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Healthcare Marketing in the Midst of COVID: Moving from Panic to Pro-action

How are you communicating with your patients throughout COVID-19? Meet them where they are with a multichannel approach.


If we have learned anything during this pandemic, it is that online marketing channels are key to driving critical communications and marketing success. As we shift from panic mode to our new normal, healthcare marketers are working to shift their tactics to be more proactive, and swiftly adjusting their communication plans, marketing strategies and multichannel campaigns, while exploring and adding additional channels to further their reach. They are also adjusting tactics critical to healthcare marketing, such as in-person events.

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how patients and consumers are interacting with your healthcare brand. From tele-health services, social channels, sharing the most up-to-date check-in policies, to online events and more, patient interaction is moving online or at least, away from in person. To ensure a successful future, healthcare marketers should consider increasing, and shifting, their marketing focus to a multichannel strategy.

Research supports this strategy, showing that an integrated multichannel marketing program can deliver revenue uplift of 15-35%. And though the initial reaction by marketers was to freeze, or greatly reduce, their marketing spend – with upwards of 90 percent of marketers are delaying or reviewing their marketing budgets due to COVID-19 – this is an opportunity to build loyalty and trust with potential patients. And historically, cutting marketing budgets during any crisis has been a strategic failure for some very well-known brands.

Here are 4 tips on how to shift your marketing plan to a localized, multichannel approach:

1. Increase brand presence with digital marketing. Google reports that search ads can boost brand awareness by as much as 80 percent, making consumers more likely to remember your brand and interact. With consumers spending more time online during COVID, shift dollars to digital marketing (PPC, SEM, Display Ads, Retargeting, etc.) to drive brand awareness and promote new services. You can also proactively add negative keywords such as “COVID-19” or “coronavirus” so that your brand will not show up when people search for these topics.


2. Don’t forget about social.
Facebook and Instagram ads are affordable, easy to create, and allow for your ads to be targeted to specific audiences to increase awareness and boost traffic. It is a critical component of a multichannel campaign, as social media is the most relevant advertising channel for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials. Healthcare is highly personal, and social media allows you to connect with target audiences to build trust, loyalty, and relationships.

Leverage your social channels not only to share marketing communications but also to engage with your community, provide expert (but general) advice to build trust, communicate new policies and procedures, and more. The more engaging the content, the more engaged your prospective patients will be. If your organization is leveraging social channels, it is important to have someone monitoring reviews (learn more about reputation management here).

3. Shift in-person events online or to video. With COVID making events (nearly) impossible to hold, leverage technology to meet your consumers online. Lunch & Learn type events can shift online to video conferences, and in-person tours — popular for assisted care facilities — can move to video tours. To simplify the process for accessing video calls or tours, create and store patient access instructions and video links in a centralized place for easy access for staff – which can then be shared with patients/prospects.


4.
Leverage lower-cost options like targeted direct mail or EDDM®. According to a Gallup poll, 41% of Americans (of all ages), look forward to checking their mail each day. And looking at effectiveness, response rates for direct mail are 9x higher than that of email (Data & Marketing Association). Turn-key solutions, such as direct mail and EDDM, allow you to get your messages to every household — fast and affordably. They are low cost, effective channels to reach new patients – reinforcing brand awareness while providing relevant information such as a map, hours, new services, or more. While EDDM is the most cost-effective, it works best to promote general healthcare services with mass appeal – such as a PCP (primary care physician) services.

For healthcare organizations that are more specialty driven – such as assisted living facilities or orthopedics – direct mail with list rental capabilities will be better aligned to help you achieve your marketing goals by targeting specific personas and addresses with personalized, variable messaging.

Stand out from the (socially-distant) crowd

To be successful, healthcare organizations need to stand out in all of the channels where patients go to find care. And with COVID affecting in-person marketing strategies, testing new channels is critical to success. Let OneTouchPoint’s team of experts help you bridge digital and offline strategies, build loyalty and trust with target audiences through marketing, communications, consistent messaging, and branding - all while helping you get to market quickly and efficiently.

Learn more here about how OneTouchPoint is here to help support the healthcare industry adapt to the ever-changing patient journey with beautifully-produced marketing materials and programs, delivered efficiently and effectively in our end-to-end services guide