Increasing ROI and lowering CPA requires careful planning. Here are five questions to get started.
For many healthcare professionals, adopting a new digital marketing strategy can be a great way to create higher return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, formulating that strategy is easier said than done. The benefits of digital marketing are numerous, but getting a campaign off the ground can feel impossible for healthcare professionals who don’t know where they should begin.
However, the strategy itself may not be the best starting point when venturing into digital marketing; rather, healthcare professionals should return to the basics, deepening their grasp on ROI before moving forward. Maximizing digital marketing ROI can’t happen without understanding digital marketing ROI — and understanding that ROI may not look the same for every healthcare professional. Here are five questions to ask before initiating a digital marketing campaign.
1. What does the phrase “return on investment” mean to you?
ROI may seem like a fairly simple “money in, money out” calculation, but a healthcare provider’s motivations behind making an investment in digital marketing are usually more nuanced than that. ROI could be the number of new patients who enroll after a digital marketing campaign, or it could be a patient’s lifetime involvement with a medical practice. ROI calculations may also factor in other marketing channels, including print, TV, and radio ads, as well as events and other fundraising efforts.
ROI will mean something very different for clinical trials than for primary care providers, for example; clinical trials are interested in short-term enrollment numbers, while PCPs are seeking patients and families who return for care again and again. A dermatologist or plastic surgeon, on the other hand, may measure ROI by the number of procedures performed.
2. What’s your baseline?
Medical marketers should start every campaign by establishing a baseline. This includes total sales and revenue, as well as figures like the number of patients and number of procedures performed.
Some healthcare providers may find it necessary to go back into their records to find these exact numbers, but knowing an exact baseline is worth the initial time and inconvenience. Otherwise, there’s no way to know if a marketing campaign is actually performing the way you want.
3. What are your goals and KPIs?
Goals are the larger core outcomes that a healthcare provider hopes to achieve through its marketing investments. Key performance indicators (KPIs), on the other hand, are the metrics used to determine whether a campaign is on track to meet its goals. While the overall goal may be to increase patient enrollment, KPIs might be clicks, click through rate, or cost per click. Of course, KPIs should be adjusted depending on goals and the specific digital marketing strategy.
However, KPIs aren’t always strictly quantitative. If a healthcare provider has a goal of making more one-time patients into lifetime patients, patient experience and sentiment are invaluable “data points” as well. Each healthcare provider will have different goals and thus different metrics for measuring those goals’ progress — and different marketing strategies, too.
4. How will you collect data, and how often?
Measuring KPIs and progress towards goals requires data, which means healthcare providers need to determine how — and how often — they’ll collect data well before launching a campaign. A well-monitored campaign requires data from each and every channel, so data collection must be one of the cornerstones of campaign preparation and planning. Most digital media channels come integrated with means of reporting data; healthcare providers need to ensure they’re well-versed in each of their channels in order to collect data.
The frequency at which a healthcare provider will collect their data is another important point to address; contrary to popular logic, more often doesn’t always mean better. Checking data every hour on the hour may cause alarm any time KPIs change — but that drop may be due to the time of day or week. It’s important to choose a frequency that makes the most sense for the data.
5. Is a trusted digital marketing partner part of the equation?
The benefits of digital marketing are difficult to ignore – it’s more cost-efficient, personalizable, flexible and on-demand than advertising in broadcast or print media. Unfortunately, it can also be more confusing; effective digital marketing requires expertise and channel fluency that traditional marketing methods do not.
When considering starting a new digital marketing campaign and the ROI of that campaign, healthcare marketers should think about whether or not they have the capacity to launch and monitor the campaign in-house. For many medical marketers, hiring a trusted digital marketing partner is the most efficient solution to bypassing the initial startup time and cost of learning to effectively utilize digital marketing channels.