Skip to main content

4 min read Four ways to scope out the competition—and improve your healthcare marketing

A competitive analysis can help you understand what's working in your market and where opportunities exist. Find out how to do it.

February 26, 2018

The Coffey Team

Looking for a healthcare marketing shortcut? Look no further than the competition.

A competitive analysis helps you understand what your competitors are doing just right—and what things they're getting wrong. That's data you can put to good use in your marketing plan.

Ready to get started? Here's how to do it.

1. Choose your competitors carefully.

If you've been working on your healthcare marketing strategy for any amount of time, there's a good chance you've already identified your top competitors.

If your competition list is long, do some selective trimming. Look for competitors that offer the same service lines—or health insurance plans—that you do. If you have more than a handful of organizations to analyze, think about your key services and identify those organizations that emphasize those same services.

Ask yourself, if your company didn't exist, who would your customers choose instead? Or, think about patients or members you're no longer working with. Who are they working with now?

2. Check out the content.

Your competitors have healthcare marketing plans, just like you do. And they probably use content to execute those plans. Think about:

  • Printed publications. Do your competitors send them out? If they do, what are the publications called, how often are they sent out, and how much content do they deliver? What is the physical size of the publication? If you received their publication in your own mailbox, what would stand out to you?
  • Digital marketing. What kind of content do your competitors offer online, such as blogs, videos, interactives, feature articles or webinars?
  • Media attention. What type of information is being featured about your competitor in the news? Analyzing news sources like PR Newswire can point you to the press releases your competitors use to garner positive coverage of events and services.

3. Search for them online.

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps organizations show up when consumers are searching for information. You probably share one key SEO goal with your competition: increase visibility through organic (nonpaid) search engine results. Everything counts here, from the keywords on your website to the way other sites link to your website. (In fact, if you want to learn more about why SEO is so important for your website, check out this blog post.)

Search engines take many factors into account when determining visibility, including what is on a webpage, popularity of the page and page speed. There's a lot to assess. Here's a good place to start.

  • Simple web searches. What healthcare keywords bring up a competitor's website (versus your website)? Who comes up first in a search of various keywords?
  • Comparing pages. Which is easier to navigate or load? If someone is trying to find a service, how quickly can he or she locate it? Recruit a family member or friend to search for a specific service on a website, and then see which site makes finding that service easy.
  • Using third-party tools. There are some websites out there that provide a rough estimate of web traffic. Use a tool like this to assess your own website, and then assess the competition. Who gets more traffic? Who seems to keep readers engaged?

4. Become a (benevolent) stalker on social media.

Social media sites have morphed into major channels for news, recommendations and marketing. But just showing up isn't enough. To be really successful, healthcare organizations need to drive real, meaningful engagement.

Search for your competition on social media—and don't forget to look outside of Facebook. You may have a competitor rocking Twitter, or you may have a wide-open marketing space on LinkedIn. Look for high numbers of followers and meaningful engagement. And try to identify which post on which channel works best.

Keep an eye on those competitors. What do their posts look like, and what posts are getting positive reactions (or any reactions)? What are people saying about them on social media?

Put your research to good use

Ultimately, a comprehensive competitor analysis can help you understand what similar companies may be doing—and that can help you improve your own healthcare marketing strategy. But remember, focusing on your customer is a tried-and-true marketing method. Don't forget to assess your own performance—and the needs of your community.

We can help. Contact us. Business development consultants (like me!) can help you determine what's working in your current healthcare marketing plan. And we can suggest changes that could help you improve. Let's get started.

Related reading

Hospital websites: 5 things you can do to make your services easy to find
7 tips for handling negative social media comments
7 creative ways to package your healthcare content in print

Topics