Healthtech Digital Marketing: The Art of Customer Engagement
The consistent evolution of the healthcare industry doesn’t cease to amaze us. Remember how just ten years ago, seeing a doctor without having to leave your couch sounded like science fiction? Well, now we have telemedicine platforms, mobile health apps, and electronic health records that can be shared across clinics. Sounds like the future is now, right?
Unfortunately, though, healthtech marketers still have a giant hurdle to overcome: convincing patients and doctors to use those new technologies for healthcare. Yes, in this time of ubiquitous technology, some people are still hesitant to go digital. Some might worry about technology disrupting their usual healthcare routines, and others might not completely understand the advantages of health tech. Still others may have privacy concerns.
Don’t worry. If you’re a healthtech marketing professional struggling to grow your market share, we’ll show you how to get people excited about healthcare technology using Ekimo, a patient-to-doctor marketplace, as an example.
During one of our regular LinkedIn Live Broadcast events, Mariam Lezhava, Head of Sales and Customer Success at Retainly, interviewed Ekimo’s CEO Irakli Mirzikashvili.
They had a wonderful conversation about how the app is making healthcare easier and more accessible for over 200,000 patients in the country of Georgia while helping 1,300 doctors grow their practices and provide better care.
But before we explore Ekimo’s healthtech engagement experience, let’s take a quick look at some benefits of healthtech digital marketing.
Healthtech digital marketing benefits
Digital channels offer a range of benefits to increase customer engagement, as people prefer to look up medical information online. Don’t you say you haven’t done so (and freaked yourself out with the results).
Digital marketing platforms can provide healthtech companies with global reach — companies can connect with people worldwide and grow beyond their local area. Ekimo uses digital marketing to reach out to Georgians living abroad who struggle to get healthcare where they live. Irakli says that connecting Georgians with doctors from their homeland really makes an impact.
It’s no secret that using search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, and social media marketing allows healthtech companies to increase their online visibility and draw in potential customers.
But what often gets overlooked is the fact that with the right marketing automation platform, you can monitor the performance of your campaigns in real-time and make quick adjustments so your message certainly hits the spot.
Still, healthtech isn’t like regular e-commerce, so traditional marketing techniques may not work.
So let’s dive into what sets digital marketing for healthtech apart from marketing in other industries.
How healthtech digital marketing differs from traditional e-commerce marketing
Healthtech marketers need to think beyond standard digital marketing strategies. Here’s why.
Stricter regulations and compliance
Healthtech companies must follow lots of privacy rules, like HIPAA in the US and GDPR in Europe.
While e-commerce businesses also deal with GDPR, healthеch marketing campaigns in the US have extra guidelines from organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The agencies have guidelines that dictate how healthtech can advertise their products, including restrictions on the claims they can make about their efficacy, safety, and intended use.
The stakes are higher when marketing health technologies. Sure, ethics matter in e-commerce too, but if things go wrong there, it’s usually not as critical as it would be in healthtech.
This means healthtech marketers must adhere to the highest ethical standards. They must be open and honest and avoid taking advantage of people in difficult situations. For example, clearly display the cost of consultation and any additional tests.
Complex decision-making process
Many people are involved in each healthtech decision, including patients, doctors, and insurance companies. Each party has their own priorities and concerns that affect their choices.
Because of these complexities, healthtech companies need to ensure their healthtech content marketing includes clear, fact-based information. They must also pay attention to how their message will connect with different stakeholders that may interact with their marketing campaign.
Irakli understands this distinction well. When it comes to marketing nonprescription products for self-care and beauty, Ekimo uses standard customer acquisition and retention strategies. However, medical services present a different challenge.
With medical services, you can't create demand for a doctor. Customers either need one or they don't. So you can't make someone want a doctor, but you can promote doctors on the platform.
With all the high ethical standards required in this field, it’s important to avoid any deceptive tricks to persuade patients to consult a doctor. So, in the case of medical services, Irakli puts user experience at the heart of Ekimo’s marketing efforts. The goal is to turn customers into brand ambassadors who spread the word about the products and services they use.
Irakli also explained how important it is for healthtech companies to understand their customers to increase engagement. Let’s explore more about what Ekimo discovered about targeting its audiences.
Understanding different healthtech target audiences
As we mentioned earlier, healthcare involves many stakeholders, so it’s essential to know who they are and their needs.
First, let's figure out who the customer is and what they’re looking for. Sometimes, the user and the patient aren't the same. For example, we offer parents the technology to manage their child's healthcare account, in which case the user and the patient are distinct. The user of the app could be a parent, while the patient is the child, or it may be a relative or friend receiving senior care services.
And sometimes, the customer is neither the user nor the patient; instead, the user might be their doctor.
Second, it’s important to consider individual user differences when promoting healthtech. Irakli mentioned that women make about 80% of the healthcare choices for their families. Healthtech providers should pay attention to trends like these and adjust their healthtech marketing campaigns accordingly to serve their users better.
And third, Irakli pointed out that platforms like Ekimo, which connects patients with doctors (among other things), should focus not only on patients’ needs, but also on doctors’ needs. Although healthcare services are designed with the customer in mind, doctors have their own requirements when providing medical services through healthtech. This makes them important decision-makers marketers must target their ads at.
Now that we’ve learned the basics of healthtech digital marketing, let’s look at some strategies that can boost your engagement with stakeholders.
Key strategies for customer engagement in healthtech marketing
Healthcare choices, like selecting a healthtech provider, can make a big difference in a person’s life. That’s why your marketing approach should be all about trust, trust, and…you guessed it! More trust. The following strategies can help you cultivate a sense of trustworthiness to form a strong connection with customers.
Supply reviews and ratings
Nearly 72% of patients read online reviews when selecting a new healthcare provider. Users can read reviews to learn whether particular specialists are known to suggest unnecessary tests or medications, typical wait times to get an appointment, and whether the doctor sees their patients on time. So encourage users to leave reviews and ratings on your healthtech platform and any other healthcare-focused review sites like Yelp and ZocDoc.
Make communication consistent
Your company can demonstrate its commitment to users’ well-being by keeping in touch with them regularly. However, it can be challenging to maintain message consistency when there are so many ways to communicate (email, text messaging, push notifications, etc.). A strong marketing automation platform can help you gather all the channels in one place, so you can have a unified view of your marketing efforts and target specific groups with their preferred communication channel.
An automated platform can also help you target specific audiences by customizing messages to patients, doctors, insurers, and so on. Automation helps you stay on top of things; you can even use event-triggered messages to reach out to users when certain events happen. For example, wouldn’t it be great to automatically send periodic reminders to users after they schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider?
You can’t tell if your healthcare campaign was successful unless you track its results to see which strategies work and which ones need adjustment.
In fact, that’s a tip Irakli shared during our interview. He said that when you provide a free app to users, keep a close eye on how much indirect revenue it generates. You can also monitor how many active and paying users your app has.
Lastly, your healthcare marketing campaigns will only work if the product or service you’re marketing has value. And we’re impressed with the value Ekimo’s platform provides. The company believes that healthcare isn’t just about medicine or doctors. Instead, it’s about people’s everyday life, habits, and routines, like sleeping, eating, and exercising.
This year, Ekimo plans to go beyond marketing doctor services and create offerings that focus more on lifestyle that promotes good health. By helping people invest in preventative health measures, Ekimo can help them reduce expenses for medical care.
Digital marketing has become a crucial segment of healthtech marketing, and mastering it is essential to capturing people’s attention and getting them excited about new technology in healthcare. The key to effective digital marketing is to understand the complexity of the healthtech field, build trust, and offer value, all while automating your healthtech campaign efforts.
And this is where Ekimo’s app excels. Ekimo has been serving its audience for over three years and also aims to expand its services to include doctor-to-doctor communication. We wish the company continued success in building a worldwide base of satisfied customers around the world!