4 Steps to Ensure Your Healthcare Marketing Measures Up
All healthcare practices, service lines and centers of excellence have goals, but the ones that succeed in achieving those goals are the ones that measure success at every step. Regularly performing data analytics is essential to your ability to invest your budget in those things that are producing the best results. Naturally, it helps to know what you should be measuring, but that can prove tough in an industry known for daily producing large volumes of data. Before we hone in on the metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should be monitoring, it’s important to address how to align your organizational goals with your individual marketing efforts.
1. Get S.M.A.R.T. About Your Marketing Goals
Forty years ago, three legendary executive management consultants, George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham, developed the premier method for setting and reaching organizational goals, known as S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Let’s assume that one of your top goals is to grow your practice. Using the S.M.A.R.T. method, we’ll create an outline of directives and questions to guide you in measuring the success or failure of that goal. Following this method (or one like it) will help simplify the process of measuring your marketing’s success because it establishes a focal point for directing your marketing efforts.
Grow My Practice Example
- Specific – Write down in detail what achieving the goal of growing your practice looks like. Defining what success means helps you establish a focus for future actions.
- Measurable – Attach a number to your goal. How many patients would you need to add each month to feel like you are on track to meet your goal? How many additional offices do you want to open?
- Attainable – What will it take to achieve this goal? Is there a budget in place to acquire new patients? Is it adequate to meet your goal?
- Realistic – Is everyone on your team committed to pursuing this goal? What are some obstacles, and how do you plan to overcome them?
- Timely – What is the deadline for achieving this goal?
2. Choose a Marketing Campaign Strategy
Once you have set organizational goals and established what success looks like, you are ready to focus on how you will pursue those goals. There are a variety of marketing campaign approaches to choose from, and all produce different results and have their own unique metrics or KPIs to track. The priority in this step is to match the approach or function of the type of marketing campaign you are considering with organizational objectives. Four of the most common healthcare marketing campaign objectives include:
• Acquire New Patients – This marketing campaign aligns well with an overall goal to grow a practice, service line or center of excellence
• Retain Current Patients – This customer-centric campaign relies heavily on marketing pieces designed to build a better relationship with patients
• Increase Brand Awareness – Often used for new service launches, the objective of this style of campaign is to ensure a large population of people are familiar with your brand
• Increase Engagement – This type of campaign is focused on encouraging patients to interact with your brand on a regular basis, and typically involves thought leadership pieces (blogs, videos, brochures, etc.) that establish the brand as a trusted go-to source for insights
Tune In to Your Patients’ Preferred Channels
In addition to choosing a campaign objective, you need to consider your patient’s (customer) journey and the types of media channels (social, SMS, email, phone, etc.) they prefer to use. Paying attention to their favorite media channels helps ensure your campaigns find their audience. If you are unsure how your patients prefer to be contacted, add this question to new patient forms. You should also consider sending current patients a quick survey about preferred contact methods, which is a great way to secure opt-in permissions and ensure data compliance.
3. Identify the Right Metrics
Once you have chosen a marketing campaign approach that aligns well with your top organizational goals, it’s time to identify the right KPIs to measure. The KPIs you measure will vary based on the media channels you choose and the type of campaign you run, as you will see in the comparison below.
Branding Campaign KPIs vs. Growth Campaign KPIs
A brand awareness campaign will have different metrics than a campaign to acquire new patients (patient volume). To measure the awareness generated for your brand, you would track the data associated with “reach” and “impressions.” The primary goal of a branding campaign is threefold. First, you want to make people aware of your organization. Second, you want them to begin to recognize and associate your brand with the look and feel your campaign promotes. Finally, you want to help prospective patients develop a connection to your organization. To accomplish all of these objectives, your target audience will need to view your campaign numerous times. However, if the campaign approach you pursue is focused on acquiring new patients, then the KPIs you measure will be focused on prospective patients completing various actions, from Call-to-Action (CTA) button clicks, form submissions, and web video views, to comments and new followers (social), and more.
Six Essential Healthcare Marketing KPIs
The following is a list of six KPIs to track the impact of your healthcare marketing’s performance:
a. Keywords/SEO – Since 77 percent of patients use online search prior to booking an appointment, tracking the keywords you use and the web ads that led people to find your practice is important.
b. Web Visits – Here, you want to pay attention to: where people are going on your site; what they are searching for; where they are spending the most time; and where you are seeing them drop off.
c. Email Opens – This metric not only signifies interest from prospective patients, but can provide insights on the type of topics your patients want to hear more from you about.
d. Link Clicks – Prospective patients who click through to get more information, watch a video or sign up for a monthly newsletter, etc. are showing you they are ready to go beyond browsing and are interested in pursuing a relationship with your organization.
e. Engagement Rate – This metric helps you discern whether or not you are targeting the right audience, and if they find your content valuable.
f. Conversion Rate – The marketing channels you use will all have different conversion rates, so it’s essential that you pay attention to the ones delivering the highest rates of conversion, as well as what those conversions are costing (cost per lead).
4. Monitor and Share KPI Performance
If you are just beginning to monitor the performance of your marketing campaigns, you will need to set a benchmark or performance baseline. The benchmark you establish will be the measure used to determine the success (or failure) of future campaigns. While Google Analytics helps track some of these measures, others will require careful monitoring via in-house data management systems such as a Customer Data Platform (CDP); Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform; and/or a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP).
As you track the performance of your marketing campaigns over time, you will gain insights on what’s working and what’s not. Tracking data also helps you learn which types of content your patients want to receive, as well as what inspires them to act. Lastly, make sure you share marketing data insights with everyone involved in promoting the goals of your organization, so they can learn and grow with each new data revelation.
We Empower Healthcare Brands to Reach Growth Goals
At Nichols Healthcare, we believe great healthcare brands are built step-by-step as practices follow a proven approach that ties marketing performance to organizational goals. Let us put our experience in creating compelling personalized patient marketing to work for you. To get started, or simply to have a conversation about how to grow your brand, please reach out to me at MKlein@WeTellYourStory.com.
Matt Klein - VP Account Services
Matt Klein believes that the business of healthcare is personal — because healthcare is personal. It’s a subject he’s very passionate about. Throughout his career, he’s worked with a wide variety of clients across the spectrum of healthcare, including large national companies such as Advocate Health Care and Pfizer, regional powerhouses including St. Vincent’s Health System and IU Health, and smaller, specialized facilities such as Advocate Eureka, Orthopedic Sports Enhancement Center, and Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology.