June 10, 2015
By Carly Ries
One of the many challenges for B2B healthcare companies is standing out in such a large industry. Healthcare B2B is a broad category and even when you break it down into niche markets, the competition can still be fierce. Instead of the traditional outbound efforts such as ads and mailers, B2B healthcare marketers are now focusing their attention on inbound marketing. Why? Because it works. Here are four reasons why inbound marketing is essential to B2B health services success.
There's a reason people use Google as a verb these days. When people have an inquiry about a certain topic, more often than not, they'll "Google it", or search for it in another search engine. While it's important for a company in any industry to increase its SEO and get found at the top of the search results, it's especially important for B2B healthcare marketers to stand out from the competition because there are so many B2B health services out there. Inbound marketing promotes search engine optimization through on-page and off-page SEO. The higher you are in search results, the more likely people will be to find you and buy from you.
When you see a bright and flashy ad go across an article you're reading online, do you want to click on it? What if a relentless telemarketer calls you multiple times per week? Will you buy from him? Sure, those are two extremes, but if you're like most people, chances are the answer is no. People don't like to be bothered or sold to, they simply want help with their pain points. Inbound marketing is all about providing useful information for your buyer persona. The more helpful your content is the more likely they will be to buy from you because they appreciate the information you've provided them and that you've helped them solve their problem.
Along with providing helpful information comes credibility and authority. The more people think you provide educational and factual content, the more they'll see you as an authority in your field, and the more lilely they will be to share your content which will increase your brand awareness.
Say you have a healthcare IT product you're trying to sell and you're about to meet with a group of C-level executives at a hospital. If you go into your sales pitch and they've never heard of your company or product, chances are they'll be less likely to buy from you. However, if you go into a sales pitch and the executives have seen your content online, have read your white papers, and know how reputable you are ahead of time, they'll be more inclined to buy from you because they already look at your company as an authority within the industry.
It may sound cheesy, but inbound marketing connects people. In contrast to the one-way direction of outbound marketing, inbound marketing promotes communication and interaction between companies and their personas. Social media is one of the most popular ways in inbound marketing to promote content and connect with audiences. By "liking", "commenting" and "sharing" posts on social media, for example, people feel like they have an actual relationship with your company and will be more likely to buy your product. Look at it this way, if someone was trying to sell you software that would help your healthcare company achieve great results for your clients, would you be more likely to buy from your friend, or a stranger? Odds are you'd choose your friend (if they're credible, of course).
Bottom line? Inbound marketing works. When implemented correctly, you'll start to see results and new customers come through the door. In what other ways has inbound marketing been essential for your B2B health services success?
About the author
Carly Ries was formerly a Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. With over 7 years of marketing and account management experience, Carly helps clients develop and implement inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion, and revenue. Read more articles by Carly Ries.