Analyzing brand strength and marketing strategy can lead to new insights and an enhanced patient experience
Marketers who started out in the early years of radiology marketing like I did know the customer has changed. Depending on the structure of your practice, whether outpatient or hospital-based, there is a possibility of multiple external and internal audiences. To target those audiences, there are marketing strategies that will never go out of style, and now more than ever, a deep well of mediums and methods to communicate your message. The use of social media, search engines, tools to cater to mobile users, and video should be at the top of your list. What you do with those tools will be the difference between a mid-level marketer mindset and a game changer.
A Balanced Marketing Mix
Relationship marketing and peer-to-peer marketing are timeless marketing strategies. Take action by blending these solid strategies with a mix of new and refreshed marketing mediums. To do this, you need an understanding of where your physicians and patients begin their journey with your brand. This journey is no longer well defined like the stages of the all-too-familiar marketing funnel; rather they are wavy lines, side steps and backward loops. This is an opportunity to escape from traditional marketing and discover ways to approach the customer from multiple angles and learn what you can do in your marketplace that will be different from others.
Prepare to strengthen your brand by improving your website design and content, write and distribute press releases, start blogging regularly, strike up a two-way conversation with social media, carryover campaign messages and graphics to social media and try new advertising platforms for greater reach. Sticking with content marketing and PR efforts until you are heard will result in positive, organic search engine rankings.
Begin with your website. It must contain relevant, informational content and be responsive (mobile device friendly) so that your audience can easily engage with your content on the go. Your goal is to drive the traffic from other mediums back to your website where your target audience can get the information they need and want.
Maintain an active presence on social media. Your target audience will be looking for your brand on social platforms and a conversation will be taking place in the social sphere whether you are there or not, so it’s best to participate. Create and curate content that shapes positive impressions with your audience. Your goal is to create brand advocates.
Search engines like Google demonstrate an appreciation for fresh, active content. Write blogs or case studies, post testimonials online, and produce videos of your patient’s success stories or get your physicians involved to create videos that highlight their specialties. These types of content will be more likely to be indexed higher in search engines and will build credibility and establish your group as subject-matter experts in your marketplace.
Rapidly increase exposure and drive traffic to your website with pay-per-click or social media advertising. Online paid ads for everything from pulling a targeted audience to a blog, increasing social media followers and awareness of and getting appointments scheduled for new services, can be very successful.
The Voice of the Customer
Customers are looking for meaningful benefits: a tangible reason why your services will create a positive and lasting impression from their experience. One of the most powerful sources of information is to champion the voice of the customer and share customer insights and stories through content marketing. Your current and potential customers have specific needs and interests. You must understand who they are, where they are, and where and how they source information. Creating buyer personas, analyzing trends, and social listening will help you gather the information you need to produce meaningful content. Through these efforts you can increase credibility and cultivate an environment of trust around your brand. The more your customer trusts you to supply the information they need, the more likely they are to become brand advocates and help to establish your business as a market leader.
Creating Brand Advocates
Patient experience begins long before the patient steps foot into the imaging facility. As we’ve learned to transition from focusing only on the referring provider to evolving the entire patient encounter through clinical, operational and cultural transformation, we create a positive patient experience. How we do this is to uphold the brand promise, believe in consumer-centered transparency, develop service recovery steps, and understand that the totality of the patient experience is more than simply patient satisfaction scores.
Through inbound marketing – another name for content marketing, which is the opposite of paid advertising, your practice can create ongoing relationships with your patients and become remarkable – worthy of being remarked upon. When your business provides a positive experience to a patient, they are positioned to become your advocate and spread the story of their experience, digitally, on your behalf. People who are willing to tout your brand have access to more people in their own social sphere than you would be able to reach even with thousands of dollars in advertising. This is remarkable.
Innovate and Collaborate
With the surplus of marketing channels, opportunities and activities at your fingertips, innovation has never been easier because there is always something new to try. However, it is impossible for a marketing leader to be an expert in every area. That’s where collaboration comes in. Working alongside other marketing team members, staff that work directly with customers, and other department heads, can help to create a marketing strategy that is customer centric and revenue accountable.
It’s an exciting time to be in radiology marketing. Through focus and leadership, a marketer has the tools to be strategic and lead the organization through strategic decisions such as where to invest and how to succeed.
Kim Kelley, FRBMA, is the principal and creative director of Ali`i Marketing & Design. She has worked in marketing, advertising, graphic design and social media for over 20 years. She is a fellow of the RBMA and is the recipient of the Special Recognition Award for her work in rebranding the RBMA. Kim can be reached at (970) 800-3678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column was made possible by a partnership between ADVANCE and RBMA. For more information on RBMA, call 888.224.7262 or visit www.RBMA.org.