05/16/2019 in Blog
An effective omnichannel strategy doesn't have to be hard.
As a matter of fact, it can evolve naturally. That's because omnichannel marketing is a healthcare marketing method that develops organically when you target and engage with your healthcare consumers in their channel of choice. With all of the options marketers have — between social, direct mail, search, website content, and beyond — there may be pressure to try and do everything on every channel…even if there isn't the time or budget to make it work. But with the right support from a customer data platform (CDP) powered healthcare CRM, you'll be able to more efficiently and effectively target consumers no matter where they engage with your brand. A data-driven approach to engagement leaves your team time to focus on which messages work best for which channels and leaves the heavy lifting of serving pertinent campaign content to technology. This comes with the added bonus of seeing better results from your omnichannel marketing initiatives!
To get a better feel for how that plays out, let's take a look at some example campaigns and the channel tactics that support them.
Acquisition & Retention
Keeping up with the hospital across town takes diligent focus. Most likely your stakeholders are interested in two very important business results — increasing market share by bringing in new patients and making sure you’re top of mind as a partner for your community’s healthcare needs. This adds up to a need to get in front of them early and stay there. Remember, to be truly effective in omnichannel marketing, you have to consider that healthcare is a 24/7 relationship with your consumers.
Your healthcare consumers are constantly searching for health information and most often online — that's both before and after they establish a relationship with you. First and foremost, make sure you aim to win at local search, especially on the acquisition side. Additionally, make sure to leverage symptom-focused keywords and convenience offerings that standout to consumers, like same-day, next-day, and quick appointments (on a side note: I’d absolutely love to see providers offering a 48-hour appointment guarantee “fast-lane” for established patients).
A social media presence allows you to develop and nurture digital relationships with current and future patients which can help to establish your brand in your local community. Social campaigns that address common health issues in your area through HRAs and other content, as well as promote in-person events, are good ways to stay top of mind with your target population.
New transplants to your area, even ones who are in the process of moving, represent a great opportunity to connect with customers who haven't yet put down healthcare provider roots. This type of campaign is an opportunity to connect early in the moving process and follow them along once they get settled. But, don’t forget some consumers move within your service area. They may go from a location that uses one ER to an area with a different ER, and you’ll want to reach out and let them know about the different levels of care in their new area.
Channel: Local Search
Your future patients are being advised to check out providers even before they move, so don't miss out on the opportunity to be a highlighted result in their local searches. Make sure your listings are up to date so you're ranking high in their research before they even settle on a moving company.
Channel: Direct Mail
Direct mail is a great channel option to follow up with your movers at their new home address. It's especially powerful if you can create fluidity through the campaign with a targeted understanding of their demographics and needs. (A customer data platform is a great way to pull that off with advanced analytics and deep-learning enabled modeling capabilities.)
The post-surgical period is an awesome opportunity to improve outcomes for your patients ... and your population health initiatives. It's also a great time to talk to them directly and meet them where they are as a resource in addressing their health goals.
Create a care experience that flows directly from procedure to the home with a personal phone follow-up that reminds your patients and caregivers you're still available as an aid and partner in their recovery. Even automated text messages can support the experience.
Keep the conversation going with a targeted newsletter that reminds your patients, once again, that you're there to help in coordinating follow-up appointments, answering care questions, and even settling bill and payment concerns.
Patient Financial Experience
Hospital stays usually only last a few days, but the billing process can last months, even years. Campaigns to improve your financial relationship with your patients are a prime chance to show the value of your omnichannel efforts and to do what it does best and follow your patients organically in the ways they prefer to relate to you.
Channel: Direct Mail
Whether you've got a killer digital payment initiative going on or if you still bill mostly on paper, direct mail will always have potential in reaching patients. Even Millennials have a special place in their heart for snail mail, so don't overlook its power as a component of an omnichannel financial communications campaign.
It's no secret that a lot of healthcare consumers have trouble with the billing process, especially if they've been in for complicated procedures. Email is the perfect opportunity to educate these patients about the variety of payment options or plans your organization offers — online billing, pay by phone, via regular mail, etc. Addressing this issue head on can help clear up confusion and prevent dissatisfaction with the patient financial experience.
Even if you feel like you're an omnichannel master, the most important thing to keep in mind is to let your healthcare consumers be your guide. Start there, and there's no channel you won't be able to optimize. (And don't forget to track your metrics!)
Want to learn more about what technology supports an omnichannel strategy? Read more here.