Inbound Marketing is now the strategy to leverage to attract, acquire and convert new customers. Digital today is still largely used as a complement to offline activities, but marketing in the medical device and pharma industries is still in transition—and digital is poised to become the main marketing venue. However, for healthcare organizations to become successful through digital marketing, marketers must match how they market products with how their prospective customers learn about and shop for products.
Why Inbound Marketing?
DTC, B2C or B2B are no longer the best routes to marketing success. Nowadays, everyone online who is looking for information is a buyer—and if marketers are not matching marketing plans to a customer’s buying process, the plan simply won’t fly.
All healthcare marketers must focus marketing on delivering information and value when customers first start their online journey. Inbound Marketing is a strategy that involves attracting and converting visitors into customers through personalized, relevant information and content—and following these visitors through the sales experience with ongoing engagement.
Understand Your Customer’s Journey First
This strategy should be tied back to a customer persona—the “actor” in your story. This persona identifies behaviors, attitudes and desires that transcend traditional segmentation and reveal the customer needs that drive business results. If marketers truly understand their customers and their pathway, every online search will trigger a pathway. So every marketing action and interaction should be tailored to a persona and where they are in their journey.
How do you build personas? Through research, listening and third-party syndicated data that helps build a composite of who your customers are, where they go to find information and what problem they are trying to solve.
Offer The Right Content at Precisely The Right Time
We know that when the right content is published in the right place at the right time, marketing is most effective. So a content marketing strategy becomes a critical component of any digital marketing plan—and it is vitally important for Inbound Marketing. A marketer will know their customers because they have completed research and developed personas. Since content powers the customer journey, marketers must create content plans that appeal to customers and move them through the information gathering process. This is how it’s done:
1. Attract Visitors: For each customer journey, provide content at different points in a journey with an emphasis on providing new and different content and actions at each stage.
2. Follow the Customer Journey: Each stage not only requires different content and actions—but these must also provoke interest and provide true value. Examples include white papers, clinical studies or a training webinar.
3. Close Leads or Nurture: How to do this with healthcare and products? Solve a problem. Have a good story. Show your personality. Provide value.
4. Engage: Use social channels, personalized content on your website and email programs.
These four steps will build the framework of an Inbound Marketing strategy and turn your digital marketing into an outcome-driven, measurable activity that will actively contribute to the sales process and business growth.