Marketers know that they have to cut through noise to reach consumers, but how far is too far? Barraging consumers with intrusive marketing messages can be more damaging to your brand than a lack of awareness. This is particularly true in the healthcare sector, where messages can seem out of place when consumers are not thinking about health. When they are seeking help for an ailment, it is vital to be positioned to hit that need square in the center and deliver solutions to specific pain points.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone brilliantly — and, unfortunately, quite accurately — lampooned intrusive marketing on South Park last year. By the way, if you clicked that link, did YouTube serve you an ad before you could watch? Hopefully, it was at least slightly interesting like the short Wonder Woman trailer I just sat through, but even the champs at Google don’t get it right every time.
The way your marketing is presented is just as important as the content itself in determining whether it is intrusive. YouTube tapped into the training that television taught viewers for decades: Advertisements are an inescapable aspect of watching TV. The company also hit a sweet spot with frequency and does not serve an ad every time you try to watch a video. This is something Twitter is struggling with and it has seen flat growth as a result of timeline ads that are too frequent relative to content.
As you seek to reach health consumers and earn new patients, consider the following tips:
Promote on user-friendly platforms. It pays to really explore how platforms serve ads. Tricking people into clicking links they didn’t mean to, presenting ads disguised as content, and making pop-ups difficult to close are all red flags that the message delivery mechanism is too intrusive. Instead, look for platforms that wisely integrate marketing into an enjoyable user experience. Snapchat has found great success with this through branded filters that align with its users’ natural desire to share authentic messages.
Use text-only search ads. Paid search has proven its worth over the past several years and if you engage in search engine marketing, you’re already familiar with how Google and Bing deliver text-only ads. One of the main reasons these ads are so effective is because users find them less intrusive than sponsored posts on Facebook or ads on television. They are also almost always relevant since they are based on search terms that users entered. That makes it possible to target messages effectively without worrying about the “creepiness” factor of speaking to consumers’ specific and often private healthcare concerns.
Target users on the right channels. According to Hubspot, the most cited reason people click an ad is because the message is interesting to them. That depends heavily on the message itself, but the first step in targeting consumers effectively is reaching them where they are. If you are marketing a new treatment option for osteoporosis, Snapchat’s young-skewing user base will not return good results despite its largely effective advertising model. Identify your ideal consumers and target them on the platforms they use most frequently.
Deploy content that is personalized and relevant. No matter how great a delivery mechanism is, consumers are adept at ignoring messages that are not relevant to them. When you have access to specific consumer data, targeting the right people with the right messages is easier; but even when that is lacking, you can take advantage of trends and national conversations to keep things relevant. For example, even though I probably won’t run out and see Wonder Woman right away, the ad at least had some relevance because people are talking about the movie. And I’ve got to admit, the ad piqued my interest; it actually does look like an interesting movie, so maybe I will see it after all. The timing was right and it touched on a topic that I had some familiarity with.
When you keep your marketing relevant and deliver it in a way that does not interfere with user experience, you are more likely to get results than if you bash consumers over the head. Do your research and discover what works best for your target markets and ignore media sellers that try to convince you otherwise.