What’s the Most Valuable Digital Marketing Tool Available to Health Systems Today?


“Our website – but you must advertise it!” according to one respondent from Geonetric’s recent Healthcare Digital Marketing Survey.

And he isn’t alone. 89% of respondents will use their websites for service line promotion in 2014. While the website serves as the destination, the “build it and they will come” school of digital marketing has gone by the wayside. Digital marketers have realized that a broader set of promotional tools are needed to connect the destination website with consumers.

Permission-based marketing has been the name of the game in recent years with much attention both inside healthcare and across other industries paid to the benefits of social media engagement. Nearly all healthcare organizations are using Facebook (99%), YouTube (94%) and Twitter (86%) in 2014. After languishing in the shadow of social media tools, email marketing is seeing big growth in 2014 as well (up 15% to 82% of organizations)!

Content marketing, which utilizes both permission-based platforms and paid promotion is popular as well (75%).

One of the big realizations by healthcare organizations in 2013 is that using only permission-based promotion opportunities leaves a lot of value on the table, and a lot of potential patients out in the cold.

Healthcare organizations are taking advantage of the wide range of pay-to-play options available. Locally-focused websites such as newspapers or radio station sites were most popular (66%) followed closely by Google AdWords (64%) and Facebook Ads (58%). While other options drop off from there, consumer health sites such as WebMD and Livestrong (35%), online video and music sites (22% and 19% respectively) and other paid search options such as Microsoft Ad Center (16%) demonstrate the growing level of experimentation underway with healthcare advertising today.

While a growing number of providers outsource their integrated marketing work (24%), most manage that in-house (65%). On average, survey respondents spent 9% of their staff time on digital marketing tasks, 7% on SEO and 11% on social media.

In the end, these tools seem most successful for organizations applying them strategically towards goals that are meaningful for the organization. Those looking strictly for traffic generation expressed that they were seeing little value while those connecting these paid advertising tools to landing pages with distinct calls to action saw a more robust value proposition for digital marketing in the future.

Want to learn more? Download the Digital Marketing in Healthcare eBook.

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This entry was posted in Admin Feed, Best Practices, Content, eHealth, Industry Trends, Marketing, Research by Ben Dillon. Bookmark the permalink.
Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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