Would you like to save money on your healthcare marketing?
Are free tools really free?
Whenever I went into the supermarket, I always looked for the “buy 2 for” offers as I thought I was saving money.
However, when I looked a little closer, sometimes it was actually more expensive going for the cheaper offer.
If 2 of the 1 litre cartons of orange juice are £2.48 each and the offers says buy 2 for £4.00, you would think that was a great deal right?
If you are a man like me, you probably don’t look any further and pick up the two cartons of orange juice and add them to your basket while at the same time feeling good about yourself as you have just saved yourself 96p.
If however you are a woman, you would have checked to see if this was really a good deal. You examine the 1.75 litre carton of the same juice and discover it is actually only £2.50.
So you put the 1.75 litre carton in your basket and feel good about the fact the supermarket has failed to fool you.
This is because even with the discount the 1 litre cartons are still 30% more expensive per 100ml.
Which is cheapest?
You may be wondering what the price of orange juice has to do with healthcare marketing. When I first started in marketing I had lots of different tools to do lots of different jobs. I was always looking for free tools that did the same job as the paid ones.
When I was a marketing manager, I was always under pressure to save money whilst at the same time increasing the effectiveness of our marketing. Here is a list of tools which I have found over the years that you can use in your marketing.
If you read all the way through this article you will discover why I believe these tools can be a false economy.
Free content management software
Did you know that you could have your website built on a free platform? If you are looking for a robust, free platform for your business then look no further than WordPress.
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS (content management system) and it is easy to see why as it’s very simple to use and comes with some great features.
WordPress comes in two flavours, one which WordPress will host for you (not recommended for businesses) and a version you can host yourself.
If you are a business then you would be better to opt for the self-hosted version, which is free.
Should you have your website on WordPress?
I would say this depends on what other systems your website needs to integrate with but for the most part, building your website on WordPress can save you a lot of money.
You will still need a designer but you may save several 1,000s of pounds on developer costs.
It can sometimes be open to security issues but if you put the right security measures in place you shouldn’t have any problems with it.
Free email marketing software
MailChimp is an excellent tool to handle your email marketing. You can create and send emails with ease with Mailchimp and there is even a free version.
You can build forms to add to your website which will collect your newsletter and blog subscribers.
When it comes to sending emails, context is king and with software like this it can be very difficult to segment your database.
This means it is hard to send the right messages to the right people at the right time.
Free social media tools
When it comes to marketing, your healthcare business social media can be a very effective way to build awareness of your brand and content. It can also be an effective tool to engage with your customers. This all leads to more patients and better relationships with them.
Think of social media as a global referral network.
Managing all of your different social networks can be difficult so that’s why a free tool like Hootsuite can come in very handy.
Hootsuite makes it easy to schedule social media messages across all of your networks and can help you to manage everything in one place.
What Hootsuite can’t tell you is how effective your social media marketing is. There is no point in doing any kind of marketing if you can’t understand the ROI of it.
Hootsuite is great at the things I mentioned but not at identifying who you should be speaking to. Social can become very noisy and you need to cut out the clutter so you can just speak to your patients and people who are interested in what you have to say.
Landing Page Software
If you are sending all of your marketing traffic to your homepage then I doubt if you are converting much of it at all. Every marketing campaign needs to have a dedicated, focused landing page.
It is all about attention. A homepage has too many distractions for people, you need a dedicated landing page to eliminate any distractions.
The problem with landing pages is that you need a designer to create them and getting this done can very time consuming.
Unbounce lets you create professional landing pages very easily and cheaply. There is no need to hire expensive designers as it comes with over 50 landing page templates that have been tested for high conversions.
The only issue is bringing this altogether to understand what works and what doesn’t. Although it does let you send your information to other tools understanding what’s working can still be hard.
Nearly Free Graphic design software
You may not know this but PowerPoint is one of the best and easiest apps for creating graphical elements for your website. When you create great content and landing pages, you need great calls-actions to entice your customers to visit them.
PowerPoint can easily create some fantastic looking calls-actions. If of course you have an in- house graphic designer I’m sure they would much rather use a more professional tool for this kind of work.
If you don’t have this kind of in-house talent then PowerPoint is an excellent alternative.
Is it all a false economy?
But here is the kicker, I don’t believe that using most of these tools is what you need. If you are a serious business and are serious about growing it then you need to stop using all of these tools and use something more professional.
If you are thinking these tools are great because they are free then you are looking at it the wrong way.
What benefits do they bring to your business?
When you look at the bigger picture you will see it actually costs way more to use all of these free tools than it would be to use an all-in one marketing system.
I use HubSpot here at Stargazer but there are many other great ones available like Marketo, Infusionsoft and Exact Target.
The problem with all of these free tools is they don’t talk to each other and finding out how your marketing is performing is almost impossible to understand.
You need experts in 5 different tools which increases your costs and you also need to factor in all of the extra time you are spending using these tools.
Using one tool at first may seem more expensive but when you think about it, it works out a lot cheaper in the long run. Just like the orange juice example I talked about at the start.
Key take aways
What you need is not just tools or tools that are cheap. You need tools that will help you to reach your sales goals, understand your ROI and which campaigns are working.
You need tools that save you time and don’t require you to train people in 5 different tools and when you need support you don’t have 5 different places to go for that support. If you are serious about your business then you need serious tools to help you to reach your business goals.
5 reasons why I use HubSpot:
- More traffic
- More leads
- Higher conversion rates
- Closed loop marketing
- ROI tracking
Stop just thinking about the cost and start thinking about the value.
This is a bigger post than normal and as a big thank you for reading all the way to the end I would like to give you something for free.
So if you want to learn more about how you can create effective marketing, get your free guide “Healthcare Marketing in a Nutshell”.
Now it’s your turn
Do you understand the ROI of your marketing?
I’m looking to hear from you if you have trouble making your marketing tools work. Let me know in the comments below.