In today’s competitive healthcare environment, providers need to make the most of the digital marketing tools available to attract new patients and drive practice growth.
One way to do that is through the use of geomarketing—which is a type of location intelligence and includes tools such as geofencing.
Here, we’ll examine what several experts say about the importance of integrating such an approach to achieve business goals.
How location intelligence unlocks value
In “Unlocking Value with Location Intelligence,” Boston Consulting Group (BCG) experts describe how advances in technology—including those related to location intelligence—can help companies create a competitive edge in the midst of a challenging business landscape.
“Accelerating advances in enabling technologies—among them, communications, cloud, analytics, and mobile—have significantly amplified the role that mapping and geospatial data play in addressing these issues,” BCG experts write. “Deeper, data-driven insights into customer demographics and preferences, combined with mapping and geospatial data, have enabled companies to optimize their operations to better address their customers’ needs…”
BCG defines location intelligence as “the use of mapping and geospatial data, in combination with a company’s internal customer data, to improve the customer experience and underlying business processes.”
BCG says geomarketing “consists chiefly of location-based promotions and advertising for products and services” and says it’s a popular option: 50-78 percent of those surveyed indicated they use geomarketing programs at their companies.
According to survey results, some of the ways geomarketing is being applied include:
- “Customized marketing messages based on a customer’s location”
- “Maps to locate nearby stores highlighting discounts and deals”
- “Personalized messaging and offers linked to where customers shop and what brands they prefer, if they opted in”
- “Measurement of the incremental impact of these offers and promotions on customer spending”
Noting that companies use geospatial data “to enhance the digital customer experience,” BCG says these types of applications may include:
- “Autocompletion of address information for online checkout and search”
- “Virtual tours of sites and locations”
- “Map-based search for products and services”
- “Listings of inventory, services, hours, and directions for nearby facilities and outlets”
For healthcare providers, similar functionalities could be applied to connect with prospects through practice-specific and location-based marketing messages to attract new patients and improve the patient experience.
Geomarketing for Healthcare
Saying that geomarketing “relies on location data to deliver proximity-based, personalized experiences” MapQuest for Business also notes that location intelligence “boosts visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).”
Since most healthcare services are location and community-based, the company says geomarketing is an important tool for healthcare marketers. That’s because most prospects and patients live within a certain radius of the provider’s location and will be conducting internet searches to find who or what they need.
“Few providers can afford to stick with outdated business practices, particularly if other health care services in your area have a geomarketing plan in place that gets them in front of potential patients before they ever find you,” MapQuest for Business says. “Localized marketing helps you hyper-target likely patients and engage with clients in a relevant and timely manner.”
The company says some of the ways geomarketing can support healthcare providers include:
- Improving the visibility of the practice in popular “near me” searches
- Helping individuals find the healthcare services they need
- Enhancing brand awareness by adding the facility’s locations to online listings services
- Making location data available to develop social media strategies
- Increasing the ROI of paid advertising that promotes healthcare services “based on local market trends”
Geofencing in Healthcare Marketing
Another industry expert agrees with the importance of geomarketing in healthcare, noting that, “In the healthcare industry, location is everything.”
Saying that consumers are “looking for access points in close proximity to where they live or work,” MBB says using location data is a smart way to help marketers make the most of their budgets and reach the right audience at the right time.
As a type of geomarketing, geofencing supports audience segmentation by using geographic data to help marketers connect with their target audience.
MBB describes geofencing like this: “Imagine drawing a virtual box…around a location of your choice to discover consumers that fit your demographic criteria, while excluding those who don’t, to message them in real time or at a later moment. The boundary you create is your geofence, capturing those consumers to serve ads on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device while they are browsing the web.”
MBB says that when geographical data is being used to develop marketing strategies, asking three specific questions is key:
- Who is your audience and where are they? “When identifying who your target audience is, it’s important to look not just at their online behavior but their offline behavior, too. …”
- How far is too far? “…Leveraging real-time location data to reach your audience in the right place helps reduce wasted impressions and, ultimately, spend. …”
- Where are your competitors? “ …geofencing your competitors is a great way to reach potential patients. This is called competitive conquesting and can be used in a number of ways.”
Whether referred to as location intelligence, geomarketing, or geofencing—location-based marketing can be an effective tool for connecting with the right prospects at the right time to help them find the right healthcare services to meet their unique needs.
At AMG Healthcare Marketing, geofencing is just one of our digital marketing specialties that help drive practice growth.
Contact us today to learn more.