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Marketing in private health care has a great deal to do with getting the targeting right. Patients and customers are influencing the way this sector promotes its services. No longer can you push services towards an open minded audience; on the contrary, patients are becoming ever more informed and clued up ahead of making their own decisions about where to source the hospital, clinic, treatment, products or drugs they feel they need.
This trend is primarily due to the rise in popularity of private healthcare in the United Kingdom. No longer is it a luxury; for many it is a natural choice. Whether it’s physiotherapy or chiropractic; dentistry; plastic surgery; psychotherapy or medical supplies, patients and customers are no longer prime targets for traditional marketing initiatives.
Patients and Customers of Today Want Information, not Sales Talk
Whereas previously an advert in a magazine would be sufficient to prompt interest, these days consumers are so much more informed about what they require and what they need to look for, that they wouldn’t dream of making any decisions without consulting the proverbial Dr Google.
For the most part, consumers are not ready to make a buying decision when they start searching for information. For this reason, the importance of delivering a wealth of information based content cannot be over-emphasised. What you don’t want to be doing is just talking about what you offer. What you do want to be doing is providing helpful, informative content that is not selling orientated but instead geared towards helping with the purchasing decision. In a nutshell, you need to build brand trust, and you will only do this by delivering useful, unbiased guidance.
This is why straightforward advertising campaigns rarely work in the private healthcare sector. Instead, strategies need to be developed that involve content silos: informative content that drives the consumer to your service by being helpful rather than salient.
Private Healthcare Sector Marketing Initiatives
So what should a private healthcare marketing campaign incorporate? Here are our suggestions.
Pay per click or online display advertising should not be discounted; however instead of adverts linking through to sales-orientated landing pages and being geared towards a sales call to action, the ads should be designed to deliver information. With the wording of the ads crafted to offer informative insights, and the click-through pages solely delivering useful detail in exchange for an email address, you will have a much more enhanced opportunity of starting a relationship cycle with a prospective client.
According to Geocentric, 81 per cent of people click on a sponsored link whilst seeking health information. This means paid advertising channels should factor in a private healthcare campaign and consideration should be given, depending on the target audience, to Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
The Content Marketing Institute reports that 58 per cent of healthcare marketers use blogs, whereas 74 per cent of ALL marketers make use of blogging. This shows that healthcare has quite a way to go to catch up, and is perhaps missing a trick.
Demonstrating expertise and authority through informative, expert content is the ideal way to capture early attention whilst consumers are researching a health related issue. It is clear that competitors are not making good use of this platform, so there you have an open opportunity.
Also bear in mind that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of internet users seeking health information online have been thwarted by a pay wall, and 83 per cent of them said that this made them navigate elsewhere to find the same information. So the message is, publish content, and make it free. You can of course put premium content behind an email wall, so that you can start building a mailing list, but it is important to make some content free and open to all to get the ball rolling.
Reputation means a great deal in the healthcare sector. According to Google, the reputation of a healthcare facility is considered important by 94 per cent of prospective patients.
Online reviews are essential and should be actively encouraged, whether on review platforms such as Reevoo or Trust Pilot; directly on your website or on Google, Facebook or LinkedIn. It is much better to invite reviews and deal with anything that is less than positive than to have no reviews at all.
Google says that just over half (52 per cent) of patients use health information websites for research. To this end, not only should you be focusing on relationship development with patients and potential patients, you should also be working on building bridges with the healthcare related websites that your target audience trust and spend time on.
Authority websites often invite guest comment and content, it’s just a matter of researching what is accepted and how to present it. You may find yourself as a featured author on a well-respected website, which will help boost your own profile and drive traffic to your own website.
Once you have started to build your lists, perhaps by exchanging premium content for email addresses, or by using your existing clients and third parties you have begun developing relationships with, you should start to use email marketing to your advantage.
Regular updates will help you nurture relationships. Health tips are particularly effective, but you have the opportunity to present an array of advice, guidance and information to patients to help and reassure them concerning their ongoing health and well-being, all the while building trust during the ‘incubation period’ whilst prospective patients or clients are developing into actual patients or clients.
Social Media Marketing
Reaching out to patients and clients using the platforms they know and love is the obvious way forward.
Social media is a powerful way to connect with a healthcare audience. The fact that it is engagement orientated is very important, as it will help to create brand advocates who will become your own virtual marketing team by sharing your content and spreading the word about your service and products.
Hundreds of thousands of consumers are connecting with social platforms numerous times per day. Providing you put together a well-defined strategy so that you know what you are aiming to achieve, and are delivering the right information, in the right tone of voice to the right people, there is no reason why it shouldn’t prove extremely effective for you in generating leads, enquiries, sales and boosting the awareness of your brand.
DC Interactive Group says that 41 per cent of people would be influenced by social media when choosing their healthcare provider.
Private health care sector marketing calls for specialist techniques; after all, if you are promoting specialist services, then your prospective patients will expect and accept nothing less.
If you operate in the private healthcare sector, you will benefit from tapping into specialist expertise when it comes to reaching out to your audience. Figment can offer this expertise through a proven track record of success across this industry.
Whether you’re looking to create a new website; are seeking a branding review or want to devise an online marketing strategy, we have the knowhow to assist you. Please get in touch and we can chat through what you need.