Marketing trends are constantly changing and evolving. Healthcare is no exception. From content to social media, to service, here are a few trends in the healthcare marketing field.
As the digital age persists, more and more of our daily lives are influenced by digital platforms. This holds true for consumers who are searching for healthcare. According to Think with Google’s The Digital Journey to Wellness: Hospital Selection, 77% of patients use search engines before booking appointments.
Search drives almost three times as many visitors to hospital sites, as compared to those from other referral sources. Additionally, most commonly researched topics include specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors or other health professionals. As a healthcare provider, being visible in the digital space is a key to driving traffic.
In older more traditional times, patients would consult a physician first. While input from friends and family helps, doctors know best. In today’s ever-increasing amount of information available online, this is no longer the case. According to the Pew Research Center, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. has gone online to figure out a medical condition. They have been coined by Pew as being “online diagnosers.”
Utilize the online diagnosers through informative content on your website. A potential client or patient is searching for answers on a certain disorder or symptoms of an illness. By making clear concise relatable content – easy to find online, you can expand your reach to self-diagnosers. Why is it important to note these online diagnosers? Because 53% ended up talking with a clinician about their findings online.
And yet, according to the study, 8 in 10 online health inquiries started with a search engine, like Google, Bing or Yahoo. Patients want their health and wellness information as readily available as a Yelp review for their favorite restaurant. Translation, make certain your content is Search Engine Optimized, so it’s at the top of search results. Need help? Check out this link from Top Whale Marketing.
Healthcare providers are a growing resource as well. With online sources available to both the providers and the patients, results can come about much quicker than ever before. “Physicians now have access to resources and patient information instantly, yielding a much greater level of collaboration and speed-to-treatment than ever before,” reads an article by Cramer online.
The swift shift in healthcare has quickly revealed to be the pursuit of individual wellness. Who’s making the change? The largest generation behind this shift is Millennials, where they strive for a healthy lifestyle. A recent study by Goldman Sachs explains: “For Millennials, ‘healthy’ doesn’t just mean ‘not sick.’ It’s a daily commitment to eating right and exercising.” The study also found that on the flipside, most Baby Boomers feel that healthy implies a meaning of “not falling sick” or even “the right weight for your height”.
Within the study, results also showed that many are brand loyalists to those in healthcare and wellness industries. “They’re using apps to track training data, and online information to find the healthiest foods. And this is one space where they’re willing to spend money on compelling brands.”
These findings are significant to marketing strategies for healthcare professionals. Patients and clients are becoming more self–informed on their health. Keep this in mind, and build tracking apps and other technological touchpoints into your content and outreach strategies. Create a brand name through similar platforms.
Believe it or not, Fitbit, Under Armour (the creators behind the My Fitness Pal and Map My Run mobile apps), and other similar known brands all have blogs that you can link to, branching brand loyalty from service to service.
The number of patients and consumers finding healthcare information online is staggering. But moreover, as stated in the previously mentioned Think Google study, 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment. What does this mean for marketers? It conveys the crucial importance of making your website mobile responsive.
Picture this: a potential patient finds your healthcare service on a search engine listing. Intrigued, they click on the website link. But instead of an easy to read and navigate resource, they are stumbling through, enlarging improperly formatted content; in other words, the website is not mobile responsive.
Google, for instance, shares information with users through search engines using a mobile-first algorithm. This means your website, if not mobile compatible, will be ranked lower in the search results, making your crystal clear content completely irrelevant. Learn more about how to make your website responsive – by visiting Google’s Webmaster’s Blog.
Another reason mobile responsive is so important: for some – more so for lower income adults – mobile devices are the only way to log online. The number of “smartphone-only” internet users is on the rise. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016, 12% of adults owned a smartphone but did not have a broadband internet at home. The jump rose from just 8% three years prior. Bottom line: make sure your content is readable on a smartphone or tablet.
Individualized healthcare is booming. Keeping patients informed on their specific needs is crucial to healthcare providers. Much of this began in January 2015, when former President Obama introduced the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). As stated in the Privacy and Trust Principles for PMI, “Precision medicine is enabling a new era of clinical care through research, technology, and policies that empower patients, researchers, and providers to work together toward the development of individualized care.”
Why is this important to healthcare marketing? The way physician marketing has typically taken place is from a one-to-many perspective. This transition to precision puts patients in more control of their treatments. “A change in the culture of medical practice and medical research to engage individuals as active collaborators – not just as patients or research subjects,” reads the PMI document.
Keep an open line of communication to implement precision based medicine. Make healthcare providers readily available to answer individualized questions, whether it be through a messaging app or service, or becoming available through email or text. The more communication, the clearer the service.
These days, more and more people are receiving their information on social media. A large majority of content is shared from blog posts on websites to photos and stories of friends and family. However, healthcare’s presence on social media creates an open dialogue between patients and healthcare providers.
Sales and marketing solutions website Call Box, Inc. shares their insight to brand acknowledgment on the expanding social media platforms. The more people recognize your brand on major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the easier it will be when they need your services or products.
Additionally, Call Box, Inc. says to include other messaging apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat to the plethora of platforms available for open dialogue. Be available to answer quick questions via text or email as well.
The more relevant your content, the better it is. But more important than relevancy, is shareable content. Patients are looking for information they can use in their everyday lives and share with their networks. If your content only speaks to one portion of your audience, it’s time to take a second look. Storytelling has become an effective messaging tactic as well. Learning about a treatment through the eyes of a current patient is sometimes easier to digest than facts and figures.
For tips on how to create inspiring industry related content for blogs or websites, check out Top Whale’s strategies here.
Video has always been a player in the marketing scheme for healthcare. However growing in popularity and demand are real-time videos. Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter, healthcare professionals can share information live and up to the minute. If you’re new to the video realm, start with YouTube. Many internet users reach out to the video content to gain information. But remember those apps. You can be immediately responsive to viewers; versus pre-programmed content can seem a bit colder.
Through demands from both individuals and technology, there have been several transitions in telemedicine. Easier accessibility to doctors makes communication between physicians and patients increasingly simple. However, “With rising costs and increased demand, primary care practitioners need to rethink their business models to unlock value — and be rewarded for their contributions,” Dr. Simon Samaha, a principal in PricewaterhouseCooper’s US Health Industries practice, said in a press release. “We’re going to see non-traditional players shake up the industry using new technologies and innovative approaches focused on convenience for patients and value for providers.”
Innovative solutions in telemedicine include devices that can monitor patient health by sending stats to physicians directly, as well as private networks where patients can send images directly to the doctor and receive specialized instructions on the spot. Many insurance companies offer this service. Take a look a few more advances.
Increasing the use of telemedicine means that there will be more opportunity for monetization moving forward. Monetizing experiences such as online doctor-patient consultations can contribute to brand differentiation, office efficiency, and profitability, according to Healthcare Success.
In an ever changing and constantly evolving marketplace, the healthcare industry is no exception to change. Content needs to be absolutely relevant. Practitioners need to be readily available for questions. Transparency will prevail, and patients will become more like consumers than patients. While many practices in traditional medicine will always remain, effects from a digital age are apparent. Not keeping up with the times can be detrimental to any healthcare marketing campaign or budget. Don’t be afraid to get in front of the audience you’re after. Work for the people, and with the people to create the most effective brand awareness strategies.