How to Pivot Your Healthcare Marketing Plan During COVID-19

by | Mar 26, 2020 | Content Strategy

Consumer trends toward remote work, increased web consumption and dependence on e‑commerce are accelerating in response to COVID-19 — here’s how healthcare marketing can meet existing demand and plan for the new normal.

We knew Ama­zon, Wal­mart and oth­er retail brands were com­ing after our cus­tomers. We sus­pect­ed the upcom­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion might affect the future of the ACA and accel­er­ate the shift from vol­ume to val­ue. We’ve like­ly expe­ri­enced the impact of indus­try con­sol­i­da­tion in chang­ing the health­care landscape. 

We could­n’t have pre­dict­ed the speed, scope and sever­i­ty of a pandemic.

It’s impos­si­ble to pin­point how and when a cri­sis will hap­pen, but as usu­al mar­keters are ris­ing to the occa­sion and ral­ly­ing their col­leagues and com­mu­ni­ties to fos­ter pub­lic health and flat­ten the curve. 

So, should your health­care mar­ket­ing plan piv­ot dur­ing the COVID-19 era and oth­er times like these? 

While con­tent remains king, the way that mar­keters plan, cre­ate and deploy that con­tent is chang­ing at a rapid pace. Con­sumers and work­ers are spend­ing more time online as they seek health and safe­ty information.

Below, we’ve detailed four ways that we’re help­ing health­care orga­ni­za­tions adjust their con­tent mar­ket­ing strate­gies to edu­cate and engage con­sumers and health­care providers in the cur­rent climate.

The Pivot: Brand Building

Brand posi­tion­ing dur­ing this time is cru­cial. Now is the time to dou­ble down on shar­ing sto­ries of care­givers and oth­er team mem­bers invest­ing time away from their own families—often putting them­selves in harm’s way—to treat patients and pro­tect the community.

To human­ize your brand as a lead­ing voice in the com­mu­ni­ty, fea­ture your physi­cians offer­ing advice to their col­leagues through­out the orga­ni­za­tion as well as con­sumers. If it feels authen­tic to your brand, you can even con­sid­er find­ing cre­ative ways to show how your care­givers are find­ing joy in the cri­sis.

When pro­mot­ed on social media and tagged appro­pri­ate­ly (e.g. #stay­home­minneso­ta), these nar­ra­tives help flat­ten the curve, lift spir­its and cre­ate an emo­tion­al con­nec­tion with your brand that will last long after the pan­dem­ic has passed.

The Pivot: New Patient Acquisition

From a patient acqui­si­tion per­spec­tive, more sig­nif­i­cant adjust­ments might be appro­pri­ate based on your orga­ni­za­tion’s capac­i­ty and protocols.

As Medicare’s cov­er­age expan­sion improves access to a broad­er range of ser­vices with­out hav­ing to trav­el and CMS urges hos­pi­tals to delay non-essen­tial elec­tive pro­ce­dures, we’re help­ing clients cre­ate con­tent and cam­paigns pro­mot­ing tele­health and vir­tu­al care options.

The same cam­paign method­ol­o­gy used to find, engage and con­vert ser­vice line prospects trans­lates per­fect­ly to a tele­health campaign. 

The Pivot: Meeting Existing Demand

While the coro­n­avirus is impact­ing dai­ly lives nation­wide and com­mand­ing the lion’s share of media atten­tion, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber there are con­sumers who still need non-COVID infor­ma­tion and treatment.

To meet this exist­ing demand and fill the fun­nel for future encoun­ters, con­sid­er shift­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing dol­lars from con­ver­sion-focused ads to top-of-the-fun­nel cam­paigns that cre­ate aware­ness and pref­er­ence for your ser­vices. Since many of your poten­tial patients can’t get in front of doc­tors, now is a great time to redi­rect search traf­fic and pro­mote tools like health risk assess­ments that help com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers under­stand their needs and plan for the future. 

For exam­ple, a bariatric cam­paign encour­ag­ing prospects to attend a sem­i­nar can piv­ot to dri­ve those same prospects to down­load a patient guide. This “soft­er close” allows you to col­lect their infor­ma­tion and build a pipeline of can­di­dates who are engaged with your orga­ni­za­tion and can be nur­tured to oth­er goal con­ver­sions when the time is right.

The Pivot: Marketing Channels

For the fore­see­able future, con­sid­er shift­ing focus away from sem­i­nars, screen­ings and oth­er face-to-face events and think about how to engage a more active online con­sumer. Your owned media channels—especially your web­site, enewslet­ter and social media pages—are crit­i­cal hubs for con­tent and mean­ing­ful con­nec­tion with an increas­ing­ly vir­tu­al audience. 

Email — This dig­i­tal-first con­cept applies both to self-iso­lat­ing con­sumers as well as physi­cians and oth­er health­care providers who are now less amenable to in-per­son vis­its. Email is a pre­ferred method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion for clin­i­cians, mak­ing the chan­nel mis­sion crit­i­cal for mar­keters charged with recruit­ing, refer­ral devel­op­ment and oth­er busi­ness-to-busi­ness ini­tia­tives. Arm your physi­cian liaisons with whitepa­pers and oth­er con­tent resources to send elec­tron­i­cal­ly in efforts to spark and advance conversations.

Social Media — With social plat­forms like Face­book and Twit­ter becom­ing a pri­ma­ry source of news—espe­cial­ly on the local lev­el, focus more on heart­warm­ing sto­ries of front­line care­givers through­out the cri­sis. To engage peers and health­care providers, cre­ate and share thought lead­er­ship con­tent on LinkedIn that demon­strates your team’s exper­tise, pro­motes their efforts to keep patients safe and cel­e­brates their accomplishments. 

Print — Along with con­sid­er­ing these dig­i­tal piv­ots, don’t dis­count the val­ue of print to deliv­er con­tent to the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans now work­ing from home who osten­si­bly have more time on their hands and are seek­ing a respite from self-iso­la­tion, home­school­ing and oth­er stres­sors. The mail­ing and print­ing indus­try are con­sid­ered essen­tial gov­ern­ment ser­vices dur­ing times of emer­gency, so your com­mu­ni­ty pub­li­ca­tion can con­tin­ue to reach con­sumers when they need to hear from you most.

To meet this need, we’re help­ing health­care clients plan and cre­ate COVID-19 mar­ket­ing info­graph­ics, inserts and oth­er assets fea­tur­ing hand­wash­ing tips, advice for stay­ing active at home and oth­er resources that address the new real­i­ty of a remote work and school environment.

Also, now is the time to inte­grate your pub­li­ca­tion with dig­i­tal chan­nels that enrich the read­er expe­ri­ence and cre­ate a path for engag­ing with your orga­ni­za­tion in a mean­ing­ful way.

We’re Here to Help

Want to piv­ot your mar­ket­ing plan to max­i­mize your impact on com­mu­ni­ty health in the cli­mate of COVID-19? Let’s talk.

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