Evolving digital tools and virtually interacting platforms have radically enhanced the prospect of healthcare marketing. Fast-changing healthcare consumer behavior is further fuelling the trend. People are more concerned about their health safety. Confusing information and consumer scepticism is at all-time high. Widespread smartphone usage and readily-available healthcare content have enabled healthcare consumers to take charge of their healthcare.
Therefore, healthcare marketers face both opportunities and challenges in acquiring patients with proper visualization of changing consumer preferences and their conveniences.
Which digital marketing trends are likely to drive the healthcare business in the future?
Let us check with the following:
Focussed digital healthcare marketing for improved patient acquisition
Deloitte estimates that by 2030, revenue from inpatient visits and inpatient beds would see a 33% and 44% decline respectively. Keeping a long-term growth vision, aligning digital content is crucial to help in every stage of the patient journey. Reimagine your approach to hospital/clinic service line marketing strategies to meet consumers wherever they are at this moment.
Evolving digital health interaction platforms
Find and meet your patients/consumers in new digital media platforms apart from social media channels. Think of virtual reality, live-streaming, podcasting, wearables, and other platforms to communicate.
Proactive and humane communication will be crucial
Patients are no longer willing to hear about your “challenging times”. Rather they want you to understand them in ways they feel comfortable. Therefore, healthcare brands that communicate with compassion will be the patients’ first choice.
A survey finds, some 44% of patients consider a caring physician as #1 in patient experience. 42% patients preferred physicians or providers who spends time listening to their problems without rushing for other tasks. Healthcare marketeers need to understand – Empathy matters.
Messages need to be simple and useful answering all the patients’ queries even before those are asked. Brainstorm to find what your patients need right now. Make verified information from experts readily available to patients on different platforms.
Patient first approach to matter in brand reputation
Brands are likely to lose trust if they choose profitability over people. Healthcare consumers need reassurances from you regarding their safety while journeying with you.Maintain transparency in operation and transactions. Make sure your patients do not meet unpleasant surprises while interacting with your brand. Engage your PR activities to draw attention to your community-supportive activities.
More competition for Zero Click searches
Do you know that over half of the google searches result in zero clicks, especially on mobile devices? The trick is to regularly optimize your content with relevant keywords to rank top on page one.
Align your content for featured snippets in Google. Not only will your content rank top on SERP but also enhances your brand positioning. Even in voice search, 7 out of 10 voice searches show up in snippet. Target question-based searches starting with How, who, why, what, etc.
Video – the king of content
A curated video clip is the most powerful way to allow your potential patients have a sneak peek into your offerings. It helps in building trust with the provider before the patient fixes the consultation. Create educative content that will matter most for patients. A video is a great platform to explain things making your customers understand.
Patients remain bothered with ongoing health emergencies. Therefore, your content must address the existing concerns more than anything else. Get a physician or a top healthcare organization staff to deliver engaging content that will answer patients’ queries. Take this opportunity to present how you or your facility is helping in keeping patients safe while offering them the needed support.
Enhanced patient journey with Virtual healthcare
9 in 10 persons in America are planning to shift to telemedicine. Still, the average consumer is not aware of how can the telemedicine experience be different. Instead of focusing on the delivery channel, meet patients at their moment of need and guide them to appropriate virtual care.
Micro-influencers to expand social media reach
Influencer marketing is a growing trend in digital healthcare marketing. Not necessarily, you need to get global influencers and celebrities to do the necessary talking. Find a local influencer whose followers will align with your services. Offer him/her a complimentary service in exchange for an honest experiencing sharing with his/her followers. You are sure to see higher patient footfalls.
Positive digital reputation to create a better influence
85% of consumers trust online reviews as many as personal recommendations. According to a survey in the US hospitals, 90% of adults reported of trusting medical information shared by friends and peers on social media platforms. 41% of patients admitted of social media influence in their healthcare provider selection.
It takes only 1-6 reviews for a potential patient to book a healthcare service. Create a dedicated program to get as much as reviews on social media and other digital healthcare platforms.
Increased visibility with local SEO
With the fast-changing algorithms nearly 500-600 times a year, Google is more focused on local SEOs. 46% of Google search results are based on the user’s geographical location. On Page SEO optimization will need more attention. Google Business Listings and backlinks will matter more.Generate more reviews by linking your website. Focus on local keywords.
Shifting healthcare marketing trends
This is driven by two factors:
- Transformation from free for service payment system to a healthcare delivery system depending upon clarity, quality of service delivered and success rate.
- A growth in the number of conscious healthcare consumers.The shift in the trend has an impact on both the identification of potential customers and the means to reach them.
Consequently, the bit played by doctors has changed a lot and have been affected by 5 major factors as follows:
Doctors have turned into employees:
After the Affordable Care Act 2010 came into force, there is a trend among hospitals to own physicians rather than allowing them to participate in decision-making process. They turn into functional machinery in marketing medical products and services.
A survey reveals that:
- 21% of physicians in all departments are employed by hospitals.
- 14 % are in service in a single or a polyclinic.
- 14 % are employed by privately owned single or polyclinics.
- 9 % are engaged as freelance contractors.
- There has been a rise in the number of primary care physicians working in hospitals from 10 % in 2012 to 20 % in 2014.
Rise in awareness among consumers:
Now the consumers started to do a bit of research work rather than blindly following what the medics preached. The internet is within easy access and the key to unlock the trove of medical updates is in the consumers’ grips.They take the ownership of their own wellbeing and see healthcare as a combined project between themselves and their physicians.
Marketers targeting consumers and payers:
Healthcare marketers need to interact with different types of users. The primary users include healthcare consumers, providers, and payers. However, the consumers and payers are the most important groups on whom the target needs to be placed as they generate revenue!
Decision-making in the domain of healthcare is now being dictated by the choices of consumers and payers. The doctors are used as a fulcrum and their functional responsibility shifts from just treating patients to marketing products and services to them.
Ages ago, the buzz word of a clinic was ‘get well soon and we would help you get well. We wish you will never have to come back here again’. In today’s competitive market where customer is the bread and butter in healthcare industry, such a quote has lost importance for all practical purpose.
Digital channels overtake traditional marketing:
Market survey reveals that expansion in pharmaceutical based companies has their credit to social media, mobile/ tablet apps, and digital marketing. Providers of hospital services are now converting their marketing strategy to digital channels rather than the traditional methods of selling their products and services.
The decision-making process in the domain of healthcare is to be governed by digital contents:
A survey revealed that:
- 77 % of the patients used internet search before deciding on a doctor or a clinic.
- 83 % patients explored hospital sites before booking an appointment.
- 54 % used health insurance company websites.
- 50 % used health information websites.
- 26 % of them reviewed interviews with consumers.
Digital and mobile marketing:
Good healthcare marketers construct resourceful websites that gives the consumers ample opportunity to browse through them and have access to information that they are looking for. The information need to be qualitative, accurate and quick. Telemedicine is a new addition to the modernized and mechanized healthcare concept. Here patients have an access to treatment through video conferencing.
The role of social media:
Social media is a resourceful and fairly reliable platform where there is always some exchange of views and experiences floating pertaining to healthcare. Consumers connect with each other and obtain valuable updates regarding medical treatments, comparative prices and success rates which are of immense help to consumers.
Role of marketing technology in transformation of healthcare services:
Currently, we live in a digital world where a phone call or a mail could bring merchandise or a service to a consumers’ doorstep. Healthcare is no different. Since past few years, healthcare providers have invested squillions in online marketing, designing websites and reaching out to customers.
A mouse click can give you an access to the best doctor and the best clinic around.
Booking an appointment, searching a drug or effecting a payment has turned so easy now.In a nutshell, marketing technology which is heavily based on the electronic media is going to revolutionize healthcare industry in the coming years.
The paradigm shift in healthcare marketing is affecting the healthcare players significantly posing challenges and opportunities to create and maintain the brand in quality healthcare service.