Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly referred to as ‘Obamacare’, Americans will now be required by law to obtain health insurance coverage. Those who do not have insurance by 2014 will be subjected to a tax penalty. And this is going to mean that now, more than ever, insurance providers are going to need to concentrate on grabbing the attention, and more importantly, the trust of, their website visitors, social media followers and email subscribers.
As consumers become increasingly distrustful of traditional ‘push’ methods of marketing, health insurance providers who position themselves as valuable resources of health-related information will be more likely to earn trust. By educating consumers, both about how the new system functions, as well as about their individual healthcare needs, insurance providers hope to be the natural choice when someone needs health coverage.
So, what exactly does this mean for the health insurance industry when it comes to inbound marketing? How can insurance providers utilize content marketing to reach the masses of uninsured Americans who are (or who will soon be) looking for insurance coverage? What changes will we see coming over the next few months?
Here are six predictions for changes we’re likely to see in the health insurance industry as we approach 2014.
A mobile content strategy will set companies apart.
With a whopping 46% of searchers now using mobile for online research, it’s more important than ever that the healthcare industry keeps pace in terms of investing in solid mobile content marketing strategies.
Some questions companies will need to address include:
- What percentage of our website visitors use a smartphone or tablet to access our content?
- Is our content easy to read and share on mobile devices?
- Is our content the ideal length and format for customers ‘on the go’?
- How are we tailoring existing content to make it more mobile-friendly?
- What times of day are our customers accessing our content?
Content marketing goals will need to be aligned with business goals.
A content marketing strategy is only as good as the business strategy it’s based on. To invest time and resources into a content strategy without knowing exactly what goals you’re working towards is a lose/lose proposition.
Aligning their content marketing goals with their overall business goals, and then carefully tracking and monitoring ROI and other outcomes will become increasingly necessary as health insurers invest more resources into their content marketing strategies to keep up with the increase in competition.
Insurers will have to understand what topics prospective consumers are curious about, and not only which ones induce them to click, but also help them feel more comfortable with the insurer’s brand and increase their likelihood of making a purchase. Content marketing isn’t just about making sales, but it does need contribute to the brand experience and help consumers feel comfortable with the company.
Content will need to be segmented.
Not only will insurers be vying for the attention of new clients, they will be faced with the challenge of keeping current ones. A key way they will attempt to do this will by providing highly relevant content according to need.
By segmenting customers according to stages in the buying cycle, content can be written and distributed in ways that speak to the specific needs of each group. For instance, by segmenting website traffic, insurance companies can provide detailed, tailored content for each specific group: those just starting their research, comparison-shopping, ready to make a purchase, and current customers.
Content will need to be engaging and palatable.
People are looking for information they can understand and connect with. By translating complex medical data and research into palatable, engaging content, insurance providers have the opportunity to become trusted sources of medical information.
By providing useful, relevant information not only about general healthcare issues but about the plans available to them, consumers will be better able to make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing healthcare.
Content will need to build relationships.
We know that one of the chief goals of content marketing is to increase trust, and this is more important than ever in healthcare circles. As consumers are faced with a multitude of options for their healthcare needs, they are far more likely to spend their money with companies they know and trust.
In the not-so-distant past, brand recognition was seen as the #1 goal of content marketing within healthcare circles, as reported by 81% of health care marketers surveyed. Although brand recognition will continue to be important, building relationships with current and potential customers will become just as, if not more important.
Content marketing budgets are going to need to increase.
In a 2012 study done by the Content Marketing Institute in partnership with Marketing Profs, healthcare marketers reported spending just 23% of their marketing budget on content marketing, as compared to 31% for all marketers.
In light of Obamacare however, it will become a necessity to increase the proportion of marketing budgets that are dedicated to content marketing efforts. As insurance providers face fierce competition for the business of those previously uninsured, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the content marketing budgets among healthcare marketers rise above the average.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on the state of content marketing in the health insurance industry over the coming months. I expect we’ll see greater engagement and transparency, as well as a tremendous increase in the amount of content that will be generated by healthcare providers.
What are your predictions for content marketing in the health insurance industry? Any that are missing from this list? Share below!
This is a guest post by Bart De Pelsmaeker, founder and CMO/CEO of Readz (http://www.readz.com). The Readz platform helps brands, companies and publishers transform anything PDF into responsive experiences whether it’s white papers, customer magazines, sales proposals or more. Bart is on Twitter @bartdp