Healthcare marketers are constantly looking for ways to reach their audiences directly, effectively and with a decent ROI. With the influence of social media, mobile apps and other forms of digital marketing tactics growing wildly, some organizations are asking whether it’s worth spending any of their budgets on direct marketing anymore.

On the positive side, digital marketing has reached a level where you have virtually unlimited ways to find and engage your target audiences. That said, many companies are still achieving notable successes using offline direct marketing approaches, especially with healthcare.

Here are three things you need to know about direct marketing in healthcare today…

  1. The “Shiny Objects” Syndrome
    Direct mailings, telemarketing, face-to-face sales, catalogs, and direct response offers have been successful components of direct marketing strategies since the 1970s, and many are still used today. But the introduction of the Internet, the economic downturn in the 1990s and a shift in consumer behavior and motivation caused a tectonic shift in marketing to consumers. Many healthcare organizations began embracing more cost-effective and widely accessible online tactics to reach larger audiences.Plus—let’s be honest—organizations want to portray themselves as hip and modern, often looking for the next ‘big’ thing or the newest ‘shiny object.’ As a result, many businesses have opted to veer away from old tools almost entirely, in favor of the ones they found online. This may be a good strategy if your population is predominantly under 40 but older populations tend to favor traditional direct marketing methods. Audience identification is key.
  2. You Can (and Should) Leverage Content with Online MarketingThe rising popularity of content marketing has proven a successful tool for many healthcare organizations. The creation of valuable content helps to classify them as experts and influential thought leaders in their industry. The most commonly used marketing tactics include a company blog, informational webinars, white papers, e-newsletters and direct email campaigns.Social media plays a critical role in reaching your audiences, especially through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (even Instagram!) not only on their desktops, but also on their mobile devices. Leveraging these as part of your direct marketing strategies is key to optimizing end results:
    • Facebook – Users are less interested in intrusive advertising and as a result, ad space is limited. However, you can reach users via a powerful image, engaging or funny video, or educational blog. Strategies like these allow you to reach them directly and instantly, and prompt them to share and comment, while spreading your key messages to others.
    • Twitter – While the news feed is very fast-moving, constantly updating, and limited to 140 characters of text, its immediacy makes it a great tool for companies to build a loyal following, reinforce content and drive website traffic.
    • LinkedIn – This professional site allows businesses to join groups and discussion boards about both general and very niche topics. For healthcare companies, this can be a very useful tool to learn more about target audiences while disseminating relevant, expert information to them as well.
  3. Combining Digital and Direct Marketing Maximizes Results
    The most successful marketing campaigns are those that employ both online and offline methods. Many studies show that direct mail, phone outreach, brochures, etc., provide the personal touch that customers when selecting a solution provider. Offline marketing can further reinforce its online communication. Combining digital and direct marketing increases customer engagement and loyalty while. While online marketing is a primary touch-point, it’s beneficial to continue these well-known tactics in concert with offline engagement for maximum results. In the end, it’s not a choice of digital OR direct marketing. B2B marketers must use both tactics to effectively reach our socially adept, information-driven prospects.

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