Given the fact that healthcare-related searching lives close to the top of all online consumer behavior, it only makes sense that forward-thinking healthcare brands are pouring more and more resources into developing well-rounded search strategies. For many marketers, however, this represents a challenging trade off. With limited budgets, more for search means less for some other part of the mix. And awareness advertising is often the first to get chopped.
That’s the sort of move that can actually do more harm than good. Here’s why.
For the typical healthcare marketer, there are two broad-based patient segments to contend with: current patients and potential patients.
For the purposes of this topic, let’s focus on potential patients. While we can further segment these audiences into countless additional subsets, the two main subsets have to be people who are aware of your brand, and people who are unaware of your brand. And depending on current market conditions, these numbers can shift dramatically should you take your foot off the gas when it comes to awareness.
In North Texas, for example, over 100,000 new residents move into the area each year, and they all share two things in common: they all need healthcare, and they all have little-to-no awareness of the local choices.
Search plus awareness equals success for healthcare brands.
As we point out in our 2016 Report on healthcare marketing, most potential patients will ultimately choose a provider they were already aware of prior to initiating a specific search. So marketers who choose to pull back on awareness efforts are missing a crucial opportunity to gain top-of-mind status with this important audience.
Indeed, as the report shows quite clearly, the best approach is a coordinated effort that combines ongoing awareness outreach with targeted search. This method has proven time and again to be far more effective at driving new patients to a provider than by taking an either/or approach.
Simply put, awareness still matters for healthcare brands. And here in North Texas, we’ve got over 100,000 new reasons a year why.