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Health Care Search Marketing That Works - Yes, There Is a Sales Cycle

WRITTEN by: Bill Sterzenbach |
categories: Healthcare , SEO

Aug 2011

ALL INSIGHTS

Health Care Search Marketing Is a Lot Like Search Marketing

Health care search marketing has its own quirky characteristics, but there is one area where it's just like all other search marketing; it starts with determining where in the sales cycle you want to see the prospect. I realize that talking about the "sales cycle" can seem crass when we're talking about health care, but for the purpose of clarity and expediency in this discussion I'm going to treat health care like any other service to be promoted and use the standard sales/marketing approach. We've worked with some very large hospitals and networks, and we've seen that applying standard sales/marketing tactics tailored to health care can provide powerful results.

Do you want to educate, convert or support?

This is the key question when setting up your health care search marketing program. For example, if your purpose is to build awareness and educate, you might go after terms such as "chest pain." If you would like to focus on the visitor who is closer to moving on a service or product, you would be better served to use phrases such as "outpatient angioplasty." Since this visitor is closer to a decision, he is probably more likely to have been through the basic information and knows the procedure he needs, but is deciding on facility to serve him.

Not all programs need to convert.

When we turn a visitor into a lead or a sale, we call that "converting" the visitor. When is it OK to not convert a visitor? When it's intentional. There is a strong case to be made for educating the visitor, you just don't want to do it accidentally. If your objective is to educate, it should be a deliberate decision with campaigns optimized towards education. Of course, you should always have a path available for visitors who are ready to take the next step, but that doesn't need to be the primary focus of every campaign.

We believe in selling, regardless of the category.

To repeat, I don't intend to be crass, but let's get comfortable with the concept of selling your service. If you believe in your service you should want clients to come to you rather than to the competition. Naturally, if you want your visitors to choose you as their health care provider, you'll need to make the best case possible. Naturally, a big part of making the best case is attracting the visitors to whom you want to make your case. This is where targeted campaigns really shine.

How do I target the right visitors?

Start by picking a service line that you want to promote and one that is not 90% doc referred. Self-referred services work very well in search marketing if the campaigns are setup properly. We've seen phenomenal success in sleep, surgical weight loss and orthopedic (particularly sports medicine). Remember that peer-to-peer healthcare is becoming increasingly prevalent, so be sure you've included this phenomenon into your search programs.

Where do I go from here?

If you'd like to learn more about how to approach a responsible, effective, sales-based approach to health care search marketing, just give us a call. We'd love to hear about what you would like to accomplish, and we can share some great advice on how to get started.

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