Digital marketing is one of the great equalizers of the current commercial environment. Most tools that can help businesses to reach consumers are affordable and usable for companies of all sizes and industries. However, certain sectors must leverage digital marketing trends differently. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to marketing in regulated industries.
If you do marketing for companies in the medical field, there are more considerations than in most public-facing industries. Some limit the approach you can take when it comes to outreach and engagement. Others gear toward different types of opportunities and responsibilities involved with marketing in the sector.
Let’s explore some of the key elements you need to understand about digital marketing in regulated industries.
Select Platforms Responsibly
How do businesses identify which digital marketing platforms on which to focus? In many instances, the behavior of target demographics or what is most likely to generate engagement guides the decision. However, when interacting with regulated industries, it’s important not to make choices based on marketing priorities alone. It’s also vital to review how the use of certain platforms reflects responsible marketing behavior.
This is often why these companies are less likely to select marketing platforms that rely on heavy personalization. While healthcare providers may gather significant volumes of valuable data on consumers and patients, the majority of this is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
This, therefore, prevents marketers from utilizing social media platforms to target clients about specific experiences and services they previously used. Endorsements or reviews on websites also aren’t practical without explicit agreement from patients about the content and the ways it will be used. Rather, the focus for such personalization is restricted to more private platforms, such as email outreach.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to responsibly utilize the most impactful digital platforms and marketing tactics for healthcare. The marketing strategies of medical practices should favor facilitating meaningful conversations between patients and the healthcare industry. This may include blogging on your practice’s website about issues patients worry about. Businesses can interact with consumers via their practice’s social media profiles, as long as specific personal patient details aren’t utilized or solicited.
Reach Underserved Communities
The trend of digital marketing for doctors and other regulated industries isn’t just geared toward gaining and retaining clients. They also help to address challenges and bridge gaps found in the wider industry. Key among these is the issue of underserved communities.
There is a range of elements that cause healthcare disparities in certain communities. Socioeconomic status often sees fewer services available. Geography also plays a role. There are significant healthcare disparities between those living in rural areas and those in urban environments. Rural communities tend to face poorer health outcomes because they are further away from specialty or emergency care facilities or lack adequate insurance. Digital marketing in regulated industries is being used to help address this.
In some cases, marketing is focused on highlighting the resources that are available to patients in underserved areas. Promoting telehealth appointments on social media and blog posts is a good example here.
This helps those who are too distant for in-person appointments or have family and work duties recognize they have viable alternative options to meet their care needs. Digital marketing can also advertise the availability of traveling nurses or mobile examination programs throughout the year.
Offer Value and Education
Digital marketers tend to recognize the strategic importance of creating content that offers value to audiences. This is a component that represents both opportunities and responsibilities to those interacting with regulated industries.
Firstly, there are chances to meaningfully contribute to the public’s health literacy. Videos, blog posts, and podcasts on key healthcare topics can both highlight businesses as expert sources and contribute to patients’ understanding of wellness issues. Not to mention: these items help to combat the rising trend of online medical misinformation.
Nevertheless, marketing content must be driven by a commitment to accuracy and clarity. Any claims in the content must be independently verifiable by solid medical studies and other forms of credible evidence. There must also be no room for audiences to misunderstand the advice given or make potentially damaging decisions as a result.
This isn’t just a vital part of adhering to legal regulations, though. Search engine platforms also tend to have strict requirements for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content to be authoritative if it is to contribute to ranking positions.
The trends in digital marketing in regulated industries should be utilized with significant consideration. Marketers must use platforms in ways that enable a responsible approach to patient privacy. It’s also important to strategize how materials can help address the access challenges faced by underserved communities. Effective use of content can both attract audiences and play a role in improving health literacy, too.
Yes, there are some restrictions to interacting with regulated industries. Yet, the consideration of these elements tends to create marketing initiatives that result in more meaningful and impactful connections.