Content is king when it comes to digital B2B marketing, and the healthcare market is no exception. In such a highly regulated, high-stakes industry, leads need be certain they're buying the right products to improve patient care and streamline their businesses. And there's no better way to establish that level of trust than helpful content.
From white papers to blogs to active social media accounts, you'll need to maintain a steady stream of trust-building material to consistently attract new business. If you're reaching out to physicians, hospitals or other healthcare stakeholders, these seven types of content will give you the maximum return on your time and effort.
While patients often turn to social media and review sites to learn more about their hospitals and physicians, blogs can be incredibly useful for educating B2B leads, particularly for companies selling new or obscure products. If you're selling a new type of surgical equipment, for instance, or a new line of consumables, informative blog posts will help site visitors learn more about your product and why it's better than the competition. And, even if your products are well known and well understood in the industry, your site will still get plenty of foot traffic, and a blog will help customers new and old stay up to speed on your sales and promotionals.
A good white paper can be invaluable in capturing leads at the top of the sales funnel. When a potential customer reads a blog, social media post or other short-form piece of content you've posted, they may want to know more about your specific product, as well as your niche in the industry. A brief but enticing call-to-action can take them from that short post to a download form for a longer white paper, and you can capture their contact information in the process.
For example, imagine you're selling a line of diabetic testing supplies—one of many on the market. Instead of simply listing the benefits of your product line, you could educate and indirectly sell to your leads with a white paper on best practices for hospital-based and in-home tests. You would provide valuable information that builds trust with readers, and the practices you outline would steer them toward your specific products.
Social media can be just as useful for B2B marketing as it is for B2C. To maximize your results, though, you'll need to establish a multi-platform presence with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as your mainstays. Given their popularity and search engine-friendliness, your leads may actually find you on these sites before they see your primary website or blog. If you've got pictures and videos to share (and you should!) Instagram and YouTube are critical, as well.
Of course, not just any kind of post will do. No matter what platform you're using, your first goal should be to inform, not to sell. Digital leads already get bombarded with hundreds of ads per day, and outright “salesy” material will most likely turn them off from your business. So, instead of pitching prices and promotionals for your medical equipment, software or consulting services, a better bet would be to write short and enticing posts that lead into calls-to-action for white papers, eBooks and other top-of-the-funnel material. When your leads are ready to see product demos and prices, they'll likely be beyond the point of browsing through your Facebook page.
Whether you post them on social sites, your blog or another platform entirely, reviews of third-party healthcare material can help your company establish expertise within the industry. The articles you discuss don't have to pertain specifically to your products or services, either. If you're selling equipment and consumables for dental practices, for instance, you might review articles on business-building for independent dentists and physicians. Insightful comments show your leads that you understand their businesses from their perspectives.
Indirect, informative content may help you get your foot in the door with potential customers, but you'll eventually need to outline the specifics of what you're offering. Once you've captured leads through your blogs, social presence and white papers, digital brochures and product comparison sheets will help you move leads through the sales funnel without coming off as too pushy.
Still, it's all too easy to present your products the wrong way. Marketers and salespeople can become a little too familiar with their offerings and forget that their customers are always wondering, “What's in it for me?” Convincing sales materials should therefore convey the benefits of your products even more than they discuss the features.
Think of hospital materials managers comparing surgical supplies. They won't just want to know the products' material makeups, sharpnesses and durability ratings; they'll want to know how those supplies can help their physicians perform safer, faster and more efficient surgeries.
While white papers are great for providing general information about the types of products you offer, case studies are far better suited to conveying the bottom-line benefits of your specific offerings. After all, once leads learn the basics on in-home testing supplies, durable medical equipment or any other broad category, they'll soon start to wonder why they should choose your product lines over your competition.
Just like product overviews, good case studies should convey the bottom-line benefits your products have provided to other customers. How did patient care improve? Did physicians, nurses and other healthcare employees see improvements in the quality of their work? What return on investment did the organization realize by adopting your products or services? Your leads need to know the answers to these questions.
Finally, just about every lead you encounter will want to validate their investment through the experiences of other companies that have already bought and used your products. Whether you include them in your case studies or place them on your website and blog, testimonials can be invaluable in giving leads that last little “push” they need to pick you over your competitors. If possible, get your satisfied customers to discuss the reasons why they've been happy with your company. The best testimonials include the same bottom-line benefits as a good case study, but they seem even more trustworthy because of the source.
What types of content have you found most helpful in attracting B2B leads in the healthcare industry? Share your experiences in the comments!
David LaMartina is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who specializes in health, technology and finance. You can view his portfolio and reach him at davidlamartina.com.
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