Plan for Success
November 18, 2022

content planning

By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director

A wise woman once sang, 
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Strategy sets the scene for the tale”

OK, so maybe Taylor Swift borrowed that first line from Benjamin Franklin. And she definitely wasn’t singing about content strategy. But the sentiment is true: Failure to plan is planning to fail. 

With only a handful of weeks left in the year, now is the time to start thinking about your content plans and goals for 2023. Consider these four questions.

  1. What worked in 2022? Look back over the past year and determine what worked well. Did a paid campaign expand your reach and influence on social media? Did an e-book with promotional assets generate new leads? Did your weekly blog bring more traffic to your website? If it had positive results this year, consider adding similar ideas to your list for 2023.

  2. What do we want to achieve in 2023? For your content to be successful, you need to be specific with your goals. Do you want to increase website traffic? Grow your social media following? Improve conversion rates? Increase brand awareness? The most successful goals follow the SMART acronym: They are smart, measurable, actionable, relevant and timely. Assigning key performance indicators (KPIs) to your goals can help you measure your success.

  3. What changes need to be made to our current marketing materials? Did your company rebrand this year? Review your marketing materials and ensure that they are all aligned with your new brand standards. Even a simple change like updating your company’s branding colors should prompt changes to your marketing collateral. Review your email lists, your customer data platforms and your buyer personas to make sure all information is current and up-to-date. Look at content that can be repurposed in the new year, too—could an e-book become an explainer video? Could a blog post turn into an infographic? Upcycling your content can reach an audience segment that otherwise would not have found it. 

  4. Do we need a content partner? Even large companies often don’t have a marketing team that is large enough to create, implement and maintain a robust content marketing plan. This is where content partners (like Hammock!) can help. A content partner can work as an extension of the existing marketing team to develop long-form content assets, videos, blog posts, social media posts, landing pages, paid ads and more to help reach your goals. The best content partners can help you articulate your expertise around the problems you help customers solve; build credibility in the industry and establish your company as a leading authority; and provide digital marketing insights to help you reach your goals.

Do you need help planning your content marketing strategy for 2023? Give us a call.

Image: Getty Images



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here

 

 

By John Lavey

Most healthcare companies, small or large, are hard at work on marketing to customers, whether those are consumers or B2B customers. But are they raising awareness or acquiring customers? Are they better at one than the other, or are they doing both equally well?

This excellent piece by Christopher Girardi breaks down the differences between efforts to raise awareness and efforts to acquire customers. His post is primarily focused on marketing efforts by health systems and how important it is to do both awareness and acquisition marketing. And, where possible, to blend them. 

At Hammock, we have worked with large health systems that are marketing to consumers, as well as small B2B healthcare companies seeking customers—and we have seen separate, but similar, challenges between B2C and B2B players. 

Newer, smaller B2B healthcare organizations tend to be anxious to generate leads and keep them coming in, and think of all marketing efforts as sales support. They are focused on acquisition. Some of those companies overestimate awareness of their brand. And they are underinvested in awareness. 

Larger organizations, like health systems, often have siloed departments. One department buys all the media to raise awareness, and there are separate efforts to generate leads. There isn’t a lot of coordination between those efforts. What Girardi’s article shows is that acquisition efforts flourish in markets where there has been adequate attention to awareness. And correspondingly, where efforts to raise awareness sometimes fail is in the lost opportunity to drive awareness directly into an acquisition effort.

What is your organization doing on awareness and acquisition? Are you stronger at one than the other? Do you have lost opportunities?

Image: Getty Images

 



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here

 

 

By John Lavey, President

In June, Forrester released its 2022 Customer Experience (CX) Index. Forrester revealed that CX quality fell for 19% of brands tracked across 13 industries in 2022. It was the largest one-year drop in the history of the survey. 

What happened? Forrester suggested a “waning attention on customers, even though customers expect more from digital and hybrid experiences.” 

Healthcare can’t afford to drop its attention to customers. In September 2021, Press Ganey—a renowned leader in patient, member, employee and consumer experience across the healthcare ecosystem—surveyed more than 1,000 adults to evaluate consumer preferences and expectations for healthcare. What Press Ganey found and published in its 2021 Consumer Experience Trends in Healthcare Report echoes what is true in other industries: A digital-first mindset is the ticket to a positive consumer experience. 

So, how can digital content help?  For starters, organizations should focus their attention on creating trustworthy content. 

According to Press Ganey, 51.1% of patients turn to the web when choosing a new primary care provider (PCP). Even more specifically, consumers rely on search engines (22%) almost as much as they do doctor referrals (24%) to find a PCP. 

When considering content, think about these areas:

  1. Website: When patients visit your organization’s website, what do they find? Do they find stale content, stock photos, and an outdated list of services and physicians? Or do they find engaging blog posts from healthcare providers, educational material about conditions and treatments, and content that empowers them to participate in their own care?



  2. Social media: “Social media holds more opportunities than just advancing an organization’s brand and marketing strategies; it can also do a lot to help boost patient engagement,” Sara Heath wrote in a 2016 article for Patient Engagement HIT. Social media—specifically Twitter, TikTok and Facebook—can help connect prospective and current patients with patient education tools, develop a sense of community, and improve patient satisfaction.  



  3. Video: One of the best ways to build trust with prospective (and current) patients is through video. Video can make an organization seem more personable and approachable—which is important in an industry where people are often intimidated. 

How is your organization using digital content to improve the consumer experience?



About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

Every healthcare organization has stories to tell, and case studies based on success stories can be a powerful form of content marketing. A thoughtful and well-executed case study can:

  • Promote your organization’s role in helping a client address a challenge or make an improvement

  • Provide actionable strategies and insights that other clients—and potential ones—can use for the betterment of their own organizations

  • Prompt other organizations to look into your services for the first time or expand the scope of the work you are already doing for them

Unfortunately, many organizations find it daunting to convert these stories into studies that produce results. They struggle with finding the right client or story to feature, they overcomplicate the story by getting bogged down in minutiae that nobody really cares about, or they fail to make the story relevant to a larger audience.

At Hammock, our decades of experience in helping healthcare industry clients tout their successes have taught us some essential lessons about what makes a great case study:

  1. It addresses a common problem. Today’s healthcare organizations share an array of challenges, from controlling skyrocketing costs to improving the patient experience to recruiting and retaining qualified staff. What relevant lessons can others learn from your client’s experience?

  2. It focuses on results. What improvements can you point to as evidence that the client emerged from the process in a stronger position than it was before it engaged with your organization? If you have statistics to support your story, use them; quotations from client leaders can also be impressive. Can you help other organizations achieve the same results?

  3. It relates the story in a compelling way. A case study should engage readers’ interest by making them care. It should be clear, concise and unambiguous, offering relevant details about your client’s journey from point A to point B (or point Z). However, it should avoid getting so far “in the weeds” that it’s too specific or technical to be widely useful. Use of multiple formats, such as blog post, website, e-book, video and social media, can give the story staying power while accommodating people’s varying preferences.

  4. It spurs people to respond. A strong call to action encourages people to learn more about your company, whether by making a phone call, scheduling a demo, downloading an e-book or otherwise engaging.

We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about how we can help you turn your success stories into case studies that help you build on those recent successes.

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

We often take it for granted that a content calendar is part of the value we provide healthcare clients, but being able to provide timely, consistent, relevant and highly engaging content requires planning, a structured slate of content and an accompanying schedule. 

For social media, blog posts and content campaigns, having a content calendar helps you avoid duplicating content, saves you from last-minute (poor) planning, and helps you visualize your content strategy well into the future. 

Our approach to creating content for healthcare clients means creating content in advance while allowing room for timely opportunities to respond to something newsworthy that captures the attention of the audience.

Our experience over time is clients need real-time visibility (or close to that) into the status of projects in the works. So, creating a schedule in a shared, collaborative platform can be the basis for a good workflow.

The calendar, combined with status updates and performance reporting, feeds best practices and a great partnership. 

Most companies can’t create content effectively on their own. It’s too specialized and expensive to create content across media types, distribute across multiple channels, and measure to determine success.

If you are struggling to share the great stories you have to tell, consider what it will require to stay on track. A content calendar is a wonderful start.  


Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

upcycle content

By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director

Recently, one of our healthcare clients reached out and asked for our help brainstorming some new ideas. She had a white paper that her team had developed, but she wanted to find a few creative ways to repurpose the information into different forms of content.

I got to work immediately, highlighting sections of the 15-page white paper that I thought could be broken down into shorter e-books, strategy guides, tip sheets, infographics and more. I quickly realized that the white paper was chock full of insightful and helpful information that could be broken down into easier-to-digest pieces of content. 

If you have a white paper, blog post, infographic or other piece of content that needs a new lease on life, consider repurposing (or upcycling) it. Turn a series of blog posts into a guide; turn an infographic into a video; or use testimonials published on your site on your social media. The possibilities are endless. Repurposing your content has a number of benefits, including:

> Reaching a new audience. Everyone learns differently and consumes information differently. Repurposing your content in a new format—such as an infographic, a video or even a podcast—can reach an audience segment that otherwise might not have found it. 


> Boosting traffic. The main goal of repurposing content is to drive more traffic to your site—and improve conversion rates. One study found that organic search still holds the majority share among traffic sources. This means that publishing your existing content in new formats can boost traffic and drive conversions.


> Building credibility and strengthening messaging. Google likes credible, authoritative websites. Repurposing your content in new formats can help build credibility with Google because you have more content about a specific topic on your site. Plus, it strengthens your messaging, positioning you or your organization as a thought leader.

Ready to upcycle your existing content in new, fresh ways? Let us help. 

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

marketing tools

By: Steve Sullivan, Sales Director

After several years of attending healthcare technology conferences, I have noticed there are patterns that exist in the healthcare technology space.
 
And as with most conferences, the topics and buzzwords shift each year. This year’s buzz was all around artificial intelligence (AI)—if you didn’t have AI in your pitch, you were in the minority.
 
Change is constant.
 
But some things don’t change.  The basic issues facing healthcare marketers seem to be a constant—and we resonate with each of these challenges.
  • Aggressive sales goals
  • Elusive buyers and decision makers
  • Marketing and sales staff thinly stretched across competing priorities
  • The need to quantify and measure the effects of our campaigns
  • Understanding the language of healthcare audiences
  • Connecting with customers around the pain and challenges we solve
These marketing and sales process support challenges aren’t changing. Whether you have a full in-house agency or you’re a sole marketing practitioner, these challenges seem ubiquitous.
 
And with the sheer volume of technology and services companies in this space (many exhibit while hundreds stay home), having a solution and a plan to address these challenges could be the difference between staying in the game and getting outmaneuvered by the competition.
 
Connecting with audiences while differentiating from the competition is serious business. And those that have taken on institutional investments have heightened pressure to help drive that growth.
 
Simply put, if we don’t have the support, resources or trusted partner to fuel the growth engine, then we risk missing out on business opportunities, regardless of how cutting-edge our products appear.
 
So unless marketers face these challenges head on, the old maxim holds true: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

By John Lavey

Some people think about content marketing campaigns in healthcare as providing thought leadership, then pushing engaged leads into a call to action where they are entering the sales process. But sometimes that formula isn’t helpful enough, or you may want more tools to try when you are rolling out campaigns. 

One option that some healthcare marketers are succeeding with includes deploying more collaborative content tools, where the call to action might be an interactive calculator tool or worksheets to help guide a collaborative session. That session might help a customer work through an approach to a problem. 

This is a smart way to think about engaging your audience, as an alternative or supplement to e-books and webinars. 

Developing interactive calculator tools is a terrific option if you can do it in a meaningful way that your customer will trust. There are lots of options for how to build calculators, or you can select an off-the-shelf option. If building out a tool is too big a lift, offering to take your customer’s data and come back with a savings estimate provides you an opportunity to maintain a consultative role. 

One of our clients uses worksheets to facilitate a conversation with prospects. Given the complexity of the problems faced by some of your customers, this is a wise way to think about building a relationship. When you roll up your sleeves and sit down to help a prospective customer, it really changes the dynamic and builds trust.

If you want to be a truly consultative seller, then supporting your efforts with collaborative content marketing tools is something you should consider. It supports our highest aspirations: content that works!

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

WhatWorks

By John Lavey

By far, the most common question I receive from healthcare clients and prospective clients, or even friends when we talk about healthcare marketing, is: “What works?”

That question is really an umbrella for more specific questions, such as:

  1. What is effective right now at helping me get my message across or growing my business?

  2. What is the best way to spend my marketing dollars, and how can I be sure they are being spent wisely?

  3. How can I partner with someone outside, and what marketing staffing should I have internally to be successful?

These are the essential questions any organization will have about its marketing, particularly for healthcare companies that are trying to market to hard-to-reach buyers in provider, payer and pharma organizations. So, what works? Here are three key places to start, based on your answers to the following questions:

  1. Do you have a clear picture of what your customer journey looks like? When we dig into a company’s marketing, we take a look at all aspects of what it looks like, from thought leadership to sales support, event marketing, even onboarding and customer retention. If you have a clear idea of what that journey looks like, and then, where you are weaker or stronger, you have an idea of what needs attention. Invest to address gaps in content that supports that customer journey.

  2. Are you committed to more closely linking marketing to sales? Many organizations have embraced account-based marketing. All organizations have content management systems. Most have marketing investments. Rarely are all of these investments as interoperable as they could be, or should be. If you don’t have connective tissue between sales and marketing, you should fix that first.

  3. Are you ready for lead generation, or do you really need to generate demand? We all want to drive leads, and create opportunities for conversations about our solutions. But the reality is that some companies aren’t well known enough to be the “go to” for when a customer is ready to evaluate options for solutions. Those companies need to invest in thought leadership, and meeting demand for solutions to problems, even shaping conversations at the awareness stage, before it comes to consideration and decision making

Give us a call if you’d like to talk more about what isn’t working for you, and where you might start. 

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.

 

 

paid media

By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face when creating new content is promoting and distributing that content. You’ve created campaigns with engaging blog posts, thought-provoking e-books and compelling infographics—but if you are not able to ensure your target audience sees it, then what good does it really do? 

Generating qualified leads requires more than just publishing compelling content. You also need a strategy for promoting that content—focusing on all the tactics at your disposal to ensure your message reaches its intended audience. With healthcare, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, your content strategy should be highly customized and you must leverage trusted channels—industry conferences, trade media or even your own events. Another option to include in your content strategy is paid media—a way to promote content through sponsored social media posts, native advertising, paid search results, video advertisements, display ads and more. Utilizing paid media can be an effective and efficient way to reach your target audience and expand your reach.

However, when it comes to paid media, simply using Google Search ads or pay-per-click ads likely won’t help you reach your target audience or key decision-makers. Instead, turn to more specific forms of paid media, such as:

  • Social media posts: LinkedIn is one of the most effective social media platforms for B2B marketers—especially if you are implementing account-based marketing (ABM). According to Gartner, ABM is “a strategy in which a supplier targets a select group of accounts that represent significantly higher expansion or growth opportunities with tailored marketing and sales support.” Using sponsored posts on LinkedIn can target users and drive them to relevant content. On Twitter, consider promoting a post that links to high-performing content to boost it even further. 


  • Display ads: Display ads are one of the most popular forms of paid media—pop-ups, banners and videos can be found on almost every web page on the internet. However, because they are so popular, web users tend to ignore them. If you do use display ads, be sure to advertise on websites specific to your industry. For instance, if you specialize in healthcare technology, consider paying for a display ad on a site like Healthcare IT News. 



  • Sponsored content: In 2016, Business Insider predicted that sponsored content would be the fastest-growing form of native advertising over the next five years. Sponsored content can be expensive—but when choosing the right content and the right outlet, it can be effective. For example, a revenue cycle company might consider publishing a sponsored article or blog post on a site like RevCycle Intelligence.


This week, take a look at your content that could use an extra push—and look for new ways to distribute it with paid media. Need help? Give us a call. 

Image: Getty Images

 


About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.