Trends & Best Practices For B2B Digital Marketing in Health Care

New technology and evolving consumer preferences are shaking up digital marketing. Health care marketers are responding with a variety of strategies, including Twitter chats, live event videos, and thought leadership pieces. We recently spoke with Colin Hung, chief marketing officer & editor at HealthcareScene and SmartBrief’s Publisher for Health Care, Wynn Hansen to discuss some of these trends.

Our most recent webinar: Trends and Best Practices for B2B Digital Marketing in Health Care covered topics such as:

•    Major trends in health care digital marketing

•    Social media platforms and best practices

•    Content marketing and thought leadership

•    Digital marketing challenges and putting insights into action

The full webinar is now on-demand.

Major Trends in Health Care Digital Marketing

We kicked off the conversation discussing what trends marketers are seeing in health care. One of the most prominent of these trends is social media communities. Groups, chats, and hashtags are all a great way for marketers to reach a pre-qualified audience. While not a new trend, content marketing is still very well received with health care audiences. When asked why content marketing resonated so well, Hung answered that “content is so popular in health care because health care itself is an evidence-based industry. We are used to consuming content in health care so it’s natural that it extends to the buying process.”

Distribution matters in building your brand and extending content reach. “It doesn’t matter how good your content is if you are not getting it in front of the right people,” Hansen pointed out and Hung chimed in to mention that, “good content distributed properly is way better than great content that is not distributed at all.” Health care has also seen a huge increase in video content and it is useful in that you can convey more than you can in the written word. Live-streamed events by B2B companies have also increased in demand.

The last trend we covered was personalization. Personalization can boost ROI on marketing spend by up to eight times. And it can increase sales by 10% or more, according to McKinsey analysts. Hung made it clear that there are two aspects of personalization, the literal aspect of using hello and including the person’s name and a deeper level of personalizing the experience or marketing journey to individuals. ”Unfortunately, a lot of marketers stop at the first level of saying hello but to succeed you have to dive a bit deeper and tailor the content journey to talk to your different buyer personas.”

Social Media Platforms and Best Practices

 When it comes to social media platforms, our poll showed that marketers are taking advantage of multiple platforms including, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn with LinkedIn being the most popular for B2B marketing campaigns as it provides avenues for both long and short form content, which makes it quite comfortable and powerful.

One thing to keep in mind when utilizing social platforms is that it shouldn’t be used as a broadcast service and you should be encouraging interaction and forging relationships. Hansen encourages engaging with your audiences where conversations are happening. Following a certain hashtag or joining in a Twitter chat can help to learn what your customers are talking about and engaging in regularly. Utilize Facebook and Instagram to help humanize your organization. Hung recommends sharing pictures of office happenings or charity events as that is the type of social content prospects will remember the most.  

Content Marketing and Thought Leadership

A memorable quote from Hansen is that “to have thought leadership, first you have to have a thought.” Sales cycles can be so long in health care and decisions aren’t being made overnight and your company needs to be filling in the gaps and answering any questions that your target audience may have throughout the entire sales cycle. “Don’t just focus on your brand, or product, or solution.”  You can’t be selling the whole time and thought leadership pieces will help to fill in the holes and keep your company top-of-mind.

Blogging is becoming more popular and we asked Hung whether it is important for a company to maintain a blog and how that figures into a broader marketing strategy? He provided good insight and the main takeaway is that you shouldn’t create a blog for the sake of having a blog. If you really want to establish trust you have a take a serious look at your distribution. If you are updating your blog regularly you should look to LinkedIn and Twitter to point people back to your posts.

Hansen stated that, “creating awesome and relevant content is only part of the journey.  You need to find a way to get things in front of your prospects. If you write it and they don’t come it doesn’t matter, it’s the tree falling in the woods.”

One way to build your content library and make sure it’s relevant is to simply ask your customers. Hung reminds us that it’s important to get out there and talk to your customers during the buying cycle to see how your content is resonating with them.

Digital Marketing Challenges and Putting Insights into Action

We found that some of the biggest challenges for marketers are, reaching the right audience, using social media for broadcast instead of engagement, following rigid rules about content length and failing to take advantage of available information that can help target customers. Hung shared, “the biggest mistake I see is trying to make a piece of content do too much.” If marketers are feeling overwhelmed with digital strategy he suggests starting with a single asset, a single goal, a single call to action.

A big takeaway in crafting your digital marketing strategy is to be willing to embrace a multi-channel approach. There may be benefits to running via all the channels and platforms but remember the main goal is to be authentic in your brand voice.

What Marketers Should Keep in Mind

You really have to go back to how people buy from you and you need to match your marketing strategy to your buying journey. It will probably be a multi-pronged strategy. Don’t take a shot in the dark, go find what your customers want. Don’t create your strategy in a vacuum, put yourself in your prospects shoes and think about it for a while. 

For some companies, it feels pretty new to be developing content, but we are seeing here at SmartBrief that a lot of people are doing content and in some segments of health care it’s all very similar. We encourage you all to think about what makes your company and your work different and weave that into every piece you create.

For more insights make sure you catch up with the webinar on-demand. Trends and best practices for B2B digital marketing in health care.