Back in the day, if a provider wanted their practice to be noticed, it had to film a TV commercial. But compared to the 1960s, when the marketing world had a plethora of aggressive ad agencies – times have changed. Now, the digital landscape has revolutionized the way we present our services to the customers.
Marketing has now become a game of different strategies. Not only are you focusing on the aforementioned paid media, but also on earned media that gives a better understanding of your brand’s personality and sets the stage for you to be seen as the expert.
But what is the difference between earned media and paid media?
In the healthcare marketing industry, this difference can be vital. While the immediacy of paid media can help you get noticed quickly – earned media can help you earn the customer’s trust, helping you position yourself as the expert and obvious choice.
To understand the difference between these ever-so-popular ways of marketing, let’s start with the basics: definitions.
Paid Media – Immediacy!
As the name may suggest – this is the visibility you pay for. This can include:
- Pay Per Click advertising
- Display ads
- Ads on Facebook (Social media ads)
When a healthcare provider uses paid media to advertise their services, they are paying a search engine to help them get noticed. However, search engines demand relevance. For example, if you’re a plastic surgeon, and a person within your operational vicinity searches for the keywords “plastic surgeon near me” – you have a good chance of popping up in front of them.
To effectively execute a paid media campaign, a business needs an enticing call-to-action that provides the customer exactly what they’re looking for, as well as detailed targeting.
Earned Media – Personality
In contrast, when you rely on earned media, you’re giving the patient the steering wheel. When a patient is an advocate for your brand, they share their experiences of exemplary services with other people. It is often called “word-of-mouth” marketing because your advocates convince potential customers to take a deeper look at the services you have to offer. Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth… 82% of patients say they trust online reviews as much as a referral from a close friend.
“But that means I can provide exquisite service to one patient and then wait for the magic to happen, right?”
There are no substitutes for excellent customer experience, but it is well-crafted and relevant content that fuel earned media. Compared to paid media, earned media is long-lasting and gives the patients a personal identity of your brand.
Paid and Earned Media: Different Swords – Vital Integration
The differences between these two mediums are clear.
Careful targeting and strong control for paid media. Advertising online allows for unprecedented targeting using the available demographics.
Lesser control, but a long-lasting effect for earned media. The slow burn that SEO is known for puts you in front of more people and takes a little while longer but keeps you in front of the people you want to see your products and services.
Even though these mediums working solo can help your brand get noticed – the best strategy is to make them co-exist. A marketing strategy that integrates both paid and earned is vital. Nowadays, the news cycle has shrunk to become the smallest the marketing world has ever seen.
Since information has become so widespread, the consumer can get distracted easily. That is why, while the immediacy of paid media can help you get noticed quickly, the relevancy of earned media can help you turn a prospect into a patient.
If you’re looking to promote your healthcare services – Purple Tie Guys can help. Contact us today, and our healthcare marketing team will make sure you get noticed.