If you’re a B2B marketer targeting healthcare professionals (HCPs), you likely already know the industry suffers from long lead times and high acquisition costs for prospects. As much of the healthcare industry continues to shift away from in-person events and communications in favor of virtual interactions, developing an engaging and effective digital marketing strategy is more essential now than ever before.
From reaching a wider swathe of healthcare professionals with specific targeted content to reducing the overall costs of marketing and lead generation, there are many benefits to focusing on increasing digital engagement among your HCP audience.
Here’s how to increase your HCP marketing campaign’s digital engagement.
What Is Digital Engagement?
Digital engagement is broadly defined as online interactions between potential customers and particular organizations, whether through emails, websites, social media platforms, feedback, or other ways.
The Importance of Targeting & Segmenting Your Audience
When developing your digital marketing strategy, consider the quality of the content, who it’s geared toward, and how your target audience will most likely interact with it.
To effectively market to any group, you first need to answer the following questions:
Who is your target audience?
What are they looking for in terms of content?
Where are they most likely to engage with/search for content (social media, emails, web searches, etc.)?
- How can you help solve a specific problem or address their concerns?
- Why should they seek your organization out over your competitors? (What value are you adding?)
Reaching and engaging with healthcare professionals means producing content that meets their needs and adds value to whoever engages with it. This will keep them coming back, and considering your organization a valuable resource—which will in turn, help convert them into customers.
Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to HCP marketing, this is where audience segmentation. Any content sent must cater to their specific needs, and a well-organized and segmented campaign maximizes the chances for engagement.
Filter your audience based on considerations including physician specialty, prescribing volume, preferred contact method, location, and more. This will help you better deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.
How to Boost Engagement
There’s no one strategy that will increase digital engagement with HCPs. Rather, take a multi-pronged, holistic approach to increase the chances of engagement at all turns in the marketing process.
Blog Your Heart Out
Although blogging has one of the highest returns on investment, many healthcare marketers are not publishing such content. That means there’s less competition for one of the most important sources of digital engagement.
That said, don’t blog just to blog—make sure you’re producing high-quality and helpful content. You want to consider what problems your prospects are facing, and provide solutions. By creating a resource for prospects, you’ll build trust and, in turn, increase the chances of those prospects coming to you when they’re ready to buy.
To Increase Engagement, Produce Content That Is:
- Highly Personal
Creating a successful marketing campaign that leads to closed sales requires you to consider the difference between passive and active engagement, the latter of which will help you find prospects and make sales. This is engagement from people who don’t simply “Like” a LinkedIn post in passing, but rather take the time to read what you write, open your emails, and converse with you about your products and services.
You can take meaningful action to increase active engagement with the right prospects.
In fact, developing well-crafted content for all stages of the buyer’s journey (from initial research to comparing possible options and making a purchase) is one of the best ways to maximize engagement.
HCPs are extremely busy, and the work they do often has life-or-death consequences. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that the front-facing aspects of your marketing strategy pass the blink test—the three to five seconds it takes a potential prospect to judge whether or not your content has value.
Some blogs are meant to inform and educate prospects who are early in the buyer’s journey and trying to determine what their problem is, while others are intended to steer decision-stage prospects to certain aspects of your services. Write blogs for every buyer persona and every stage of the buyer’s journey, and you’ll develop a highly engaging resource.
As a general rule, everything you create should be designed to attract, inform and/or delight your target audience.
Focus on Optimizing SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential factor in garnering traffic from search results and making sure your website and content are the first things your audiences find when they search a specific topic. You want everything you produce to stand out from your competition, and if you don't consider how your content will rank on search engines, it will just be adding to the noise.
It is not something to be considered as an afterthought—rather, it should be front-and-center in your content development strategy. Consider factors such as on-page keyword targeting, site layout and performance, mobile accessibility, and more.
SEO is a critical step toward getting your content in front of the right people, and ensuring a positive return on your investment.
Utilize Email & Personalize as Much as Possible
Email is a key B2B strategy, and personalized email is one of the best engagement tools in your arsenal. Not only is personalization expected—with 70 percent of B2B purchasers anticipating at least some form of personalized communication—it’s also extremely effective.
We’ve written before about how to increase email engagement when you’re targeting HCPs, utilizing Calls to Action to improve email conversion rates, and dynamic content to personalize your emails beyond the usual, “Hi, Dr. Jones!”
Here are some of the high-level takeaways:
- Use A/B testing to figure out what subject lines, calls to action, and send times work best.
- Storytelling is powerful: Use testimonials and personal examples of how your products/services work best for clients—and how they can work for prospects.
- Put calls to action above the fold and at the bottom.
- Segment your lists to guarantee you’re sending the right content to the right recipients.
Want to learn even more about crafting the strongest emails for your marketing campaigns? Download our free “Email Guidelines and Best Practice Suggestions Ebook.”
Be Active on Social Media
Social media is a boon for B2B marketing, no matter the industry. When it comes to HCP marketing, however, it’s absolutely necessary. Social media provides HCPs with a platform to learn and share information on healthcare policies and practice issues, promote healthy behaviors, and engage with the public. Prioritizing your social media presence and sharing and catering relevant content on your platforms will contribute to increasing your HCP engagement.
As with email, you should use A/B testing to optimize post times and copy messaging. Further, and perhaps most importantly when it comes to social media, in order to increase engagement with your own content, you must engage with others! Respond to LinkedIn posts; engage with prospects and customers on Twitter; post relevant content from other creators and tag them, letting them know you’re engaging with them.
Focus on Account-Based Marketing & Current Customers
Account-based marketing is a strategy that identifies a narrow list of desired, typically high-value prospects, and tailors a campaign specifically to each one. This personalization strategy not only has a higher ROI, but it naturally fits into other HCP-friendly engagement strategies.
Use email and direct mail campaigns to target specific prospects by designing them solely for those accounts. For example, if you’re targeting a gastroenterologist who runs a private practice, you would send emails about your digestive medicine and technology offers and how they could be used to improve their practice.
A key component of account-based marketing is continuing to communicate with your targeted audience, even after they've converted into customers. Pay attention to them and work hard to delight them. Customers are one of the best marketing tools you have, and repeat business has a high ROI and shorter sales cycle. Please your customers, and you’ll create lifelong loyalists who will continue to spend money with you and bring in other customers by virtue of their recommendations.
Looking to promote a new product or service with email marketing? PDQ specializes in getting your content messaging to the right audience, at the right time. Contact us to put our proven healthcare network to work for you.
Originally published April, 2020. Updated July, 2021.