Search Engine Marketing: A True ‘Pull’-based Medical Marketing Strategy
When it comes to medical online marketing, the power of search engines is unquestionable; according to Pew research, 80% of internet users gather health information online and 87% use a search engine, making these the third and second most popular online activities respectively (only behind e-mail).
Search engine marketing (the series of strategies and techniques used to achieve higher rankings within search engine results) offer a means to access this vast population of searchers and provide a potential solution to their stated problem. Searchers have often ‘self-diagnosed’ themselves (e.g., ‘type 2 diabetes treatment’, ‘infertility specialist’) and are clearly in the mode of actively pursuing a ‘solution’ (or at least additional information). Appearing as one of those solutions is the goal of search engine marketing, making it one of the few true forms of ‘pull’ marketing (the users are actively ‘pulling’ the advertisers information in). Advertisers can effectively target consumers based on ‘intent’, which is much more powerful than traditional targeting factors like age, gender, location or income.
This is in strong contrast to the classic ‘push’ marketing techniques (e.g. print, TV, radio, display ads) common amongst traditional media, which present an ad to a group that may or may not have the medical condition targeted, and may or may not be actively seeking a solution.
As a result of this fundamental difference, response rates for search engine marketing are significantly higher than comparative push-marketing techniques and ultimate lead and referral rates are much higher (making their costs per referral lower). This reasoning is a major factor why companies like Google and Yahoo have grown rapidly to multi-billion dollar valuations and why local digital ad revenue is expected to grow from $21 billion to $39 billion over the next 5 years (while traditional local media revenues essentially stay flat).
The trend is clear….search engine marketing is a superior form of local advertising and is clearly here to stay.
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, Feb 2011, http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2011/PIP_HealthTopics.pdf
Stempel DS 2009 US Vein Practice Marketing: A Profile of ACP Membership Practices’ Marketing Investment and Return during the Recession. Copy available at: http://www.mdconnectinc.com/medical-marketing-case-studies-white-papers/
BIA/Kelsey Press Release, March 20, 2012, data from U.S. Local Media Forecast (2011-2016). http://www.biakelsey.com/Company/Press-Releases/120320-U.S.-Local-Digital-Ad-Revenues-Remain-Strong,-Bolstering-Slower-Growth-Overall-in-Local-Media-Market.asp