12 Medical Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

April 18, 2016

Marketing is an inexact science. Even the most accomplished marketing gurus will occasionally create a campaign that falls flat on its face. The medical marketing niche is more challenging than other businesses because medical marketers are typically charged with selling an array of highly regulated services rather than tangible products.

Let's take a look at some of the top digital medical marketing mistakes and provide some advice to help you avoid these pitfalls.

1. An Undefined Campaign Aim

Every medical marketer should have clearly defined campaign goals. Purchasing space for online banner ads, investing in SEO or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and other online marketing endeavors should not be initiated until their accompanying goals are established.

Define each digital marketing campaign's goals before executing the work. By doing this, you will be able to track which efforts are successful as well as those that underwhelm. Measurable objectives such as the number of form completions, sales, or sign-ups will provide concrete data as to whether the return on investment justifies a particular campaign.

2. Failing to Apply a Patient-Centric Mentality

Independent medical practices owners and surgeons who fail to put themselves in the position of their patients are more likely to launch flawed campaigns. It's important to invest the time and effort necessary to personalize the digital marketing content in a manner that enhances your brand awareness and improves patients' experience.

3. Targeting the Wrong Audience

Your medical marketing team could be creating high-quality content that has the potential to convert your practice's targeted audience. However, failing to get these campaigns in front of your ideal patient demographic will inevitably doom your team's efforts. Use online tools like cookies and tracking pixels to reach your targeted group. Promote your digital marketing material to a defined audience at an appropriate time and your practice will reap the benefits.

4. Inaccurate or Impersonal Attempts at Personalization

To the surprise of many, a considerable number of medical marketers fail to properly personalize their digital marketing content. You must pay attention to the small stuff such as the patient's name and interests. Leverage the insights you gather through technology to facilitate the matching of products and services to distinct audiences.

5. Automated Direct Messaging

It is quite tempting to send automated direct messages on Twitter. Yet these messages actually serve as turn-offs to most customers. Such messages are impersonal and might even annoy prospective patients.

6. Failing to Update Social Media Accounts

Social media is a critically important marketing channel that has the potential to greatly increase your patient base. Be social! Do not create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, abandon them and fail to interact with followers. Post regular updates and engage in dialogues when potential patients pose questions or make comments.

7. Failing to Perform A/B and Split Testing

Employ A/B testing to maximize the impact of your practice's e-mails. Run a test by sending out the same message to two small groups with different subject lines. When you send the mass emailing to all subscribers, use the subject line that performed best.

8. Discarding Email Marketing

As you redirect your marketing focus toward compatibility with mobile devices and social media, you should also make an effort to tap into email marketing. Though each potential patient might not read an email newsletter in its entirety, most will at least open and scan it. Emails increase your practice's brand awareness and builds a rapport with those who are considering whether they should schedule an appointment.

9. Failing to Interact with Your Practice Liaison

Be sure to regularly communicate with your practice liaison. Marketers and practice liaisons should speak/email with one another throughout the workweek. This communication improves understanding, gets employees on the same page and increases the odds of qualified leads. Medical marketing and practice liaison teams should get together for a minimum of one meeting per month.

10. Disregarding Mobile Technology

The general societal trend in terms of computer and web use is a movement away from traditional desktops/laptops toward web-enabled mobile devices. A shocking 62 percent of customers rely on these mobile technologies to access digital media. Do not overlook this audience! Optimize your website and marketing efforts so they look good and function properly on mobile platforms.

11. Paying for a Social Media Following

Though it is certainly tempting to pay for social media followers, doing so is a mistake. A considerable number of followers will not propel your practice into the spotlight. Instead, make an effort to establish meaningful connections with prospective patients who will benefit from your practice's services.

12. Failing to Consistently Gauge Results

Measure your marketing campaign results on a regular basis to determine if the money and time invested in these efforts generate a substantial ROI. Do not be intimidated by this endeavor! Use Google Analytics or other online analytics tools to gauge the results of your digital marketing campaigns. Once you analyze the results, go ahead and modify your marketing strategies to increase conversions. The bottom line is that if you fail to measure the impact of your digital marketing campaigns, you will never know whether they made a meaningful impact on potential patients.

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