The Challenges of Digital Advertising for the Healthcare Industry

Digital Marketing Blue Laser Digital on August 15, 2019

Without the right know-how and team behind you, the digital advertising world can be difficult to navigate. Every industry faces its own marketing challenges, but one industry in particular has it tough: the healthcare industry.

When you’re equipped with the right tools and partner with an expert agency experienced in the healthcare industry, on the other hand, you can see the payoff of a well-designed and well-executed marketing plan.

Here are five of the biggest challenges digital marketers face in the healthcare industry.

1. Trust is Hard to Achieve and Retain

In the healthcare industry, the audience you target includes people who need medical attention. Health is a personal and sensitive subject, and that means not only is it difficult to gain clients’ trust, it’s hard to retain that trust once you have it. What might be a small marketing slip-up in a different industry can make a huge impact on someone’s life in healthcare, so all marketing efforts are serious. Pharma and the healthcare industry at large battle poor reputations and a lack of trust between consumers, only making marketing that much more challenging.

2. HIPAA is Limiting

The marketing industry harnesses information in order connect consumers with products or services. HIPAA protects that information. So, all of your marketing efforts must be HIPAA-compliant. That means, before sending out targeted email blasts, for example, every patient must give express permission before you can use their contact information. Your third-party email marketing tool must be HIPAA compliant. Any patient information that your website collects must be encrypted. Achieving HIPAA compliancy is no small undertaking for an inexperienced marketer.

Not complying can leave you open for huge lawsuits. In 2018, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston didn’t correctly encrypt patient information, resulting in the leak of more than 33,000 patients’ health information. The hospital was fined $4.3 million.

3. Reviews Are Important

We know that, despite the work we put in every day to help our clients succeed, word of mouth is still the most trusted referral method. A restaurant might have hundreds of great reviews, but if your best friend says she found a bug in her food, you’re not likely to eat there. However, if you don’t have someone who can vouch for the organization, reviews are the second best option. The problem is that many healthcare professionals don’t see the importance of internet reviews.

Plus, it’s a hospital, not an ice cream shop. Most people don’t want to be there, so their experience is unlikely a happy one. That’s why it’s so important for physicians to follow up with patients who have had good outcomes, and it’s critical that every patient-facing employee provides a phenomenal experience. Then, industry professionals can gently encourage patients and family members to leave positive online reviews.

4. A Different Kind of Client

“Customers” of the healthcare industry are different than the average customer. Similarly, physicians, nurses and everyone else who works in the healthcare industry are unlike a typical partner. The healthcare industry has changed; in the past, patients simply visited the closest urgent care, emergency room or hospital. Now, they’re doing their research – choosing physicians and hospitals that share their beliefs, have a unique atmosphere or that have a widespread reputation. Still, there’s a disconnect between how healthcare leaders want to advertise, and the research and experience that marketing professionals have. Educating healthcare industry leaders on how the industry has changed and, thus, how their marketing plans should change, can be another barrier for marketers.

5. Shortage of Time and Money

Because many healthcare leaders are not sold on the value of digital marketing, industry professionals often allocate little time and money to digital marketing. If they don’t see immediate results, they want to turn off the digital marketing efforts. Without the internal marketing personnel or the right agency partnership, healthcare decision makers can struggle to put their trust in a digital marketing strategy, especially if they haven’t updated their strategy in a while and feel uncertain in the new age of digital marketing.


Time to Modernize Your Marketing Plan

If you feel your digital marketing strategy isn’t working, or you’re ready to start using the marketing industry’s best practices without sacrificing the trust you’ve built with your consumers, Blue Laser Digital can help. Our marketing team has years of experience in the healthcare industry and they can help you stay ahead of industry changes, capture a new audience and shore up your existing client base. Contact Blue Laser Digital for information on how we can help your healthcare organization with a digital marketing strategy.