6 Steps for Creating High Conversion Healthcare Content

Your job as a business owner or healthcare marketing professional is to get more customers to buy from you.

But you can’t get today’s customers to buy from you using yesterday’s methods. Today customers have access to vast amounts of information (both online and offline) that informs their buying decisions. They want information from you as well. Not just product information or mere marketing messages, but rather information that provides tangible solutions to the real-world healthcare problems they are facing.

Creating this kind of content enables companies like yours to build trust in their communities, thus making it easier for customers to buy.

Here are 6 steps to creating high conversion healthcare content:

#1.Tie content to measurable marketing goals

For any content campaign to be successful you must tie your content marketing program to measurable business goals. It’s a bad idea to invest in any content activity just because ‘it’s the latest new thing’ or because your company has a lot of great information to share with your industry.

Your goals for creating content must be specific and measureable. After all, how does sharing great information with your industry help your bottom line anyway?

So before you even start to brainstorm your content marketing plan, jot down one or two goals that you want to accomplish with content. A simple example might be to increase next quarter’s online revenue by 10%.

#2. Understand customers’ information needs

The next step is to identify the information needs of your buyers. Don’t move into the content creation process until you have a crystal-clear understanding of potential buyers.

This is done through extensive research e.g. interviewing exiting customers, sending out surveys to your email list, meetings with your sales and customer-service staff to find out what kind of questions or concerns customers have.

Without this level of understanding you run the risk of publishing irrelevant content that may or may not produce the results you want. That sort of ‘hit-or-miss’ strategy will not help you accomplish your goals.

#3. Select Your Content Mix

There are many types of content you can create to connect with buyers, and close more leads. Some examples are websites, podcasts, print brochures, print newsletters, email newsletters, white papers, magazines, and more.

The type(s) of content you choose will largely depend on your budget and your customers’ needs (see number 2). You may rely on one core content product e.g. your website, to take the primary marketing role. But remember that other types of content provide multiple touch-points for prospective buyers, and also demonstrate a well-integrated content strategy especially when they enhance each other.

#4. Determine What Buyers Should Do

Many healthcare organizations create direct mail, newsletters, blog content and even custom magazines without knowing what kind of response they hope to get from customers.

You might be sending out newsletters every month, but have you told your readers what they should do after they read it? If you assume that they’ll pick up the phone and call your company, you’ll be waiting a long time.

Identify the specific action you want prospective customers to take and clearly tell them what to do. It could be trying a free demo of your product, or signing up for a webinar that provides more specific information about your offerings. Whatever it is, make sure it is clear and measurable as well.

#5. Get Help

The fact of the matter is most companies are so busy focusing on marketing their products, that they have a tough time thinking about content the way publishers do. Moreover creating content for marketing purposes is a skill by itself, and requires specialized talent to achieve profitable results.

If your company has in-house content marketing experts, then by all means use them. If not you should consider outsourcing your content activities to content marketing experts.

According to Gartner research, 50% of U.S. based companies outsource all or part of their digital content activities to an outside expert. Content marketing experts are trained to not just to produce engaging content, but also to help the organization meet its business goals. (See number 1).

#6. Measure Your Return

Finally, if you’re going to go through all this trouble to set up a content program, you should be able to know if it’s working or not. Don’t dare start your content activities if you don’t have a plan for measuring success.

Return on investment is directly linked to your business goals (see number 1). If you set out to increase your online revenue by 10% each quarter, you should evaluate your revenue at the end of that period to check if your projected sales numbers were achieved. Frequent measurement helps you to understand what’s working and what’s not working, so that you can adjust your plan accordingly.

In conclusion, well-crafted and creative content attracts prospects and closes deals. It’s not just content for content’s sake. It is a purposeful content plan that generates real customers. So whether your plan is to produce print or digital content, these six steps will help you stay focused on a strategy that produces tangible results.

Your Turn

Creating content that attracts customers can be challenging. What steps have you taken to close that gap?

5 Content Marketing Tips to Reach Dis-Engaged Patients

Here’s something you don’t hear everyday – ‘Patient engagement is actually declining’.

According to a study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions:

  • One in three healthcare consumers are currently disengaged reporting less need for care, preventative action, interest in patient education resources, and financial preparation;
  • One in two follow a ‘passive patient’ approach relying on doctors for decisions, preferring standard care, and adhering to treatment;
  • Even those who are ‘online and onboard’ with innovative health technologies have increased only slightly from 15% in 2008 to 17% in 2012.

Not Interested

The biggest challenge providers face might be trying to engage patients who aren’t necessarily interested in engagement. Think about the online content consumption habits of a ‘typical patient’:

  • They don’t tend to seek healthcare information unless they or someone they love is sick.
  • They’re not the only decision-makers in the game. Often times family or other care-givers are in charge particularly in the case of minors, senior citizens and those who aren’t capable of making serious medical decisions.
  • Even if they can make decisions for themselves, sometimes patients don’t have the ‘mind-set’ to engage with online healthcare content due to stress brought about by their illness or condition.

So what can providers do to tackle this challenge? Here are five content marketing tips to reach disengaged patients:

#1. Abandon the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach

Providers need to realize there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to engaging patients with online content. They should take into account different pain-points, preferences and lifestyles and then create content that is targeted to those different segments. Which means they have to…

#2. Build Patient Personas

Building patient personas is a laborious exercise but the rewards are unbeatable. The insights and level of understanding that comes with developing personas not only helps you create relevant content, but also develops trust as patients come to rely on you for helpful information. By then they’re ready for…

#3.  More not less content

Providing more content can actually help to ‘reach’ those who are disengaged particularly when content is focused on lifestyle issues. People tend to have a high regard for their personal lifestyles and so this is often a good place to start engagement particularly with those who are disinterested or passive.

Encourage patients to improve their habits and change behaviors that could lead to a better quality of life. But remember that real engagement might require some innovation such as…

#4. Different content formats

A blog is not the only way to engage patients. In fact the ‘online and onboard’ segment of consumers in the Deloitte study said they want websites that provide reliable information (think of research and data-driven narratives); price and quality information; video conferencing with doctors; self-monitoring devices that could send information electronically to their doctor; and health-improving tracking apps. All this means that providers must…

#5 Understand patient information needs

Not only should they understand what kind of information patients need, providers should also attempt to understand how patients act upon it. This way they can leverage online content and social media to educate, inform, and advise patients about additional resources to help them on their wellness journey.

Your Turn:

What did I miss? What do you think is the best way to reach disengaged patients?

4 Essential Content Marketing Ingredients for HealthCare Organizations

Patients are better informed today than they were just ten years ago.

Instead of consulting a doctor, they first check the Internet. With all the health-related content that is available online, they are more aware of their specific condition and thus able to make better choices about their treatment.

Unfortunately there is also a lot of false and harmful information out there that can be extremely dangerous for them to follow.

That’s why healthcare brands have a responsibility to educate and empower consumers with accurate, readable content that will guide their health and wellness decisions. However patients won’t call your office or hotline number to ask questions and get the answers they need. Instead they’ll go online to look for helpful content.

If they don’t find what they’re looking for on your website or they will simply move on to a competing brand’s site. For successful content marketing, here are 4 essential ingredients for healthcare organizations:

#1. Separate fact from fiction

Help your audience to make sense of medical news separating fact from fiction and enabling them to understand what you offer before they become sick.

Make sure that only qualified health care experts create content on your site. If you outsource your content marketing process, make sure that a medical professional reviews and approves articles before they are published on your website.

#2. Publish consistently

Don’t let your content get stale. Patients will keep coming back to your website when they know that you have something new to share.

A website that is not updated on a consistent basis not only loses out on SEO, but quickly becomes irrelevant as patients go elsewhere to find fresh content.

#3. Help don’t sell

Of course your website should include information about the services you provide. If it didn’t it wouldn’t be very useful. However that doesn’t mean you should abandon sound content marketing principles such as engaging your audience with interesting information.

Remember that patients are looking for genuine answers not ads. To be successful in content marketing, provide information that helps to solve problems without trying too hard to sell your services.

#4. Be open and responsive

Many healthcare organizations engage in content marketing with the idea of teaching or educating. However they forget that even in a class-room setting, students learn best by asking questions.

Too often for example, they don’t want to enable comments ocontent marketing tips, health-related content, healthcare content marketing, healthcare marketing, medical contentn their blog for fear that someone might say something that is legally problematic. Before you start your content marketing campaign, talk to your regulatory department and find out what policies to put in place to address potential problem areas.

However once those policies are put in place, it’s equally important for healthcare brands to speak like ‘a real person’, showing empathy, giving helpful answers and advice, and responding to questions in a human voice.

 Your Turn

Does your hospital or practice use content marketing? What other advice can you share? Please leave your comments in the box below.

Healthcare Blogging: 6 Types of Content that People Love

It takes more than just publishing a blog article and sharing it on Facebook to get the comments, shares and page views rolling in.

If you think about it, 2 million blog posts are published everyday on the social web. And most of those marketers are using social media to promote their content anyway. So doing the bare minimum likely won’t cut it.

Knowing what type of content your prospects want to read and share is absolutely necessary. The best way to find out what people want is to ask them. Simply conduct a survey and ask people in your social media networks:

“What do you find to be the most valuable content when looking for a potential solution?”

Then offer a selection of answers for people to choose from e.g. blog posts, white papers, e-book, webinar, podcast, video, case study, in-person events and so on.

Or you could experiment with the types of content that typically do well with other healthcare publishers and bloggers. Here are six of them:

#1. List posts

Don’t dismiss list posts just because you see them all the time. People love to consume content in bite-sized portions. In fact healthcare marketers don’t take advantage of lists posts as much as they should. Packaging information in an easy to read format tells readers that you’re respectful of their time.

#2. How-to articles

It’s amazing how much mileage ‘How-to’ articles continue to get. People love simple, step-by-step instructions for doing something or learning something new. A ‘how-to’ framework on your blog makes your content easy to understand and execute.

#3. Research

There’s a lot of research in the healthcare industry. Problem is, it’s not always readily seen on the social web. Yet for the most part, top level executives and decision makers want reliable facts before taking the next step. Provide well structured research articles based either on your own studies, or third-party sources to give managers and CEO’s the proof they’re looking for.

#4. Visual stories

Readers reward visual content. Whether it’s pictures, infographics or video, laying the foundation for visual content is a promising content strategy that’s sure to attract prospects. Also when you consider that Facebook is mostly a picture economy, that gives you even more reason to use images to tell your story.

#5. SlideShare

SlideShare has been called the ‘sleeping giant’ of content marketing. It is the ‘YouTube’ of PowerPoint presentations. However you don’t have to wait until you do a presentation to share it on SlideShare. You could also take some of your most popular blog posts, change the format from text to bullet points, add a lot of images, and put them up on SlideShare. This is a very easy way to present your concepts and ideas quickly and visually.

#6. Podcasts

It seems that 2013 is the year for podcasting. Besides meeting in person there’s no better way to connect with people than by podcasting.The power of your voice enables people to connect with you and make them feel like they know you. The Doctors RoundTable for example is a great podcast for interviewing doctors and asking them about common health problems that people are facing.

Over to you: What have been your challenges and opportunities in creating content? Can you share some ideas that worked for you?

Why Frustration is an Important Part of Your Corporate Story

Many times when talking about the benefits of our product or services, we focus on the successes, the stories or testimonials of satisfied customers, and on happy endings. Rarely do we talk about the frustrations that went hand-in-hand with creating the solution.

The problem with this approach is that it’s only partly true.

As someone wisely said, “before we find the answer, before we even know the question, we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach.”

Frustration and disappointment come in different ways: lack of support, tight budgets and limited resources, negative reviews, differences of opinion, disgruntled employees, mental blocks and so on. And these are precisely the things that we must wrestle with before a solution can be found. These too are an important part of the corporate story.

Take a look at how Domino’s frustration created an opportunity for their huge and widely successful ‘Pizza Turnaround’:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=AH5R56jILag%3Ffs%3D1%26feature%3Doembed

Organizations that struggle to ‘connect’ with buyers, and those looking for new ways to “be more human” should consider how talking about their frustrations and failures helps to create a message that is more believable and realistic. And that is appealing because whatever industry you’re in, it’s still a people-to-people business.

Key Takeaway

Happy endings don’t just happen. Many a frog must be kissed before the prince. And while frustrations and disappointments point to a painful and ‘best-forgotten’ part of the process, they’re equally important in creating a true and credible story that resonates with customers. Don’t leave it out.

Over to you: What do you think? Should brands talk about their frustrations as part of the whole corporate story?

Very Basic Content Marketing Tips for Beginners

Once in a while, I meet people who don’t understand what content marketing means. But what’s interesting is that they’re actually practicing content marketing without realizing it. You might be one of them.

If you’re  new to the concept of content marketing (even if you’re already a practitioner) and are considering getting more focused on using interesting, valuable, and relevant information to promote your business, then there are some basic questions you should be asking yourself.

The key thing to remember though, is that content marketing is not so much about you as it is about your customer. It’s about solving THEIR problems first, so that they become your customers later.

Here’s what you should be thinking about:

Your Business

1. What are your business goals/objectives?

2. What do you want to be known for (unique value proposition)?

Your Customer

3. Who is your ideal customer?

4. What problem(s) are THEY struggling with?

5. Where do they seek information (to solve their problems)?

6. What social networks do they use?

7. What are their job responsibilities?

8. What kind of decisions do they make on the job?

9. What’s keeping them away from you?

10. What kind of message will inspire them?

11. How can you create a message that will inspire them AND deliver your brand’s value proposition?

Visualizing Success

11. What indicators will you use to measure content marketing success (a.k.a key performance indicators or KPI’s)?

12. How will you scale your content marketing efforts?

Key Takeaway

These are very basic questions geared to getting you focused on what you should be trying to accomplish with content marketing. Remember this is just the starting point. There’s a lot of work that goes into planning, creating, publishing, optimizing and measuring content. But this is how to get those juices flowing.

Over to you: Are you a content marketing beginner? What questions do you have about starting this exciting journey? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

The 7 Elements of Smart Content [Infographic]

Infographics are the in thing right now and I thought it would be a neat idea to present some cool ones on this blog as well.

My first content marketing infographic is actually a visual interpretation of an article I curated last October called the 7 elements of smart content.

I hope you like it. I will be adding more content and social media infographics every so often for your enjoyment.

By the way, please re-tweet, share or pin this infographic on Pinterest if you like. Well, what do you think?

10 Easy Content Marketing Tips You Can Apply Today!

Content Marketing is all about engaging a well-targeted audience with valuable, helpful and compelling content that solves their problems and persuades them to do business with you.

There is a strategic approach to creating valuable content, but assuming you’re already doing that, here are 10 easy tips to embellish the content that you are currently producing:

Tweak your Email Signature

Below your email signature line, attach a link to a helpful & relevant blog post from your website to encourage email recipients to explore your site.

Attach a link to a relevant blog post to your email signature

Solve problems

Focus on the core problem that your business solves. Then put out lots of content, enthusiasm, and ideas about how to solve that problem. (Put content on your blog, other people’s blogs i.e. guest blogging, e-books or white papers, webinars, Google Hangouts, audio podcasts etc.)

Do a Competitive Analysis

Analyze your content in light of your competitor’s content then identify opportunities to be different or better. But DO NOT copy your competitor’s content!

Add Comment Luv

Add ‘Commentluvplugin to your WordPress website. With this plugin, every time you comment on someone else’s blog, a link to the most recent article that you wrote on your blog is embedded in the comment. It literally spreads your content across other sites!

Comment Luv WP-plugin spreads your content to other sites

Curate!

Curate! Curate! Curate! It’s not lazy – it’s good neighborliness.  In fact there’s business value in collaboration and besides sometimes other people can explain it better than you! 🙂

Tell all

Want your blog to get noticed? Start creating content about those industry ‘secrets’ or how-to tips that none of your competitors will touch!

Do a Content Audit

Review your website and all blog posts often and inspect for ROT. ROT stands for Redundant, Outdated and Trivial content. If you find ROT, weed it out!

Review content for ROT

Be where it matters

You don’t have to be on every single social media network that exists. You just need to ‘be where it matters’. Find out where your customers and prospects are located (online) and focus your content distribution through those channels!

Be a journalist

When you write an article use a journalistic approach – Most important content first [who, what, where, why, when, how]. Next, provide important details, then other supporting background information last. You should end of with an inverted pyramid type of content structure.

Engage, Convert or Die!

Last but not least – every piece of content on your site should be doing either one (or both) of these things: ENGAGING or CONVERTING. If it is not doing that, get rid of it!