When the pandemic upended their plans, the marketing team at Beaufort Memorial turned to True North for expertise in both engaging the community and driving revenue.
For Beaufort Memorial, an integrated digital marketing strategy guided by True North has delivered clarity for consumers and consistent volume even as the situation on the ground evolves.
Discover how this growth-focused approach has been instrumental in both guiding the community and generating leads for key service lines.
Serving a tri-county area in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, Beaufort Memorial includes a 197-bed, acute care hospital, a freestanding outpatient surgery center located on the hospital campus, a full-service cancer center, three urgent care locations and multiple outpatient medical office buildings.
Beaufort Memorial went into 2020 focused on using digital marketing to drive growth across key service lines like orthopedics, vascular, OB/GYN, oncology and access care. COVID-19 certainly had other plans in mind.
Together with True North, Beaufort Memorial developed an integrated digital marketing strategy that includes paid search, display and social media advertising, email marketing, and retargeting strategies. These tactics were designed to target the right consumers and encourage them to engage with Beaufort Memorial for various healthcare concerns.
Starting in May, we began to promote specialty services and access care again in an effort to drive growth and provide consumers access to the care they need.
From May 1 through August 30 — during the height of the pandemic’s first wave — the campaigns generated 4,500+ leads for high priority service lines. This includes:
- Access Care (includes primary care, express/urgent care and telehealth): 3,600 leads
- Orthopedics (specifically targeting joint replacement leads): 110 leads
- Women’s Health: 586 leads
- Vascular: 90 leads
- Oncology: 166 leads
Telehealth Campaign and COVID Content
Throughout 2020 and moving into this year, we’ve adapted to evolving needs and have generated a number of key wins across service line and community engagement priorities.
Here’s a snapshot of the system’s highly effective COVID-related content initiatives.
“True North is a true partner
in every sense of the word.
We communicate openly and
frequently, and there is no
problem we can’t tackle together.
They are extremely creative and
responsive and they think about
our needs proactively and responsibly.”
— Courtney McDermott, Director
of Marketing and Communications
at Beaufort Memorial Hospital
Beaufort Memorial offers telehealth via their BMH Care Anywhere platform. Like other telehealth solutions, this service allows people in the community to see a board-certified physician from the comfort of their own home. Even in 2019, expanding BMH Care Anywhere was a priority for Beaufort Memorial. As COVID-19 began to unfold, the Beaufort Memorial and True North teams significantly grew app utilization in an effort to support the community’s health and well-being.
In the early weeks of the pandemic, we ramped up our efforts to promote BMH Care Anywhere as a primary care access point for many service lines. Much of the campaign budget previously allocated to driving services such as primary care, urgent care and other in-person care became focused on increasing telehealth utilization.
In just March and April, BMH Care Anywhere registrants increased by 1,500%. More than ever before, consumers began to adopt telehealth as a primary source when seeking care. As search volume for telehealth increased—particularly in the early weeks of the pandemic as brand searches increased—cost per lead in paid search went from $12 to just $3.
In social media advertising efforts, the cost per lead decrease was even more significant—falling from about $100 to just $3 for the months of March and April.
From May 1 through August 30, we’ve continued to see strong performance—evidence that a shift to telehealth for day-to-day health concerns might be here to stay. Our cost per lead continues to stay under $10, and app registrants are growing significantly year over year.
Overall, the total number of new registrants increased 17 times in March and April compared to January and February. This is in line with industry trends that we’ve seen emerge with the COVID-19 pandemic, but certainly indicative of the value of targeted digital campaigns, effective messaging and clear calls to action to inspire consumer engagement.
A critical component to Beaufort Memorial’s mission throughout the pandemic has been community engagement and thought leadership. Consumers look to local healthcare providers as a trusted source for information related to the coronavirus, so we saw an opportunity to provide ongoing updates and advice to the community.
True North and Beaufort Memorial quickly generated a campaign landing page highlighting Beaufort Memorial’s response to the pandemic. The main conversion point invited consumers to sign up for a weekly update email to stay apprised of evolving policies and news.The Results
The campaign generated 1,000 leads in just the first 2 weeks at a $0.72 cost per lead. As of August 30, 2,050 leads total have been generated at a $1.61 cost per lead.
The weekly emails stemming from the campaign have outperformed expectations, too. The average open rate is over 30% and the average click rate nearly 4%, with individual emails seeing open rates over 50% and click rates nearing 10%. Further, the emails have driven over 1,000 goal actions ranging from primary care appointments to donations and much more.
Beaufort’s blog and social media strategy also evolved to address COVID-19. Engagement rates skyrocketed in the early days of the pandemic, in particular. Top performing content included:
- How COVID-19 affects having a baby
- Think you have COVID-19? Here’s what to do
- Joint replacement in the era of COVID-19
- Mammogram safety during COVID-19
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