Everything is changing in healthcare. Consumer behavior has transformed, institutions are in great need of physicians and fluctuations in health care requirements have created somewhat of a mess.
That leaves health care officials in somewhat of a mess, too. How do you market to an ever-changing public about a constantly-evolving system?
The answers aren’t easy, but there are some methods that have proven their worth. Here, we’ll take you through the basics of each one so you can learn the best approaches for marketing in healthcare.
How Audiences Are Changing
It’s no joke that the medical sector has experienced a dramatic shift in consumer behavior.
Currently, the Baby Boomers are at stages where chronic conditions and other health issues are atypical. This coupled with the inappropriate use of medical services and innovation expenditures have led to increasingly high expenses for healthcare facilities. For patients whose primary concern is cost, this makes marketing difficult.
Further, newer healthcare expectations are shifting the way insurance companies approach institutions. Where employers and healthcare providers were once the main focus, now marketing requires engaging directly with customers.
And this is all occurring when more competitors than ever before are entering the market.
“As you can see,” states Brent Walker, Chief Marketing Officer at c2b Solutions, “the degree of change healthcare marketers face is arguably unparalleled in any other industry.
Which leads many marketers to wonder where do they go from here?
Marketing in Healthcare
These five strategies embrace the new trends in consumer behavior and the preference for digital media. They are effective marketing tools for today’s consumers.
1. Social Media
This practically goes without saying nowadays, but any company that utilizes social media will jump far ahead of those who don’t.
Interestingly, about 90% of physicians use social media for personal activity, but only 65% utilize it for their profession. A single line per day from a corporation can make a difference. One marketing firm claims they had a corporation enjoy 1000 new patient signups after turning to Facebook within 90 days.
Social media provides new ways of educating patients, reaching out to the community and even recruiting new patients.
Studies show that patients tend to seek healthcare facilities and doctors through social media, and reviews here can make or break a potential customer’s decision. In fact, a poll of 1,000 Americans found that 25% in the survey utilized social media for product and business information.
2. Company Website
The company website is possibly the most important branding and marketing instrument at your disposal. Over half of your potential patients will visit your company’s website to learn more about your brand. About 9 out of 10 will start their search for a provider online.
If you fail to impress them here, you’re looking at a huge loss of new patients.
What may also surprise marketers is that most customers may prefer news article content formats rather than the short article format utilized in blog posts. They are looking to see you know what you’re talking about and that you’ll take the time to communicate thoroughly.
Further, websites offer an almost unlimited access, breaking geographical boundaries that once existed in a cost-effective manner that could make even the most stingy manager exuberant.
For the most effective website, consider the following:
- Separate pages for every physician
- Fast load speeds
- 24/7 customer service
- Accessibility for disabled persons
Blogging has become a highly effective healthcare strategy, as well, and it’s something you can add to your company’s website. Even better, you can backlink to other articles in your business site.
A company blog can funnel in returning and new customers, increase your SEO ranking and connect with your target audiences. Furthermore, it’s a great way to establish trust with future clients.
Customers love blogs. A firm testament to this strategy’s strength is the way in which it can backfire; in 2004, a blogger confirmed that a Kryptonite Evolution lock could be opened with a regular pen. The company, which had promised the lock was resistant to practically everything, was met with a slew of criticism that led to a free product exchange for anyone who had purchased that lock.
The gambit cost the company over $10 million.
4. SEO and Locator Tools
Almost 80% of patients use a search engine before setting an appointment with a healthcare provider. That means if you don’t show up in the rankings, you’re likely to be passed over.
Blogging is certainly one way to increase your SEO rank, but there are several other means, as well. Keywords, headings, credible links and media content such as photos or videos can all affect where your business shows up in a search. And these are all elements that can be easily integrated into your website and blog.
On top of SEO strategies, marketers should also use locator tools.
Approximately 40% of mobile searchers are for businesses local to the location of the search. You want to make it as easy as possible for patients to find you. To do that, use a locator tool.
Your healthcare provider or facility should be mentioned in large search engine directories and on websites offering coupons, such as Groupon. Furthermore, consider offering pushes for patients in certain areas to alert them to anything they might find relevant.
All of this means those cell phones everyone carries around act as perfect devices that help customers contact you instead of the other way around. They also allow you to moderate ads and promotions to meet location and consumer preferences.
5. Media-Sharing Sites
According to consultant medical writer C. Lee Ventola, “In medicine, media-sharing sites can be important resources for education, community building, marketing, and branding.”
Media sharing sites are huge. Further, most of them are free, making them a prime candidate for marketing.
These sites allow users to share videos, music, and photos with other users. Think YouTube and you’ll have the perfect understanding of what a media sharing site can do for business.
YouTube alone can bring in untold revenue, as its mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. In a study conducted by AOL Platforms, it was found that YouTube is the strongest form of social network when it comes to introducing new products and driving conversions.
If you haven’t already, consider a YouTube channel to directly reach out to customers, educating them or discussing common issues and questions they face in the healthcare industry.
The Tip of the Glacier
We’ve only scratched the surface on what can be accomplished. You may have noticed a trend: practically all marketing in healthcare is going digital.
This new world can be quite daunting, which is why we’re here to help. Give us a call today to learn more about our unique services and start hearing your company’s name mentioned across the world.