If healthcare organizations want to see a solid ROI on their digital campaigns, they need to personalize their advertising.
These days, there are a lot of ads flying around out there — for example, the average internet user will see more than 1,700 banner ads every single month. Approximately 57% of all email traffic is spam (that number is down from 84% back in 2013, but hey, it’s still a lot of spam). As such, marketing best practices are shifting. What used to be a fairly straightforward numbers game (more impressions = more clicks) is becoming more about precision targeting and personalization — particularly in sensitive, service-oriented industries like healthcare.
As Health Care Communication News contributor Stephen Moegling points out, one of the main reasons healthcare organizations fail to generate a solid ROI is that they take a blanket approach to their digital marketing campaigns. In other words, they push out a series of ads targeting a “nondescript” consumer who, according to Moegling, may be:
- Anywhere from 25 to 64 years old
- Male or female
- Married or unmarried
- Any ethnicity
- A parent or not a parent
- Wealthy, comfortable, or living paycheck to paycheck
His main point is this: in this age of advertising oversaturation, consumers are unlikely to click on an ad unless it’s engaging and resonates with them on a personal level. In other words, if you opt for the approach outlined above, chances are your target audience is simply going to ignore your ads and marketing materials altogether.
Targeting the Right Patients, The Right Way
The good news is that the two most prominent digital advertising platforms, Facebook and Google, offer a wide range of tools and functionalities that make it possible to target users based on incredibly specific criteria.
If you’re an OB/GYN, an obvious first step would be to filter your ads by gender; however, you may also want to further break down your campaigns by age, using different messaging and highlighting different service lines in each ad set based on the specific audience segment it’s targeting.
Another common misstep is to waste your digital marketing dollars on the wrong audience altogether. Try to gain a deeper understanding into the preferences and habits of your target demographic, then adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if your practice primarily focuses on senior care, it’s worth knowing that only 42% of adults over the age of 65 own a smartphone (compared to 92% of those ages 18 to 29) — in other words, you should probably focus the bulk of your spend on desktop ads, not mobile.
Don’t Guess What Your Audience Wants — Ask Them
Of course, cutting-edge targeting tactics aren’t going to do you a whole lot of good if you don’t actually understand your audience’s values and preferences. It’s always a good idea to conduct some research before launching a new campaign. For example, if you’re setting up an AdWords campaign, you’ll need to look at your own historical data to get a better understanding of what’s worked and what hasn’t, then update your keywords in accordance with the latest search volume and competition score data.
Another great way to learn more about your target audience is to simply ask them — solicit feedback from current and prospective patients about their experiences with your brand, how they found out about you (online search, doctor review site, offline referral, etc.), and what it was that ultimately sealed the deal.