By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
Sometimes the problem in a healthcare marketing effort is in what’s NOT included. For nearly every well-intended effort—be it an advertisement, a brochure or a website—a weak or missing Call-to-Action guarantees no measurable results.
It can happen (inadvertently, we hope) in the best of plans for hospitals and medical practices. A powerhouse community event, a health fair for example, generates a huge public turnout and everyone reports they “had a really swell time.”
But beyond feelings of goodwill and perhaps a bit of local news coverage, administrators and the purse-string-holders can’t track a specific return on the big budget investment.
Needless to say, you can’t overlook the call-to-action ingredient in the formula, but here are some useful tips about the actionable element in healthcare events, ads or collateral materials.
Think like the boss. Executive decision-makers want to know—before- and after the fact—exactly how the marketing effort will support high level goals and/or generate new business. Determine how the outcome will be measurable in dollars-and-cents or materially contribute to the big picture goals. It’s tough to sell ideas where the only objectives are “warm-and-fuzzy” and vague.
Begin with the end in mind. Establish specific goals, devise a means to measure results, and don’t lose sight of the action step(s) needed to achieve them. Don’t let the marketing process or project disconnect with the intended end game, such as identifying the needs of a patient, calling for an appointment, etc.
Understand the engagement chain. An actionable, next-step is an attractive link to the benefit(s) that advance their goal. When you appreciate the path they are on—toward a health-connected objective—engaging them with a call-to-action is a compelling and natural continuation.
Make it easy, obvious and interesting. A strong, benefit-laden message can trigger the desire for whatever is next in the process so make the call-to-action compelling, readily apparent and easy.
Include immediacy or urgency. Direct “act now,” “call now,” “here’s how,” or consider limited time, limited supply, early responders, etc.
Some of the strongest and most easily measured action steps include the following examples. Use this list as a starting point and custom-design your call-to-action:
- Create a downloadable deliverable (podcast, reference chart).
- Facilitate a sign-up or sign-in.
- Follow us here (social media).
- Get more information.
- Meet or ask an expert.
- Offer something useful (reference list, calendar, how-to info).
- Set an appointment.
- Solicit comments, ideas or answers to questions.
- Subscribe to our (email, blog).
An effective call-to-action will link directly to a measure of response and results, but a weak or missing link breaks the chain. A final tip is to structure the call-to-action linking the actionable step to a benefit, such as: “Do [this] to get [that.]” “Call now to receive ____ .”
And, here’s our call-to-action…
For more on this topic from our free reference library, click through now to read: 9-Point Call-to-Action Checklist for More Engaging Healthcare Marketing Results.