Use These Marketing Tips To Stand Out In The Saturated Medical Education Market
The modern eLearner, particularly in the healthcare field, is a savvy consumer with high expectations. Medical professionals expect high-quality CME activities and courses that offer OnDemand and virtual components to complement their busy schedules.
Today’s marketing in continuing education requires so much more than designing a nice brochure and creating a sharp-looking website. And in the world of Continuing Medical Education (CME), the competition is getting tougher every year.
Therefore, your organization must be working hard to stay in front of prospects and convert them into customers and retain them once they’ve completed a purchase.
Who Needs CME Courses?
Continuing Medical Education, or CME, refers to educational activities that help medical professionals increase their knowledge and skills in a specific area of medicine.
There are many types of healthcare workers who are required to complete a set amount of CME per calendar year.
Patient Care Associates
Public Health Planners
Whether the topic is pediatrics, cardiology, or infectious diseases, these medical professionals depend on your CME activities to give them the knowledge and CME credits they need.
Why Do CME Providers Need To Market Their Courses?
Much like other educational activities, medical education programs are more than just casual gatherings for health professionals.
Not only that, medical professionals are looking for courses with support from the Accreditation Council For Continuing Medical Education, or ACCME, to use the accredited CME credits for professional development and continuing education requirements.
If you take the time to market your CME course correctly, you’ll find a wealth of benefits.
Engage Local Businesses
Gain Commercial Support
Increase Potential For New Students
Connect With Previous Attendees
Gain Attention From Online Healthcare Communities
With the proper marketing, your CME events will attract your target audience and increase the commercial interests of your CME courses.
Let’s take a look at seven marketing techniques you can use today to promote your accredited CME courses.
Seven Marketing Techniques For Your CME Courses
CME marketing is a great way to show how engaging and exciting your educational programs are.
Here are seven strategies to help your organization increase its visibility in the marketplace, generate new leads, and ultimately attract and convert sales-ready consumers into loyal customers.
1. Harness The Power Of Google Retargeting
Have you ever visited a website to peruse the latest product inventory – and then later, you visit another site, and you see an ad show up for the first site? That’s called Google Retargeting!
If your organization isn’t using it, you’re missing out on opportunities to generate brand awareness, audience engagement, conversions, and revenue.
This is particularly helpful because many eLearning customers shop around before they make a final purchasing decision, so retargeting keeps your business top-of-mind when they’re finally ready to buy.
Paying for clicks on Google can get a little pricey – but retargeting is a much more affordable solution than a typical PPC campaign if your CME business or organization considers targeted paid advertising.
And the best part is that you can specify which pages on your site trigger the retargeting ads. Retargeting is a viable option if you’re looking to produce quick results and stretch your marketing dollars.
2. Utilize Automated Cross-Selling
There should always be a path for the customer to continue through the buyer’s journey, even after a sale. If someone paid to attend one of your CME courses online or purchased an OnDemand replay, why not provide relevant content to them afterward?
If your marketing or sales team members are doing their jobs right, they’re probably sending emails to specific segments of your customer database that promote upcoming courses and other opportunities to earn CE credits.
But what they may not have implemented is the automation of these processes.
A first step would be to outline a logical series of related courses that a customer might be interested in if they’ve already made a purchase.
Once you have this completed, you can set up “smart content” on your website that caters to each customer’s unique needs, as well as personalized email marketing workflows.
Smart Calls-to-Action: If your website is built on a platform that “cookies” visitors as they come along (there are also a variety of WordPress plug-ins to help you do this), you can replace a Call-to-Action image, button, ad, etc. that a customer or returning lead has previously seen with another that presents a clear next step in their curriculum.
Segmented Lead Nurturing Campaigns: Your customers mustn’t be just receiving blanket emails that end up in everyone else’s inbox, too. Your customers want information that aligns with their interests.
If they signed up for and highly rated a specific class, it’s much more effective to funnel each customer into a targeted and automated workflow where they receive a lineup of emails, at reasonable intervals, promoting a similarly themed class or another one taught by the same speaker.
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3. Establish Yourself In LinkedIn Groups
Do a quick search of Groups on LinkedIn related to eLearning, continuing medical education, or healthcare, and you’ll find there are plenty out there waiting to be tapped into.
Do your research and find a couple of them that are best suited to the type of CME content you’re producing – and then get involved or request to join!
Just be sure you review any relevant rules or guidelines you should be adhering to as a member of the group – some are more strict than others.
How To Market CME On
How It Helps
Upload Unique Content
(videos, infographics, templates)
Share Reliable Resources
Once you’ve established some credibility, promote your valuable product to the audience.
4. Leverage Other Social Media Platforms
Other social channels provide ample opportunity to market your CME programming. To accumulate valuable followers, abide by the 60-30-10 rule:
60% of your content is third-party content that relates to your industry
30% is non-promotional content (perhaps a good mix of media and educational content you’ve published on your site)
10% is dedicated to promoting courses, discounts, and other offerings.
Followers want to know they are following a credible account that can help them obtain what they want.
Here are a few other ideas to leverage social media marketing techniques for CME:
Create A Facebook Group: If you are marketing a specific set of CE courses, it may be good to create a private Facebook Group for the instructor and any interested participants. This would be an excellent place for students to interact with the instructor, ask questions outside of class, and post additional resources not part of the official syllabus.
Offer Office Hours: Advertise an “Office Hours” session where CME course participants can chat online with the instructor after digesting the material. Office Hours personalize the user experience and help retain existing customers.
Get Visual On Pinterest And Instagram: Pin educational resources with an aesthetic flair like an industry infographic or eBook. Post introductory video clips to course material, “hello” or “thank you” videos from instructors or customer testimonials on Instagram.
Be sure to connect with pharmaceutical companies, medical schools, and other pages that your target audience may also follow on social media. This will increase the possibility that your CME courses will be seen.
5. Develop Loyalty Programs
As a CME course planner, you know that customer retention is a massive part of your business.
A customer loyalty program is an easy way to increase customer retention. When one of your end-users is given additional value through a rewards program or points system, the likelihood they’ll go to another CME provider for their next purchase is a lot smaller.
Offer up a discount to loyal customers – or allocate points to them for registering by an early-bird date, taking two classes in a row, referring another customer to your program, and writing a review.
You could even offer a subscription of unlimited Continuing Education offerings for an entire year. Studies show that acquiring a new customer is four times more expensive than upselling to a current customer, so you must be marketing to your existing customers to grow revenue in addition to maintaining it.
6. Try Your Hand At Blogging
Publishing blog articles isn’t just for consumer brands and marketing agencies. Not only is a blog on your website a great way to showcase your eLearning industry expertise, but it’s also an excellent trust-building mechanism for prospects.
Consider your blog a free resource for potential and existing customers that will boost engagement with your website and compel healthcare professionals to sign up for more classes.
If you’re not entirely convinced, know that 47% of buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision!
And as a bonus, a blog helps you get found in the search engine results pages. How exactly? Google regularly crawls websites for fresh content that demonstrates authority on a relevant topic.
Not sure what to write about? Try to write about anything that your target audience would find interesting or helpful!
If you’re still stumped, a great place to start would be answering FAQs. What questions do you, your sales team, or your operations team often encounter during conversations with customers and prospects? These answers make for excellent blog fodder.
You can even take a more direct approach by doing market research through surveys to discover what they’d like to read. Either way, provide engaging, well-written content that will capture your target audience’s attention and increase your credibility.
Again, you shouldn’t write about why your CME program is better than the next one. That’s what the rest of your website is for! With a blog, it’s about “showing” your audience your expertise while entertaining them with engaging content.
7. Attempt Co-Marketing
To get double the visibility and potential conversion opportunities, it’s a great idea to leverage your connections to colleagues in related fields.
Perhaps if you market your partner’s new medical technology product via social media, they’ll promote your latest CME offering. Or, team up with a science museum and provide discount codes to those who buy a membership.
Most importantly, ask your instructors to market their presentations via social media, newsletters, or whatever means they typically communicate with their audiences. As industry influencers, their words carry a lot of weight – and can certainly drive traffic to your website.
Use CME Marketing To Increase Your Attendance Today!
Continuing medical education courses are highly sought after and valuable for health professionals. CME marketing allows you to connect with potential attendees and demonstrate the benefits of participation in your courses.
Test these CME marketing strategies out on your target audience! Once you commit to any of these seven suggestions, you’ll see significant improvements in your traffic, leads, and sales over time.