If you’re a marketer in a hospital or health system, we feel your pain. You’re likely stuck with outdated systems that don’t let you get the information you need to make informed decisions about how to spend your marketing dollars. Yet simultaneously, you have a CEO or board demanding proof every dollar is working. Rather than let it build to a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, here are a few tips to help you start small, notch some quick wins and build momentum for your efforts. There may not be a silver bullet, but if you’re disciplined about measuring the things you can control, you can glean a lot of insights you might otherwise miss, and build success over time.
1. Clearly define your funnel. While awareness may not be the ultimate thing you want to measure – outcomes like appointments are probably more important to your board – knowing the steps to get to a final conversion is crucial. By defining your strategy up front, and aligning your measurement model to it, you’ll be able to make more effective decisions about how each piece of your strategy is working toward the end goals.
2. Take a broader view of your metrics. Creating a more general, overall impression of your audience using digital media and website metrics like click throughs, pages per visit, repeat page visits, etc. can help you see what messaging is resonating with your customers and filling the top of the funnel. Starting to measure and report on the metrics you have can help make a business case for upgrading your measurement capabilities and working further down the funnel.
3. Make the tools you have go as far as they can.
- UTM codes: A UTM code is a string of characters that you append to a URL in order to track characteristics of a campaign between on-site and off-site. Google provides Campaign URL Builder, a guided tool for tagging your links, which will then be compatible with many industry analytics tools, including Google Analytics and Facebook.
- Link Shorteners: You can shorten a link with a link shortener – there’s even an option to do it automatically in Google’s Campaign URL Builder. Shortened links often look more inviting to end users and get better engagement because they reveal less of the tracking information.
4. Take advantage of call tracking technologies. Phone conversations aren’t dead yet. Many medical inquiries and appointment bookings are still done by phone, which unfortunately makes conversions harder to track. But by working with a partner who recognizes this conundrum, and can provision multiple marketing phone numbers quickly, you can add a means of measuring that last-step attribution to at least one of the many touch points in your model. Some vendors are even able to dynamically insert phone numbers on your website based on the source of the lead (which depends on those UTM codes described above), giving you the ability to attribute phone calls to particular media pathways, or even to individual users.
As healthcare becomes more and more customer-centric, and institutions become more comfortable doing things online, the situation will improve for those of us in the marketing and measurement worlds. You can get ahead of the curve by making sure you’re measuring as much as you can, and building the right foundation for success. We’re happy to help. Let us know about your measurement challenges and experiences in the comments.