6 Digital Marketing Strategies a Health System Marketing Agency Takes Off Your Plate

health system marketing agency

The work of a health system digital marketing agency begins with boosting visibility. You want prospective patients to learn about your health system and, these days, most are researching their care options online. Specifically, your goal is to reach those in your area who will be most interested in your services–patients and the loved ones who are involved in their health care decision-making process.

Once your target audience learns about your health system, standing out from the competition becomes the next priority. Health system marketing agencies are experts in helping you communicate your values and unique services across a variety of different formats, including:

  • Articles on your website
  • Paid advertisements
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media feeds
  • Landing pages

Giving prospective patients a positive first impression of your health system is great, but ongoing outreach encourages them to trust you with their care.

That’s a lot! Digital marketing for a health system is a complex undertaking. Your solutions have to meet the needs of your patients right now and then adapt to keep meeting them over time. Feeling overwhelmed in the face of this challenge is understandable. To provide some clarity, this article focuses on six key strategies. These tactics are what you need to boost visibility, convert prospective patients into actual patients, and grow your health system. 

Health System Digital Marketing Strategies

What are the digital strategies a health system marketing agency uses to reach your ideal patients and grow your brand? The six discussed in this article are:

  • Branding
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns
  • Website design
  • Content marketing
  • Lead generation

With the expertise of a health system marketing agency, these strategies work synergistically to increase the visibility of your health system’s brand, increase traffic to your website, generate more leads, raise your conversion rate, and bring in new patients.

1. Website Design for Health Systems

Your health system’s website is a digital billboard for prospective patients to learn about your healthcare services and why you’re different from other health systems in your area. Your website’s content needs to speak to patients and include the information they’re looking for as they make choices about where to seek care. 

health system web design

But how will they find this content if they can’t find your website? How can they find answers if they can’t easily navigate your website once they get there? A health system marketing agency strives to make your website easier for prospective patients to find and use. Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for making sure your site is found by your target audience.

Beginning with your health system website design, ensure each page serves a dual purpose: offering useful, compelling content while boosting your site’s ranking. And of course, the actual design of your website is essential.

For the best results, focus on:

  • Site architecture (i.e., the internal linking that allows users to easily navigate your website)
  • Responsiveness (i.e., how well your website works across laptops, tablets, and smartphones)
  • Aesthetic appeal (i.e., how the graphics on your pages, from your logo to your color scheme, complement your message and set you apart)

Ensuring responsiveness is a key way to ensure a professional presentation. But just because your site looks great and functions smoothly on a laptop doesn’t guarantee proper display and speed on a smartphone or tablet. With more than 60% of visitors coming from mobile devices, your website has to perform well no matter what device is used.1 Search engines like Google prefer mobile-responsive websites, so making sure your website is mobile-friendly is critical for your SEO strategy.

Across all platforms, a clean, professional design gives an equal impression of your health system. Patients and their loved ones with concerns want confidence in your ability to meet their needs and deliver high-quality care. Your website is the first opportunity you have to start building that confidence.

2. Branding for Health Systems

Branding is all about strategically and authentically communicating your health system’s identity and connecting with prospective patients. A health system marketing agency won’t just hand you an identity for your health system to cram itself into. Instead, they’ll spend time getting to know your organization with staff interviews and focus groups to answer:

  • Who are you as a health system?
  • What are your values?
  • What can prospective patients expect from you?
  • What sets you apart from the competition?
  • What are your goals for growing your business?

health system brandingArmed with this information, a health system marketing agency refines and solidifies your brand to create a cohesive identity. This is a key piece of your digital marketing strategy. Creating a strong brand guides the rest of your marketing efforts and leads to a consistent experience for your audience. 

When developing your health system branding, missing the forest for the trees is common. Each article on your website uses the right keywords to boost your ranking, and your social media posts are intriguing to your target audience. But does your digital content work together to form a cohesive brand? Does each piece of writing pull its weight to articulate a central message while remaining original?

To ensure your brand grows as a whole, a health system marketing agency works with you to: 

  • Design an eye-catching logo
  • Create memorable taglines
  • Name and describe the services your health system provides
  • Articulate a message that communicates your health system’s values
  • Manage your health system’s reputation

The branding services a health system marketing agency provides are transformative. Part of this transformation involves taking a look at where your health system succeeded in the past and identifying issues that need to be resolved. 

Online reviews are ubiquitous nowadays, especially for doctors, medical practices, hospitals, and health systems. Negative reviews on ZocDoc, Healthgrades, and WebMD don’t always tell the whole story. But they’re often enough to turn off prospective patients and hurt your health system’s reputation. 

Luckily, online reviews aren’t just negative. They can also be a powerful asset since positive reviews are essentially a form of free content marketing. Just as a health system marketing agency creates fresh content, they’ll also manage the content others create. This ensures your audience sees what you want them to.

3. Content Marketing for Health Systems

So you’ve got a brand and a website, but what will visitors find when they land on your website? What will your prospective patients (leads) see when they open the emails you send them? A health system marketing agency answers these questions with a robust content marketing strategy

When prospective patients find your website, they’re probably looking for answers about their health or their options for care. Your website won’t show up in the results if you don’t have the answers published in your articles, FAQs, and landing pages. In a sense, your content has two audiences: prospective patients, and the algorithms determining how your site ranks on the search engine results pages (SERPs). A health system marketing agency ensures your content appeals to both audiences.

health system content marketingTo determine how well your site ranks, search engines crawl your content, evaluating its alignment with users’ search queries. An article that the algorithm tags as good content worthy of a high rank uses strategically chosen keywords that are likely to appear in the questions users ask the search engine.

Health system content marketing experts know how to find just the right keywords to get your website on top of the SERP and in front of your ideal audience. They then create content for keywords related to the services you offer, your location, and your values.

Ultimately, you’re not just writing for an algorithm. Your content is designed to help real patients who can spot spammy or inauthentic messaging a mile off. So each piece of content you post needs to be engaging and provide value for the reader.

Focus on attention-grabbing headlines and relevant, compelling writing to get prospective patients to keep reading, clicking through your website, and signing up to hear more.

Just like the other elements of a winning strategy for health system digital marketing, content marketing is multi-faceted. Types of content you share to connect with prospective patients includes:

  • Blog posts that keep readers up to date on your services
  • Infographics visually presenting facts and figures
  • Whitepapers demonstrating your expertise
  • Press releases describing innovations in treatment

A health system marketing agency excels at generating content in different forms, each tailored to your vision as a health system and your marketing needs.

4. Search Engine Optimization Campaigns for Health Systems

health system seo

Content marketing and strategically using keywords are your best friends when you’re working on aligning your website with the searches your prospective patients are performing. But there’s more to SEO campaigns that you need to consider. 

For one, ranking highly is imperative because about 75% of users don’t even look at the second page of search results.2 So if you’re not on the first page, you’re missing out on traffic from leads who are looking for the care your health system provides.

SEO also goes beyond the writing on your website. Unlike 20 years ago, you can’t rank highly just by cramming keywords onto your site. A number of other “behind-the-scenes” factors are important to consider. A health system marketing agency maximizes your ranking potential by optimizing your:

  • Website’s metadata
  • Speed with which pages load
  • Links to relevant and high-ranking sites
  • Strategically chosen images
  • Site structure that’s easy for search engines to crawl

Sometimes SEO isn’t quite enough on its own, at least not at first. Even the most powerful health system SEO campaign takes time to start showing results. In the meantime, pay-per-click campaigns, also known as paid search, can deliver phenomenal increases in traffic right away.

5. Pay-Per-Click Campaigns for Health Systems

You know those results you see at the top of the search results that say “sponsored” next to them? Those are pay-per-click (PPC) ads, meaning they cost advertisers a fee each time a user clicks them. In other words, you pay proportionally to how much your ads boost traffic to your website or landing page.

health system ppc

Because you’re only paying a fee when a user clicks your ad and visits your website, paid advertising is an important part of your digital marketing strategy. With a well-executed PPC campaign, you can see up to a 200% ROI and generate 50% more conversions than other forms of advertising.3

Those are great numbers. So what’s the catch?

Well, PPC campaigns are only as effective, and cost-effective, as the strategy behind them. To start a PPC campaign, identify the keywords most relevant to your target audience. Then, bid on those keywords. Because this is essentially an auction system, the costs for paid advertising campaigns built around high-converting keywords rise over time as competition for them increases. A health system marketing agency will craft a digital marketing plan that balances PPC with your other digital initiatives to ensure you’re making the most of your marketing budget.

So what’s involved in making a powerful health system PPC campaign? You need to:

  • Find the right keywords to bid on
  • Target your ads using location, gender, and other demographics
  • Analyze the wealth of data PPC ads generate to continuously refine the campaign and other elements of your marketing strategy

The last point is a powerful method for extracting more ROI from your PPC campaigns. Every time a user clicks one of your PPC ads, you receive new data. You can use this information to improve your future campaigns and get better results for your investment. 

Google acts as your own personal marketing laboratory by running A/B tests, or split tests. These are essentially simple experiments that compare different aspects of your ads. The results show which keywords, copy, and calls-to-action in your ads yield the most clicks. A health system marketing agency analyzes the data generated by your PPC campaigns to improve your strategy and create more efficient results.

health system lead generation6. Lead Generation for Health Systems

So far, these strategies have either focused on increasing the online visibility of your health system, or refining and developing your brand to better connect with prospective patients. But there’s actually a gap between visibility and your target audience really getting to know your brand in a way that will lead to conversions. Lead generation bridges that gap. 

A lead is anyone who has expressed interest in your health system. So to generate new leads, provide visitors to your website with opportunities to express their interest.4 This can take a number of forms, including:

  • Prompting website visitors to subscribe to a monthly newsletter
  • Offering free resources, eBooks, or informational videos to those who fill out online forms with contact information
  • Maintaining a lively social media presence with posts that users will be drawn to comment and click on

A health system marketing agency uses lead generation to harness the attention your brand gets online and segue into an opportunity to stay in touch with prospective patients. From there, you’ll form deeper connections and boost your conversions.

There’s an idea in marketing that conversion takes a magic number of interactions.5 Depending on who you ask, the magic number varies. But the core idea is, the more touches you make with a lead, the more likely they’ll become a patient of your health system. Health system marketing agencies excel at fostering leads and giving prospective patients the attention they need to convert.

While all visitors to your website are potential leads, they may not all be part of your target audience. To make the most of your marketing budget, start your digital strategy by focusing on developing connections with that target audience. For example, anyone in your health system’s geographic area that searches for the services you provide is a potential lead. But trying to connect with such a large group isn’t the best use of your time or budget. A health system marketing agency qualifies your leads. This means you’ll learn who is most interested in receiving care, so you can focus on building relationships with them and answering their questions.

Putting it all Together: How a Health System Marketing Agency Builds a Comprehensive Strategy

health system digital marketing

Of course, there’s more to digital marketing for a health system than we can cover here. These steps are a starting point to demonstrate the opportunities digital marketing presents for your health system. Better yet, you now know how a digital marketing agency specialized in working with health systems makes the most of those opportunities.

Website design, branding, content marketing, SEO, PPC campaigns, and lead generation blend together into one comprehensive strategy. Together, they can take you from where you are to where you need to go.

Here are a few ways these strategic elements reinforce each other:

  • Discussions about branding clarify your message, making it easier to stay on message and draft compelling content
  • Demographic information requested during lead generation allows you to better target your PPC campaigns
  • Smooth website design and backend SEO make it easier for search engine algorithms to crawl your site and boost its ranking

Digital marketing isn’t a set of discrete levers to pull. It’s an ongoing process with interweaving strategies and priorities that change with your business environment. This is good news because you have the opportunity to develop momentum as the buzz around your health system and the services you offer grows. But all this complexity can make crafting a successful, scalable strategy that supports your organization’s business goals challenging. That’s why you need an excellent team in your corner who are experts not just in digital marketing but also in health systems.

Dreamscape Marketing can help. Schedule a discovery call with us by calling 888.307.7304.


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