It's hard to ignore the influence of digital marketing in this day and age. No industry is lagging behind in utilising this new age marketing technique and the health care industry is no exception. Adoption of digital marketing has already become widespread around healthcare industry globally and these strategies are being slowly welcomed into Bangladeshi landscape.
A big advantage of digital marketing is the fact that it is not only cheaper, but also a very effective mean of marketing. This makes using digital marketing strategies a no-brainer for the healthcare marketers. And social media is probably the easiest way to reach the mass. Social media presence can produce both negative and positive flair to your brand image depending how you use it. Therefore, organisations and individuals in this industry need to be extra cautious will bringing in new customers.
Interestingly, healthcare specialists have started to adopt the digital space for their own professional networking with LinkedIn. Patients, too, can now find the right kind of doctors for their own medical needs.
With a world on the web, consumers and patients can easily find the hospitals with the best facilities through Google. Patients rely on consumer reviews for international hospitals, health information sites, previously visited hospital sites, etc. They can also share their reviews of hospital services and standards on the internet. These opinions affect others around them, creating a ripple effect, affecting either negative or positively to the growth of the healthcare facility.
This state of transparency leaves health care marketers and professionals with an obligation to create trustworthy, practical and educational health-related content that could be shared across social media. This would be an authentic source of insight especially when dealing with a subject as sensitive as health. Traditional health care brands need to adopt digital tools and update their strategies through developing modern websites or with the use of new Customer Management Systems (CMS).
Marketers need to provide content that will help people make decisions quicker and in turn help themselves make their company more relevant. Often times, people associate the best hospital in their region as the one that comes up first on Google so it is important to share relatable and relevant content which piques the average consumers' interest.
It is however difficult to converge traditional marketing with digital marketing tools in the health care industry. Either no one understands the value of social media presence, or the importance of a well defined website comes up against higher-priority projects. But it is possible only if the total marketing budget of a company is well distributed and is in alignment with organisational goals.
Another thing to note is that most users go on the internet with the use of their smart phone. So digital marketing in health care must have a strong focus on the user experience on mobile. If the website is not suitably designed for mobile devices then people will automatically start doubting the hospital's ability to provide quality service. So when redesigning the website, marketers should consider the user experience, appeal, relevant information and overall look and feel.
Patients will always choose a hospital which offers the best service. It is now up to marketers to promote their health care brands in ways that the quality of service isn't only left to word of mouth dialogue but also properly conveyed over the internet.
The writer is Chief Marketing Officer at Bengal Group of Industry.