Continuing Medical Education events are in high demand, due in no small part to the extreme benefits they offer healthcare professionals around the globe. Healthcare is one of the major industries that is moving rapidly away from strictly traditional classroom settings, with a growing number of current licensed healthcare professionals preferring either online or blended learning.
There is no shortage of CME providers ready and willing to adapt to this new and flourishing online market, which makes it all the more crucial to plan a successful promotional strategy when advertising your content. A more effective promotional campaign leads directly to more eyes on your CME activities, which culminates in a worthwhile return on your investments.
The U.S. continuing medical education market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.92% during the forecast period.
The first step is choosing the right digital platform for your business’s needs. There are many sites dedicated to hosting and promoting CME content; once you have identified and assessed your ideal target audience, you can begin researching the best online avenue to reach them.
Listed below are the top 7 online marketing platforms, based on overall user-friendliness and site traffic.
As a starting point, Facebook has a multitude of free in-site tools that can help you cultivate an audience for your CME activities. One major feature is the ability to form specialized groups based around a central topic; once created, the Facebook algorithm automatically populates relevant searches with a listing for your group.
For example, you can build an active and enthusiastic community by creating a group based around centralized access to valuable medical information. Once it has grown to a level with which you are comfortable, you can easily incorporate promotional material regarding your upcoming CME events without deviating from the group’s core focus.
If your target audience consists entirely of healthcare professionals, or you desire a more professional atmosphere than what Facebook can offer, LinkedIn is the ideal social networking platform. Professionalism is actively promoted across the site, increasing your chances of reaching licensed HCPs who are actively searching for education opportunities.
By subscribing to LinkedIn Premium for business leaders, you can significantly boost your in-site marketing efforts. Premium features include increased opportunities to network with industry peers and potential business partners, and a more robust search tool that can help you obtain new avenues in which you can advertise your CME events.
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn is perfect for publishing exclusive material and forming specialized communities. By creating and publishing articles related to your available CME activities, you can attract interested healthcare professionals who are eager to learn more about a given topic through your courses.
For promotional strategies that rely heavily upon visual media and short, succinct bodies of text, Instagram is an excellent choice. The immense effect images, videos, gifs, and infographics have on people’s emotions cannot be understated, and they are an excellent medium through which you can motivate your audience to take action.
Through visual media tailored to your CME content, you can initiate community engagement with curious healthcare professionals in the comments section of each post and answer questions regarding your events.
Instagram offers a free “Story” feature that can be a potent marketing tool for your business. The main draw of this feature is that each post disappears after 24 hours, which allows you to disseminate promotional materials in a format that is digestible and non-intrusive to your audience. Videos posted to Instagram Stories are capped at 15 seconds, so make every shot count–but be careful not to overwhelm your followers with a surplus of information.
Through your Story, you can give users a sneak peek at your upcoming CME activities, including any workshops or seminars that will be available to them at your event.
Twitter is an exceptional social media platform for minimalist and concise marketing strategies. Each tweet has a hard limit of 280 characters, making it vital to choose your words carefully. Attaching images and videos to your tweets is a great and easy way to catch users’ eyes and drive up engagement.
If you have netted one or more replies on a given tweet, you are now utilizing Twitter’s Conversation feature, where you can respond directly to questions or comments regarding your CME promotions.
Furthermore, you can create a custom Hashtag for your CME content, where Twitter will automatically compile every tweet with that Hashtag in one central location, making relevant posts and conversations easier for you and your audience to find. Implement your Hashtag in tweets discussing topics or news as they relate to your available CME activities, and encourage your followers to use your Hashtag when posting about your events that they have attended.
5. Digital Advertising
Some platforms–like LinkedIn–provide in-site, targeted advertising as a paid feature, allowing you to promote your CME content to the specific healthcare professionals within your target audience.
There are other paid services, such as AdRoll, that provide net wide advertisements across a variety of sites in one centralized spot. Through complex algorithms, these services ensure the right people see your event promotions, based on your determined specifications.
Through digital advertising, you can reach valuable healthcare demographics such as residents, fellows, attending physicians, physician assistants, medical scholars, nurses, and even attendees from one of your previous CME events.
Although all reputable digital advertisement services have an initial outlay, there is an immense potential for long-term rewards.
6. Mobile Marketing
According to a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans over the age of 18 who own a smartphone is at an all-time high of 85%, as of February 8, 2021.
The crux of mobile marketing is optimizing your professional, online presence; it is essential to implement designs on every page of your website–especially your homepage–that are both navigable and attractive when accessed via mobile device. Similarly, you should keep smartphones and tablets in mind when composing business emails and format your search engine metadata (page titles and descriptions) accordingly.
Once you have assured the quality of your online presence for both computers and mobile devices, you can begin tailoring promotional material to members of your target audience who use their phones as their primary means of internet browsing. Consider dedicating a portion of your budget to paid digital advertisements for popular mobile apps related to healthcare.
If you have the means and a loyal audience, you can also consider developing an app of your own for your CME activities, where you can personalize and streamline every aspect of your website for use on mobile devices.
7. Email Outreach
Professional email accounts are often inundated with various offers, invitations, and deals. For the average HCP, there are simply not enough hours in the day to read everything that pops into their inboxes. Therefore, whether you are interacting with an established audience or attempting to draw new eyes to your content, you must optimize the way you write your business emails to maximize your returns.
Your goal is to impress upon healthcare professionals that your CME activities offer fantastic opportunities for them to network with their peers, enhance their practices, and advance their careers: all of which you must strive to convey during the brief span of time in which they skim new emails.
The first step is obtaining a professional email address–preferably one that utilizes your company brand or site URL as its domain name. This will indicate to recipients that your message comes from a trustworthy source, while helping your emails avoid being filtered directly into their spam folders.
Implement a signature and customize it in a way that includes your name, your company’s name, your company’s site, and any additional contact information that you would like to share for business inquiries.
From there, you can begin crafting your emails. Personalize their contents as much as possible, taking into account the recipients’ professions and specialties when inviting them to your CME events. Before hitting “send”, take the time to thoughtfully construct a brief subject line containing only what is directly relevant to your audience, such as the topic and associated professions/specialties for the event you are advertising.
With these platforms and their individual arrays of unique marketing features at your disposal, growing a faithful audience of healthcare professionals for your CME content has never been easier. Identify which ones are right for you and your professional needs, and, with careful application and determination, they will help you bolster your site traffic and increase attendance for your courses and conferences.