The healthcare industry has been slow to adopt digital marketing innovations. Why is this? Well, thanks to HIPPA regulations and the FDA’s rather constraining marketing efforts, it’s not always easy keep up to date with the latest digital marketing trends. On top of this, marketing strategies typically take a back seat to patient care, as it should be.
Having said this, studies have shown that 77% of patients perform online research prior to booking an appointment and roughly 93 million Americans have searched for a health-related topic on the Internet.
It’s pretty clear that consumers turn to online resources during initial research and ongoing care. This makes it very important that healthcare organizations take advantage of all that digital marketing offers to boost patient engagement and care outcomes.
In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, it’s easy for organizations to get lost in the crowd. Use these 5 digital marketing strategies to engage patients and drive growth.
- Optimize for Search (SEO)
When looking for a local hospital, urgent care clinic, or to simply get a bit of information on symptoms they may be experiecning, consumers typically use a search engine such as Google to find what they’re looking for. In addition, studies have shown that 44% of patients who use a mobile device to research hospitals wound up seeking care from that hospital.
It is incredibly important that healthcare marketers keep search engine optimization (SEO) in mind when considering their overall digital strategy. Use relevant keywords to tag your organic content like blog posts, patient testimonials and educational videos so they rank in the search engines.
One thing to keep in mind is that more and more people are using voice-activated search, so be sure to create content that will match the unique phrasing and structure of these particular queries.
And finally, with so many searches being performed on a mobile device, it’s incredibly important that your site is optimized for mobile. This means having a dynamic design with fast load times that makes navigation and browsing incredibly easay for mobile users.
- Engage Patients on Social Media
Right now there are countless digital conversations taking place on social media platforms. Smart marketers take part in these conversations to engage prospects and improve population health outcomes.
In consumers’ eyes, healthcare organizations are not much different than any other company they give their money to. They have come to expect doctors and hospital staff to have a presence on social media and interact with them.
Studies have shown that 57% of consumers’ decisions the get treatment at a particular healthcare facility are significantly influenced by that facility’s social media marketing efforts. In general, people put more trust in organizations that engage online.
- Produce Video Content
Video marketing is big, really big right now. Consider this: 85% of Internet users in the U.S. watch video content monthly. And demand for video is also increasing.
Healthcare marketers that develop video content will able to provide information about complex health issues in an easy-to-understand format. This content helps to build trust among prospective patients.
Will creating video content take a bit more time and effort? Yep. But the payoff is worth it as video content is far more dynamic than the crowded written medical arena.
- Get Personal
It doesn’t get any more personal than health. Therefor when marketing to prospective patients, it’s important to create highly personalized campaigns. Generic content simply won’t cut it.
To create messaging that is relevant to your audience, you’ve got to first fully understand WHO your audience is. Who are you trying to reach? Expectant mothers? Senior citizens? College students?
One way to create personalized campaigns is to use a healthcare CRM (HCRM) system that collects and stores patient data. Using this type of system, you can create ultra-detailed target personas around which to build your campaigns. Think in terms of key demographic information such as age, gender, diagnosis and prognosis details.
So for instance, by digging through the data at your disposal, you may decide to create a digital marketing campaign around 67-year-old women who are good candidates for hip replacement surgery. Video content could be developed that outlines the benefits of hip replacement surgery and painful symptoms the surgery may eliminate. And, because the marketing team is optimizing all content to rank in search engines, it can be easily found by local prospects when searching for information on hip pain.
Digital strategies should be an essential part of every healthcare marketer’s overall marketing plan. To be successful, just be sure to optimize for search and mobile devices, engage on social media, create engaging video content, and develop personalized campaigns by leveraging the patient data you have at your disposal. If you do these 4 things, you will improve your practice’s or facility’s bottom line while also driving better patient care.