and Laggard groups back. These include: 

  • Shrinking or shifting budgets 
  • Ongoing staffing challenges 
  • Digital platform capabilities 
  • Other organizational barriers 

If your marketing efforts are hampered by one or more of these factors, don’t worry —Leader organizations didn’t get where they are overnight. It takes time to build a robust marketing strategy that delivers the results you’re looking for.  

Even if you can start putting one or two of these tips into practiceyou’re taking the first steps on your journey to healthcare marketing success. Here are a few of the things Leader organizations prioritize, and how you can start implenting them at your organization: 

1. Invest in digital media

As you probably could guess, our Leader organizations invest a great deal more in their digital marketing efforts than organizations in the Average or Laggard category — Leaders invested $1.8 million in digital media, per our survey results. 

But it isn’t just a matter of having more money in your marketing budget. Leader organizations allocate a larger portion of their budget to digital marketing initiatives. Organizations in our Laggard category spent just one-third of their budget on digital media initiatives, compared to Leader organizations, which put nearly half of their budget toward digital media. 

What does this mean for you? Regardless of your organization’s size (or your marketing budget), investing in digital over traditional media is the right choice. Our Leaders reported spending 37% more on digital initiatives today than they did in 2021, so if you’ve been waiting for a sign to start focusing more of your marketing budget on digital, this is it.  

By our next survey, your organization may be one of our Leaders enjoying the benefits of digital media, such as: 

  • Adapting and adjusting your marketing program quickly 
  •  Reaching a wider audience 
  • Targeting your audience by demographic 
  • Increasing patient, employee, and job candidate engagement 
  • Reducing conversion costs 
  • Generating easily measurable results 

By emphasizing digital media, you can reach your audience where they’re most often looking for information: online. 

2. Establish a multichannel presence

More than 90% of our Leader organizations reported that they’re at least somewhat satisfied with their ability to create and manage content across multiple channels, including web, social media and email.  

Across all three categories, at least 20% of organizations we surveyed feel very satisfied with their multichannel results, which is a positive sign that putting the time and effort into a multichannel presence is worth it no matter where your organization is on its marketing journey. 

By creating and distributing content through a variety of digital channels, you can reach new audiences of prospective patients and employees you may not have been able to connect with before.  

If you’re looking for a low-stakes place to start, our Leaders responded that they especially feel good about their social media programs. Posting more regularly on social media or being more strategic with the type of content you post will give you an easy and low-cost way to communicate updates about your organization, answer patients’ questions, and tell your story through images, infographics and video. 

Which brings us to another area where our Leaders report feeling confident 

3. Tell your story through video

Our survey results showed that video production is gaining momentum in the healthcare industry — and our Leader organizations are at the forefront of this cinematic surge. 

Video is an engaging, dynamic way to provide information to people visiting your site and tell your story visually instead of just relying on content. Whether you’re sharing patient stories, employee spotlights, a welcome message, a facility tour, or other video content, investing in some video production is a fantastic way to take your content marketing to the next level.  

4. Connect through social media

Our Leader organizations also reported feeling positive about their social media programs’ performance.  

If you’re not regularly updating your social media pages, you’re missing out on a key opportunity to foster communication between your organization and patients, visitors, and prospective employees. Not only does social media offer you a direct channel to interact with your consumers, but it also provides another platform where you can share blog posts, company news, videos and more. 

5. Keep your website current and fresh

A robust content marketing program isn’t worth much without a visually engaging, easy-to-navigate website to go along with it. 

This year’s installment of our survey saw overall interest in website redesigns on the rise after a few years of web efforts stalling out while healthcare organizations grappled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Organizations in our Leader category, as you might expect, feel less pressure to redesign their sites now since they either recently completed a redesign (23.1%) or are content with their website performance for the time being (48.7%).  

When it comes to the platform their website is built on, Leaders were also most likely to have recently re-platformed (17.9%), compared to just 5.1% of Laggards..  

If you’re one of the organizations that put web design and platform updates on hold due to cost or staffing restraints caused by the pandemic, it’s possible you’re still not quite at the point where you can launch a full website redesign and platform update.  

If that’s the case, there are some initiatives you can pursue (depending on the capabilities of your platform) to help make your website more engaging and accessible without the cost of a full redesign and re-platforming: 

  • Mobile apps: Our Leaders are either creating mobile apps in-house or outsourcing the creation of apps that provide another way to guide patients and visitors to the information they’re looking for. While custom apps aren’t typically high on our non-Leaders’ list of marketing priorities, those organizations that can afford them see tremendous value for consumers. 
  • Health content: Take a page from our Leaders’ playbook and make your website’s blog or content section a go-to source for wellness information and brand journalism catering to current and prospective patients alike
  • CRM: One way our Leaders are making the most of their marketing dollars while addressing recent HIPAA constraints is by optimizing their customer relationship management (CRM) software and automation to focus on strengthening relationships with existing customers. 
  • Communication features: Having an online chat, call center integration, and online care navigation to help visitors find what they’re looking for are website features we saw gain a ton of momentum in this year’s survey results. 
  • Single Sign-On: SSO is another “nice-to-have” feature that requires ongoing maintenance and investment but can go a long way in creating secure digital experiences for patients. 

By introducing these features to your website, you can ensure it stays a valuable tool for your audience without diving into a full redesign. 

6. Create personalized experiences

Thirty-seven percent of our Leader organizations have implemented a web personalization program to create custom experiences for consumersThat’s compared to just 10% of Average organizations, and 0% of Laggard organizations. 

If your organization hasn’t pursued any sort of personalization program before, now is the time.Personalizing your visitors’ web experiences can provide an incredible return on investment, helping patients make more informed health decisions, strengthening your brand loyalty, and improving consumer satisfaction. 

7. Be strategic with your staffing

Staffing is another area hit hard by the pandemic, especially for smaller organizations where the resources to employ a full marketing staff justaren’t there. 

Our survey results found that Leader organizations employ twice as many digital marketing professionals as their Average counterparts and two and a half as many as Laggard organizations. 

If you don’t have the resources for full-time employees, outsourcing is another option that can help you stretch your marketing dollars a bit further. Our Leader respondents outsource 10% more than Laggards and use that outsourced labor to help fill in the gaps for projects like developing mobile apps, web hosting, and search engine optimization.  

8. Measure your results

No matter where you are on your digital marketing journey, perhaps the most crucial piece of advice we can give is to track analytics to help you demonstrate the success of our efforts. 

Our results found that Leaders are typically better at showing the outcomes of their efforts across the goals tracked in the survey compared to their Average and Laggard counterparts.  

For more information, check out our post on the role digital analytics plays in healthcare marketing. 


Want to see what else our Leader organizations are doing to set themselves apart?

Check out our full 2024 Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends Survey eBook for more Leader insights and full results from this year’s survey. 


Need an expert partner on your healthcare marketing journey?

If you’re ready to begin your journey to become a healthcare marketing Leader but need help figuring out where to start, Geonetric is here to help. Our team has 25 years of experience helping healthcare organizations like yours innovate and evolve their marketing programs to respond to changes in regulations, technology, and consumer preferences. 

Geonetric has helped healthcare organizations across the country launch more than 500 websites and intranets and transform their content marketing programs to generate more conversions and strengthen patient connections. Contact us today to get started! 

8 Marketing Tips from Leading Healthcare Organizations