Seventy-two percent of internet users look up health information each year, and 77 percent of these online health queries begin with a search engine. What does this mean for the future of healthcare marketing?
Gone are the days of newspaper ads, mass mailings, and phone calls. Instead, digital marketing across multiple channels provides the best outreach.
Consider this: in 2018, the typical marketing firm dedicated 41 percent of its marketing budget to digital marketing. This figure will grow to 45 percent by 2020.
How do you create a digital marketing strategy for today’s healthcare consumers? Read on to learn about seven best practices for healthcare marketing in 2018.
1. Get Social to Build Trust
Building trust represents the most important aspect of healthcare marketing. Your brand will fail or succeed based on trust. This applies to all points of contact from the first office visit to how patients receive aftercare instructions.
In the past, trust was established through face-to-face contact, mailers, and phone calls. Today, social media drives trust-building interactions. Social media provides internet users with 40 percent of their healthcare advice. So, focus on building a strong patient network where patients already go for medical advice.
2. Know Your Competition
Have you taken a look at your competitors’ marketing efforts? Check in with the competition to gain new insights. Explore how other healthcare marketers leverage the web to find new patients.
Monitor your competition’s social profiles. And consider a competitive audit. As you’re looking over what your competitors do, analyze the strengths and weaknesses. Then, use this research to identify actionable healthcare marketing strategies.
3. Embrace Change
Few industries have undergone the kind of shake-up seen in healthcare over recent years. And changes will continue. So, work flexibility and proactivity into your healthcare marketing strategy.
Stay on top of industry trends and consumer behaviors. For example, many consumers now rely on resources such as eDrugSearch for affordable prescription options. Instead of fighting the trend, provide excellent customer service and wraparound care. How? By offering patients information about resources like this.
Sharpen your analysis skills when it comes to understanding the implications of real-time reporting. Always be prepared to act through social media when opportunities arise. Strive to create a healthcare experience where wraparound care supports patients every step of their journey.
4. Speak Directly to Your Audience
No matter how or where you present your healthcare marketing message, if that message doesn’t resonate with the right people, you’ve failed.
So, optimize how your target audience receives information from you. This will increase ROI and ensure that your marketing budget goes the extra mile. New technologies such as geo-fencing, advanced targeting, and interest targeting can help you reach the right people at the right time.
Geo-fencing allows you to interface with target users’ phones when they are within a 5 to 10-mile radius of your customers’ location. Advanced targeting employs predictive modeling to identify the best potential patients for your clients. Finally, interest targeting in social media allows you to deliver ads to the optimal audience.
5. Use Automation to Support Customers
A healthcare provider should be in regular contact with patients throughout the care cycle, from pre- to post-visit and beyond. Marketing automation takes much of the mundane out of these communications. They automate email appointment reminders, surveys, follow-up care instructions, and etc.
When automated, these communications bring in a higher level of patient engagement.
What’s more, they send a consistent message. They demonstrate how important patient care and satisfaction is to your healthcare organization. By automating these processes, you’ll build brand awareness and customer loyalty and satisfaction.
6. User Experience Matters
Retail marketers already operate the way you should. So, borrow some of their principles. Just like retail customers, patients expect a higher level of care. They also expect personalized communication.
Besides targeting patients and automating communications, your healthcare provider website should be easy to find and mobile-friendly. Otherwise, you stand to lose patients. Seventy-nine percent of consumers will search for another site if yours isn’t convenient for use on a mobile device.
The same goes for other points of contact. From email messages to appointment requests, your online presence should demonstrate functionality.
Finally, your site needs keyword optimization to be found in search engines. So, make a robust SEO strategy top priority. Otherwise, patients will never have the chance to test out your user-friendly site because they won’t find it…
7. Pay Attention to the Numbers
Marketing remains an art not a science. How your customers will respond to a new marketing effort can only be predicted. There are no guarantees. So, it’s crucial to stay on top of the numbers.
You need to know what’s working, what isn’t, and how the numbers fit into your overarching goals. Set clear ways to measure the success of each marketing campaign. And don’t be afraid to make adjustments when the numbers tell you to reassess.
Understanding what your healthcare system’s users do and don’t like will help you develop the most profitable strategy for your company’s marketing. Digital marketing represents a two-way conversation. Take advantage of this online edge to tailor communications to your customers.
Healthcare Marketing Best Practices
Patient relationships start and end with trust. It should run like a golden thread throughout every aspect of your marketing strategy. Like retailers, it’s time to get in the digital marketing game so that you can reach your patients and engage on their turf.
Digital marketing continues to reshape how marketers interact with prospects and customers. The same holds true for the healthcare industry. Web marketing comes with strategic tools to ensure that you reach your target audience.
Once you’ve started communicating with that target audience, aim for exceptional customer service. Use digital marketing tools to earn patients trust and inspire their loyalty.
Which digital tools are you using to market your healthcare provider? Could any of the strategies or resources in this article apply to your marketing future? If so, which ones will you add to your healthcare marketing approach in 2018?
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