- The share of online time spent on social networks grew by 43 percent from 2009-2010 and is the place where consumers spend the most online time.
- The mobile phone market is changing as smart phone sales overtake feature phone sales in 2011.
- 43 million tablets are expected to be sold in 2011.
- 66 percent of health information searches begin on search engines, making inbound marketing techniques such as SEO and SEM more important than ever.
When we conducted our recent Ask Ben research project – a year-long research effort where we interviewed healthcare marketing, strategy and Web professionals about their online efforts – we talked about how organizations are reaching out to consumers. And here’s a slice of what we discovered:
- Healthcare organizations are using social media to broadcast messages. Social media platforms have the potential to reach large audiences, but when you use them to simply broadcast messages, people will stop paying attention. Instead, begin by listening to what consumers are saying about you, your competition, health issues and topics of local importance. Then don’t broadcast messages – engage users. A good rule of thumb to follow: spend 80 percent of your social media activity interacting with others and only 20 percent self-promoting.
- Mobile traffic is increasing. Healthcare organizations that offer mobile sites have 5-10 percent of their overall traffic come from mobile devices, and that percentage is quickly growing. Good mobile sites are simple and offer a sub-set of the popular website content and functionality. Mobile sites should be lightweight with few images and avoid the use of Flash, which has poor support across some of the mobile operating systems.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) should always go together. Many organizations are implementing either SEO initiatives to improve organic placement or SEM campaigns to add pay per click advertising to search engines. However, few are approaching these inbound marketing challenges holistically. Organizations should be implementing both SEO and SEM techniques for maximum impact.
- Most visitors don’t see the home page. The growing traffic numbers coming from search engines (including both organic and promoted traffic) means the majority of site visitors never see your website home page. As a result, every page on the site should be optimized as a landing page. Don’t assume visitors will dig through your site to find related information. Visitors will return to Google if related content and calls to action aren’t placed directly on the page.
To connect with consumers, smart online marketers are fishing where the fish are. They’re reaching out beyond their websites and using an array of channels to connect with online audiences. These new platforms – social media, mobile and inbound marketing – can be very effective when approached strategically.