Each year, we have the honor of recognizing our top agency partners by awarding Sprout Partner Value Awards in five different categories. While this Read more...Read More »
Trust is the linchpin of modern marketing. It plays a crucial role in every vertical, industry, or niche. But nowhere is trust a more essential crux than in health care, where the personal stakes are immense.
“We're in an industry where, you know, it's serious,” says Emily Thompson in her interview for Break Free B2B. “This is about people's health and well being, and a lot of times people get very nervous — they're scared, they're sick.”
As a Boston-based freelance writer and content strategist who primarily focuses on the health care sector, where she has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from startups to enterprise, Emily acutely understands the impactful nuances of messaging. She says seeing things from the other side — as a first-time mother who frequently sought information online — helped her develop a more empathetic view.
She incorporates this into her craft, creating patient-focused copy designed to build trust and confidence, and offers valuable insight for B2B marketers everywhere. In the interview, she shares some tactics and techniques that are being used effectively in her industry to achieve this rapport, from smartphone apps to user-generated content to data-driven personalization and beyond.
[bctt tweet="Research says that 93 million Americans have searched for a health-related topic online. So If we know people are going online, we have to be there too. @BosCreativeCopy #HealthcareMarketing #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]
Watch my conversation with Emily below, and let her experiences and perspectives help guide you toward building healthier relationships with your B2B customers.
Break Free B2B Interview with Emily Thompson
If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.
- 03:46 - The emerging focus of content marketing in health care
- 07:05 - Big data in health care marketing
- 09:42 - Responsible data usage and personalization in health care marketing
- 12:35 - Leveraging traditional and emerging channels in health care marketing
- 13:42 - Counterproductive mindsets in health care marketing
- 16:14 - User generated content in health care
- 19:55 - Challenges that span across industries
- 22:17 - Rising demands from patients for digital 24/7 access
Nick: Can content marketing build trust in the patient care continuum?
Emily: That's really what, to me, content marketing is all about. It's building trust with the consumer, whether that's a patient or a referring physician. And, I think that … when an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. And if you think about the patients that are watching, often they're frightened, they're overwhelmed, they don't know where to go. And so there's just a lot of opportunity in health care for marketers to really rely on content to help them build that trust.
When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. @BosCreativeCopy #BreakFreeB2B #ContentMarketing #healthcare
Nick: Transparency is key in managing health care data. How else can marketers benefit the health care system?
Emily: I think it comes down to messaging too, and if you make sure that your content is ultimately really helpful to the consumer. So, for example, I was on these apps [after giving birth to my son], and I was being served up a toy that might work for my son in his age and developmentally where he was at. Or food — we were struggling with a type of formula or milk that would be good for him.
Ultimately, people just want information that's helpful to them. It helps calm them down whether they're nervous about their health information or they’re, you know, a new mom. It's hard to be frustrated when an app is using information about myself that is ultimately benefiting me, helping me out.
Nick: Is there anything that stands out to you as a real opportunity for marketers, and specifically those who are working in the B2B space, to break free of something that might be inhibiting them?
Emily: Yeah. Break free from fear. I think that health care can be a very conservative market. And, you know, to be fair, there are reasons for that. We're in an industry where, you know, it's serious. This is about people's health and well being, and a lot of times people get very nervous — they're scared, they're sick.
But I think that isn't a reason to hold back from trying new things. I think that especially with digital, it's very easy today to try a new type of message, or a new type of way of communicating to someone. Let's say you never blogged before, why not try a blog? Let's say you never did email marketing, why not try it? Or a new type of message?
The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new. I think that often, as health care marketers, we can get stuck in the same way of doing things. And, a lot of times it's a little too safe.
[bctt tweet="As health care marketers, we can get stuck in the same way of doing things. The worst that can happen is you measure it, you learn from it, and you try something new. @BosCreativeCopy #BreakFreeB2B #ContentMarketing #healthcare" username="toprank"]
Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:
- Break Free B2B Series: Amanda Todorovich on Creating Content that Pays Off
- Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics
- Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing
If you're hungry for more insight and advice on the state of trust in marketing, check out our Trust Factors series:
- Trust Begins Within: The Vital Importance of Building Internal Trust in Marketing
- Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy
- The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel
- Trust Factors: The (In)Credible Impact of B2B Influencer Marketing
- Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility
- Tip of the Iceberg: A Story of Trust in Marketing as Told by Statistics
- Be Like Honest Abe: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust Through Storytelling
- Trust in Marketing is at Risk. These CMOs and Marketing Influencers Share How to Fix
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Google recently copied their mobile result layout over to desktop search results. The three big pieces which changed as part of that update were
- URLs: In many cases Google will now show breadcrumbs in the search results rather than showing the full URL. The layout no longer differentiates between HTTP and HTTPS. And the URLs shifted from an easily visible green color to a much easier to miss black.
- Favicons: All listings now show a favicon next to them.
- Ad labeling: ad labeling is in the same spot as favicons are for organic search results, but the ad labels are a black which sort of blends in to the URL line. Over time expect the black ad label to become a lighter color in a way that parallels how Google made ad background colors lighter over time.
Last year, our search results on mobile gained a new look. That’s now rolling out to desktop results this week, presenting site domain names and brand icons prominently, along with a bolded “Ad” label for ads. Here’s a mockup: pic.twitter.com/aM9UAbSKtv— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 13, 2020
One could expect this change to boost the CTR on ads while lowering the CTR on organic search results, at least up until users get used to seeing favicons and not thinking of them as being ads.
Conspiracy Theory: The REAL reason icons are in SERPs is to encourage "banner blindness" for the "Ad" text. Once people see the icons over and over, they will learn to mentally ignore the top left. pic.twitter.com/LaXdZjNLK1— Rishi Lakhani (@rishil) January 17, 2020
I suspect a lot of phishing sites will use subdomains patterned off the brand they are arbitraging coupled with bogus favicons to try to look authentic. I wouldn't reconstruct an existing site's structure based on the current search result layout, but if I were building a brand new site I might prefer to put it at the root instead of on www so the words were that much closer to the logo.
Google provides the following guidelines for favicons
- Both the favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google (that is, they cannot be blocked to Google).
- Your favicon should be a visual representation of your website's brand, in order to help users quickly identify your site when they scan through search results.
- Your favicon should be a multiple of 48px square, for example: 48x48px, 96x96px, 144x144px and so on. SVG files, of course, do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is supported. Google will rescale your image to 16x16px for use in search results, so make sure that it looks good at that resolution. Note: do not provide a 16x16px favicon.
- The favicon URL should be stable (don’t change the URL frequently).
- Google will not show any favicon that it deems inappropriate, including pornography or hate symbols (for example, swastikas). If this type of imagery is discovered within a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.
In addition to the above, I thought it would make sense to provide a few other tips for optimizing favicons.
- Keep your favicons consistent across sections of your site if you are trying to offer a consistent brand perception.
- In general, less is more. 16x16 is a tiny space, so if you try to convey a lot of information inside of it, you'll likely end up creating a blob that almost nobody but you recognizes.
- It can make sense to include the first letter from a site's name or a simplified logo widget as the favicon, but it is hard to include both in a single favicon without it looking overdone & cluttered.
- A colored favicon on a white background generally looks better than a white icon on a colored background, as having a colored background means you are eating into some of the scarce pixel space for a border.
- Using a square shape versus a circle gives you more surface area to work with.
- Even if your logo has italics on it, it might make sense to avoid using italics in the favicon to make the letter look cleaner.
Here are a few favicons I like & why I like them:
- Citigroup - manages to get the word Citi in there while looking memorable & distinctive without looking overly cluttered
- Nerdwallet - the N makes a great use of space, the colors are sharp, and it almost feels like an arrow that is pointing right
- Inc - the bold I with a period is strong.
- LinkedIn - very memorable using a small part of the word from their logo & good color usage.
Some of the other memorable ones that I like include: Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, Google Play & CNBC.
Here are a few favicons I dislike & why
- Wikipedia - the W is hard to read.
- USAA - they included both the logo widget and the 4 letters in a tiny space.
- Yahoo! - they used inconsistent favicons across their sites & use italics on them. Some of the favicons have the whole word Yahoo in them while the others are the Y! in italics.
If you do not have a favicon Google will show a dull globe next to your listing. Real Favicon Generator is a good tool for creating favicons in various sizes.
What favicons do you really like? Which big sites do you see that are doing it wrong?
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