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How to Make the Most Out of Your Digital Investments

February 16, 2017
Digital, Health System, Healthcare, Marketing, Social Media

Healthcare as an industry has been slow to the table in harnessing the power of digital marketing. Oftentimes, health systems rush to have a presence in all channels to meet the organization’s needs without ensuring a comprehensive digital strategy is in place with the key elements of listening, measurement and customer-centric content creation. Having a plan for these three areas will allow for quicker analysis of your investment and provide you with facts and figures that your C-suite can relate to.

Listening Requires Active and Constant Monitoring

Listening to your customer is one of the key strategies every hospital needs to become and remain competitive in the healthcare space today. Listening with the intent of making changes for the betterment of your patient is what will help you set yourself apart from your competition and to become truly customer-centric.

The most common use of listening is in the social space as it is tied to reputation management. There are a plethora of excellent social media monitoring companies and tools on the market that provide a good base for your listening. Understanding the words that are used and the sentiment behind those words provide you with clues as to what are the pain points in the customer journey as well as the highpoints. However, it is important to remember that social is not your only space where listening should be utilized.

Your hospital website is a treasure-trove of valuable information and should be cultivated to provide complimentary information about your customer and their needs to that in the social space. Make sure you are allowing your customer to comment/communicate with you online. And once you provide that forum, determine what are you doing with the comments and inquiries from your website. Are they entered into a CRM platform where you can properly analyze trends and causes for concern? How often are you reviewing these and building an action plan accordingly? Are you monitoring bounce rates and time on page spent on the webpages and do they correlate with the type of information on that page?

For example, on the Directions page of your website, we’d expect to see a short time on page and a higher bounce rate – because users go there, get the information they need and leave (often without taking any further actions on the site, which is what causes a higher bounce rate). But if they are spending a large amount of time on that page perhaps it is confusing to the customer. Taking that insight into consideration, you might want to adjust the Directions page to serve the patient better to provide a link to a directions app on mobile (e.g., Google Maps) while offering an embedded version with printable directions for desktop users.

Conversely, if your cancer program page has a 10 second time on page and high bounce rate then perhaps your page needs a deeper analysis.  Ask the question, “Is this the right type of information on that page?” And if so, is it quickly accessible? Are the key facts that you know that are important to a cancer patient prominent and written to appeal to their needs?

Understanding what the purpose of each of your pages is and assigning a preferred length of time on page and/or bounce rate will help you refine content to meet the needs of your customer. And if you are not sure of what the cancer patient is looking for – ask them. Understanding those needs allows you to not only tweak your website but to inform your overall content creation portion of your strategy as well.

Measurement Needs to be Comprehensive and Purposeful

The approach to building a digital strategy must start with what do you want to measure as success. The ideal is where the needs of the business meets the needs of the customer. Then build your metrics from there and approach your strategy in ways you will have an omni-channel approach to meeting those goals. What are the goals for your digital strategy? Have you identified what you and your executives would deem as success for the investment you have allocated? How will each of your goals be measured in the digital space across the various channels? How often will you be measuring and reporting out on your key metrics? Are you categorizing your metrics by target audience?

Measurement is always made easier when you have a solid CRM foundation. Ownership and accountability of not only the metrics and reporting needs to be established early on but the most important aspect of measurement is what will you do with that information. Ideally you are taking the listening and the metrics and shaping your fluid action plan for next steps in your digital strategy.

A huge component of that digital strategy action plan will be shaping your content plan on your website, as well as sponsored content and in the social space.

Impactful Content Creation Puts the Customer First, Organization Second

Now that you have a clear understanding of what the customer’s needs and patterns are its time to develop your content creation plan. Identifying your approach for utilizing every tactic takes time and intentionality with those success metrics in mind. If you start with generalizations in content and assigning that to target audiences by demographics or ethnographic data, you are only scratching the surface. Utilizing various tools, you can adjust your content to go deeper to meet your market specific needs and then tailor that content and message for each delivery method, whether videos, infographics, listicles, quizzes or interactive stories. The more you measure what content is appealing to whom and mine that data with the sole intent to know that customer better than anyone else – the more successful your efforts will be. Forcing organizational needs down the throat of someone not interested can have lasting implications for your brand.

An additional way to support your listening and measurement to help shape your content strategy is to take advantage of live video chat rooms and private online communities. Accessing real-time feedback as you are shaping your content will help you align your content to be impactful the first time it launches. Remember the adage “measure twice, cut once.” Our content creators have developed successful, comprehensive content campaigns that have far exceeded national averages and would be interested in helping you fine-tune your campaigns to be customer-centric, measurable and successful.

If you are interested in talking to our health care digital experts, please feel free to contact your BPD Account Manager (for existing clients) or reach out to Jason Brown at 561-276-7701, or

Jason Brown

Jason is CEO & Chief Strategy Officer of Brown Parker & DeMarinis (BPD), an internationally-recognized advertising agency that is on a mission to make health systems and hospitals the most beloved brands in the world. A pioneer in hospital marketing, BPD works with clients to unlock the power of their Purpose inside and outside their organizations, resulting in highly engaged employees and physicians and dramatically higher brand preference and service-line volumes.

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