2015 is about to end and now it is time to prepare the marketing strategies for the next year. Developing a successful marketing plan can be a long and delicate process. The way consumers buy is changing every day and medical practices are not exempt from this process. In order to ensure a competitive place in the healthcare market, it is important to be aware of the main marketing trends for Healthcare in 2016 and design your marketing strategy accordingly.
Important Reasons Why Healthcare Needs Online and Social Media Marketing
Globally, 2016 will be almost entirely about the digital world. Topics like social media, mobile marketing, videos, and SEO will become more important in the medical industry. As medical marketing stands right now, vital mHealth trends are rising to point to a 2016 path including:
- 31% of health care organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing. (source: Institute for Health)
- From a recent study, 54% of patients are very comfortable with their providers seeking advice from online communities to better treat their conditions. (source: Mediabistro)
- 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
- Parents are more likely to seek medical answers online, 22% use Facebook and 20% use YouTube. Of non-parents, 14% use Facebook and 12% use YouTube to search for health care related topics. (source: Mashable)
- 60% of social media users are the most likely to trust social media posts and activity by doctors over any other group. (source: Infographics Archive)
- Roughly 1/3 of patients used tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for research and/or to book appointments (Source: Google)
- 52% of patients use health information sites for research. (Source: Google)
- 81% of people click on a sponsored link when looking for health information (Source: Geocentric)
It is well known that most of the people make medical decisions on the web before booking an appointment with a doctor, so it is very clear that what healthcare providers need is to deploy strong social media, location based marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization) strategies in their marketing plan. The Pew Research Center, for example, reveals that family caregivers interact with their health online more than other internet users to find answers such as medical treatments, doctor recommendations, or hospitals reviews. Keeping in mind that 77% of health consultation starts in search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo, it is clear that access to potential patients begins with a computer or mobile device.
Here are the five Healthy Medical Marketing Trends for 2016 that will help doctors and hospitals take advantage of the most important digital tools:
Important Ways Marketing Helps Medical Practices and Doctors
Mobile Marketing – Available on Patient Schedule
According to comScore, the mobile marketing time is now greater than desktop and other media sources. Recent studies indicate that 80% of the local information searches are done from mobile devices, compared with the past year, so it is very important to implement mobile marketing to increase your brand awareness.
A mobile responsive website, per the newest Google mandate to give priority to mobile optimized sites, will list in search engines easier and give potential patients a better to opportunity to find qualified medical practices. It is not only about providing a good visitor experience, but it is necessary to be compatible with today’s digital lifestyle.
The days of offline company promotions and advertisements are practically gone, especially in a local market. Patients and their caregivers are now looking for relevant information that aids in decision making when it comes to consulting a doctor, finding a hospital, or seeking a healthcare professional. Pew Research affirm that in 2013, 72% of internet users made health consultations, to seek things like conditions, drugs, hospitals, doctors, among other health questions.
Reputation Management – Connecting Current Patients to Potential Patients
There is nothing as effective as word-of-mouth publicity especially in for healthcare industry. Doctors, hospitals, and medical professionals have been at the forefront of reputation management and protection in an offline arena. As more than 40% of people affirm that information found in social media impacts the way they deal with their health (Mediabistro), it is essential to build a reputation management plan that ensures that medical services are listed in the correct online channels and adequate monitoring of brands occurs on a scheduled basis.
Years ago, Google® established the motto that “content is king.” The smart medical professional or hospital uses content to build their reputation online. By creating content that educates and engages an audience, healthcare providers and doctors help answer questions for patients while establishing trust and expertise. Combining online reviews with strong content gives the medical practice a head start to making new patients comfortable with the practice before they even step in the door.
Social Media Roar – Best Foot Forward
Social media has quickly grown and establishing active accounts in networks such as LinkedIn®, Facebook®, YouTube®, and Twitter® is fundamental in medical practice marketing. When doctors talking about health, they have the ability to create reliable information (which is rare on the internet) and entice new patients into their practice. This interaction represents a great chance for medical professionals to get closer to their patients and decision making caregivers. How doctors and healthcare providers take advantage of social media in the future will determine the results.
Through videos, doctors can provide a vast array of content from get to know you greetings to testimonials of success stories to professional medical advice to attract the interest of potential patients and increase ongoing engagement. Sometimes, blogs can be dry, but videos are excellent ways to demonstrate credibility and add valuable content to educate an audience.
Social media plays a key role to encourage patients to share their experience with a healthcare professional and interact with potential patients. Using online review social media channels like Yelp®, Facebook® reviews, Google® reviews, a doctor or medical office can easily gather the best testimonials for gaining new patients.
Biggest Step – Start Planning Marketing Strategy 2016 Now
Online strategies are becoming a must in every healthcare marketing plan. Patients give more importance to the value content than traditional advertisement. Competition in the medical field is staggering and reputation brand jeopardy is growing. The best way to get ahead of the competition and in front of potential patients is to start planning your 2016 medical marketing campaign today.
Contact HealthCare Marketing Group to discuss your options or download our complimentary MEDICAL MARKETING GUIDE to get you on the fast track to success.