What is Lead Generation in Healthcare?
Lead generation in healthcare involves identifying and attracting new prospective patients interested in healthcare information products, services or solutions, converting such new prospective patients into qualified medical leads and then moving them closer to becoming new paying patients.
Effective healthcare lead-generation strategies can help top doctors, surgeons, medical practices, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare technology providers in the healthcare industry connect with their target audience and develop predictable new patient acquisition channels. The primary goal of lead generation in healthcare as a marketing strategy is to attract and communicate with strangers who are actively searching for your high-niche medical services and then ultimately convert these healthcare leads into more paying patients or consumers of healthcare-related products and services.
Why Generate Leads in Healthcare?
Till about 10 years ago, many healthcare providers considered ‘going viral’ their only online marketing objective. Like most other businesses, marketers in the healthcare industry equated success in healthcare sector marketing with a flood of likes, shares, and traffic. The quality of attention was largely ignored for the quantity of attention.
But these are nothing but vanity metrics. Vanity metrics refer to data points or measurements that may look impressive but do not provide meaningful insights into the actual performance of the quality of your healthcare lead generation to predictably and consistently generate leads that set appointments. These metrics often create the illusion of progress but lack a direct correlation with crucial business outcomes.
Fast forward about ten years and hundreds of clients later, most healthcare providers have now realized that revenue is the metric that speaks the most. And the best way marketers can influence this metric is by generating good leads.
Lead generation in healthcare is the strategic approach that involves creating awareness, nurturing relationships, and converting leads into a loyal base of new paying patients. It consists of collecting contact information from prospective clients (or patients) and using that information to send them marketing materials in the future. Information is usually collected through a form, which potential leads fill out in exchange for something of real value, like exclusive content or more information.
When a potential lead (or a potential patient in this case) gives you that information, it is assumed that they are keen to know about your healthcare product or service, and you can nurture them toward purchasing your product by sharing more related and exclusive content.
In industries like inbound marketing and sales, when this act of interest and intent triggers your action, it’s essential to realize how to craft a strategy that helps create qualified leads. It is even more necessary to chalk out a winning strategy here because the role of the Internet in disseminating healthcare-related information is enormous these days.
Below is a set of stats that provide a larger picture.
Healthcare Marketing Statistics
Statistics that show why your healthcare lead generation must be top-notch:
The above data shows a variety of healthcare consumers running an online search in search engines before scheduling appointments with their respective healthcare providers.
Here are some more numbers:
|Source: Think With Google
|There are around 100 billion searches for the healthcare industry on Google alone each year. That’s 273 million healthcare searches per day.
|‘Near-me’ searches for healthcare services have doubled in the last few years and are tremendously growing.
|Source: Pew Research
|Source: Ruler Analytics
|Around 70% of internet users look online for healthcare-related information and medical problems.
|Organic and paid searches drive up to 76% of website traffic in healthcare.
|Source: Pew Research
|A whopping 70% of word-of-mouth referrals show online patient reviews as the primary driver of choosing medical practitioners.
|Around 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations in healthcare.
Given the trust many patients build through considering online information as a valuable data source towards making their purchasing decisions of healthcare services, it’s even more critical that medical marketers create top-of-the-line healthcare lead generation strategies to match that demand.
Therefore, as a healthcare marketer, you must qualify your leads well and familiarize them with trusted information about your healthcare services because if leads are qualified, they are likely to convert.
It’s crucial to create that best-in-class medical marketing strategy because your competitors are also aware of all this information. As such, it is exceedingly difficult to succeed in developing a successful new patient acquisition system without an in-depth healthcare lead generation strategy.
The Importance of Qualified Leads in Healthcare
Prospective leads entering the sales funnel must know the healthcare products they’re interested in. This is where the marketing team plays a crucial role.
For inbound sales to work, your inbound marketing team must be good enough to make your prospects as qualified as possible so that they turn into customers without delay when interacting with your sales team.
Here, the marketing team does the main job of educating customers through tailored interactions. If marketers do their job well at this stage in creating that awareness among the leads, chances are the leads will convert into customers after interactions with the sales team.
But, before your inbound marketing team sends your leads to your inbound sales team, your marketing team must follow a series of steps.
Steps In Healthcare Lead Generation
Your marketing team must follow the steps below as part of your lead generation:
- A plan for generating quality leads in healthcare
- A plan for creating the conversion path
- A plan for qualifying leads or potential patients
- A plan for segmenting and handing off leads
Generating quality leads
Your healthcare lead generation strategy must involve a plan for what you will do to get people to convert to your website and enter your database. Precisely, that means making compelling offers in terms of high-quality content you need to provide to reach potential patients who will convert. This could mean a downloadable guide, an ebook, a case study, a blog, a webinar, a newsletter, or any other exclusive content. You should know what information is of value to your healthcare consumers and what subject matter needs to be covered to engage consumers in their buying journey.
Creating the conversion path
Next, you must outline all the elements needed to complete a conversion path – your call-to-action (CTA), landing page, form, thank-you page, and follow-up email. This path must contain the steps or actions that a potential patient or healthcare consumer takes, from initial interaction with a healthcare provider to becoming an active patient or a loyal customer. The goal of a conversion path is to guide individuals through a systematic process that encourages them to make an appointment with a doctor, use a healthcare service, or buy a healthcare-related product.
Qualifying potential patients
This is the stage of your healthcare lead generation strategy where you chalk out the exact criteria for lead quality. In other words, it’s what a qualified lead must look like. These criteria help prioritize leads based on their potential value and relevance. They may include a patient’s age, gender, healthcare needs, medical condition, urgency, insurance status, insurance coverage, type of insurance, referral source, engagement level, website interaction, email engagement, previous patient history, returning patients, and loyalty.
You may assign a numerical score against each criterion. You may then select your leads with higher scores, indicating higher quality to ensure you get qualified medical leads.
Segmenting, following up, and handing off leads
Once you have segmented your leads based on their scores, your next plan should be how you will follow up with each qualified lead and hand them off to your sales team. You must decide on the information you will deliver in your follow-up email. Also, you should decide whether your follow-up process will be one-step or multi-step.
You must have answers to all these questions. It would help to have all these plans and processes well documented in your healthcare lead generation blueprint.
Below is a quick summary of the above steps:
|Generating Quality Leads
Your first objective should be attracting leads through healthcare-related marketing materials like whitepapers, newsletters, blogs, case studies, social media, emails, etc.
|Creating The Conversion Path
You must then chalk out the step-by-step conversion path, which may include the call-to-action (CTA), Thank You page, form, and follow-up email.
|Qualifying The Medical Leads
Next, you must qualify and educate the best leads. Here, you must pick medical leads who are urgently or immediately ready to invest in your healthcare product or service.
|Segmenting And Hand-Off
You should then hand off those qualified medical leads to your sales team and also share your leads’ needs and budgets for your sales process to warm them up faster.
It’s important to know that inbound marketing and sales teams work in cohesion. Both teams are interdependent and must work together to attract, engage, and convert potential patients.
Both teams must share a philosophy focused on providing value to the audience, fostering meaningful relationships, and aligning with the patient’s journey. None of the two teams can work successfully without the other. By working cohesively, the teams can create a more practical approach to customer acquisition and retention.
The Process Of Lead Generation in Healthcare
Now that you are familiar with how crucial your inbound marketing and sales teams are, let’s delve into what the actual medical lead generation and sales process looks like:
- Blogs/Social Publishing – Blog posts and social publishing on healthcare topics work wonders for healthcare lead generation.
- Forms/Landing Pages – Once visitors get attracted to your website, a Landing Page or a Form works like magic in fetching potential lead information (e.g., name, phone number, email, etc.)
- Email Workflows – Once you have lead information, sending bulk emails to your subscribers’ list becomes easier.
- Follow-ups/Surveys – After you’re done with sending emails, sending follow-up questions to your prospects is crucial to improving your marketing in the future.
But what does it look like when it’s all put together?
A Typical Lead Generation Campaign in Healthcare
In most cases, website visitors will first find out about your healthcare business through a blog or an article on the search engine. Let’s say it’s a blog post on – “Symptoms of COVID Infection and its Treatment.” This blog post will bring your visitors to your website.
Once visitors land on your website, they might encounter a lead magnet stating – “5 Key Symptoms of COVID and Medical Care.” As they click on the call-to-action (CTA), they get redirected to a landing page where they see a paragraph stating what the template covers, a thumbnail showing what the template looks like, a video discussing it in more detail, and finally, a form asking them to fill out.
As your visitors fill out this form, you get new lead information in your database. Your leads are then taken to a Thank You page with a button to view other related blogs on healthcare and treatments.
Your leads may also find this Thank You message reflected in their emails. This Thank You message may be one of the first of several follow-up messages in the lead nurturing process to send more personalized campaigns later. It may be one of the first pushes to send your target member down the marketing funnel.
In other cases, your potential healthcare leads may also click a paid ad on social media to land on your home page. No matter the entry point, the journey from web visitor to someone interacting with your sales guys follows the above path.
Generating Healthcare Leads through Content Marketing
Good content is the essence of most lead generation strategies in the healthcare business.
For example, you can create blogs related to the following topics:
- 5 Ways to Recover from COVID or Flu
- 6 Side Effects of Diabetes
- 8 Causes of Heart Attacks
- Depression: Symptoms and Treatment
- Dementia: Stages and Cure
Generate Leads Effectively
Imagine how useful it would be to reflect these blog thumbnails with a CTA on your web pages or social media channels for people to click and read. When your prospects read them, they will get a detailed understanding of various topics you’re trying to educate them on. Your prospects will perceive you as an informative source, teaching and helping them with better decision-making skills. In the process, your prospects will learn to trust you, which will lead them to engage more with your published content, which may include:
- Case Studies
We call this premium content as it contains in-depth data and insights, giving your prospects advanced knowledge in healthcare. Your offering such detailed premium information shows your expertise in the healthcare sector. For example, whitepapers and ebooks allow healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers to distill complex information into comprehensive formats. They help educate potential patients, clients, or customers about medications, drugs, and innovations. They offer knowledge about the newest treatment options and preventive measures. They help patients learn about new medications and cures, showcasing your organization’s commitment to patient education.
Such content needs time for consumption. So, when potential patients read such in-depth content and contact you, you can assume they’re invested in your healthcare products and ready to partner with you.
However, when floating such in-depth pieces of content for people to read and consume, you must also know the best tools to promote them. Given below are a few selected tools you can use to promote your premium content.
Medical Lead Generation Tools Used In The Healthcare Industry
Using robust marketing and lead generation tools to promote premium content invites more partnerships. So, we’ve come up with four marketing tools every healthcare marketer must leverage.
- HubSpot – HubSpot is the most popular lead generation tool. It’s a CRM product you can use to launch leads, promote content and get insights into every contact activity at each buying stage.
- SEMRush – SEMRush is one of the most used premium tools to do keyword research and develop a targeted content strategy around informational and commercial queries. You can rely on SEMRush to give you critical insight related to your medical industry niche that will drive you more organic impressions, clicks, and conversions.
- Marketo – Marketo is also an excellent platform for promoting content. It is one of those tools that makes finding and nurturing high-value accounts and closing deals much easier.
- Salesforce – Salesforce is another powerful SEO tool that helps promote content and campaigns, invite high-quality leads in, and make those leads turn from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘yes.’
The Need to Build Trust in Healthcare Marketing
A solid lead generation strategy should be your top priority as a healthcare service provider within the healthcare industry because your ability to generate leads consistently and predictably is critical to ensuring you steadily grow your business. At the same time, you should know that healthcare marketing strategies are much more than just acquiring new patient information. Healthcare marketing strategies have much to do with guiding people with authentic medical information. So, as a responsible healthcare marketer within the healthcare industry, you must build empathy and foster credibility in your community so your audience knows you as a trusted source of medical information they can turn to for guidance and seeking answers to their most important questions.