We are over halfway through 2019, we are going to discuss the healthcare marketing trends for 2020.
First things first, it’s never too late to monitor what’s going on around you. Things change so quickly in the digital world, that reading a trend article in December and leaving at that can be detrimental to your marketing efforts.
Let’s get straight to the trends that are even more important now:
1. Patient Personas
Built from the real words of real patients, a patient persona tells you what prospective patients are thinking and doing as they weigh their options to address a problem that your medical facility resolves. Much more than a one-dimensional profile of the people you need to influence, or a map of their journey, actionable patient personas reveal insights about your patients’ decisions — the specific values and challenges that drive prospective patients to choose you or your competitor.
A patient persona is not merely a description of your patient. Simply profiling your patients’ results in too many personas and not nearly enough marketing guidance.
But when you have insights into what your patients think about your practice, including quotes from people who have recently made the decision to solve a similar problem, you have the knowledge you need to align your marketing decisions — from positioning and messaging through content marketing and sales enablement – with your patient’s expectations.
The ROI is this simple: When you know how to help patients evaluate your approach on their own terms, you build a bond of trust that your competitors can’t match.
Read more here: Why Patient Personas Are Essential for SEO
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is so much more than just creating and distributing content to engage audiences, generate leads or improve branding. It requires a strategic approach and that is why having a content marketing strategy is important.
Content marketing requires a strategy of its own and it should fit within your integrated marketing strategy. Having a content marketing strategy (which differs from a content strategy) helps you to analyse the different ways that content marketing can be used across your patient’s journey, their customer life cycle and the different customer touch-points. It should look at how content marketing can work in conjunction with other marketing and sales strategies.
One question that you need to be asking when developing your content marketing strategy is: “who are the patient personas that we are trying to target, and what are their content needs?” Starting off with this question enables you to look at the type of information that each of your personas looks for during their customer journey, and helps to map the customer touchpoint, preferred communication channel and content format.
Every prospective patient has their preferences in how they want to consume content, and meeting those expectations needs to be an obvious thought when putting together your content strategy. For example, the type of content that you create depends on the following: their pain points, their values, their challenges and frustrations etc.
Content marketing should be about offering the right type of content to address your prospective patient’s needs and desires. You should also bear their channel of choice in mind. We cover this in more detail when we discuss Multi-Channel Marketing later in this blog post.
3. Mobile Optimised Websites
If your website isn’t optimised for mobile yet, we strongly recommend doing so sooner rather than later.
So, what exactly is a mobile-friendly website?
A website optimised for mobile means that your site is fully responsive – this means that the contents of your website automatically adapts to fit any screen size. Research has found that 70% of traffic to sites are from a mobile device. It is also found that over 80% of internet users own a mobile device and many even use the device as the primary way to access the internet.
Mobile internet is a part of our daily lives, and you need to make sure that you are adapting to it. If prospective patients are coming to your website on a mobile, you need to make sure your site functions to accommodate this.
Having a site optimised for mobile is also important as mobile conversion rates are rapidly increasing, with the average conversion rate from mobile devices has gone up by 64% compared to desktop conversion rates. It also has significant benefits to your SEO rankings.
Since 2018, Google launched its mobile-first algorithm which meant that they are indexing the mobile version of the website ahead of desktop versions. Sites that do not perform well on mobiles are penalised which can drastically affect your search rankings.
4. Video Marketing
More and more marketers are developing video marketing strategies for their business, and it is with good reason. Quick question, would you rather read a lengthy article or watch a video to learn about a new product or service? Now, put yourself in your patient’s shoes.
Below I detail the 2 main benefits of video marketing:
- 1. It increases your brand’s awareness. Increasing your brand’s awareness helps to keep your medical facility at the top of your prospective patient’s mind when they are looking for a solution to their problems. Just to be clear, brand recognition is a lot more than whether someone instantly recognises your logo when they come across it. It’s also about the meaningful, long-lasting relationship that you develop with your audience. For this reason, video marketing is one of the best ways to do this. Did you know that videos receive the majority of traffic from users online? Did you also know that video is a fantastic way to increase conversion rates, generates and boost engagement? I’ll explain this in more detail below.
- It helps to increase conversions and boost engagement. If you are looking for a way to boost the performance of your medical landing pages, video is your answer. It is no longer a channel that requires extensive budgets that only major companies can afford, you too can have access to video tools that will enable you to script, film, edit and publish your videos. In fact, 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. Whether videos are used to break down complicated processes, explain certain symptoms and treatments of explaining how a product works, videos provide a lot of value to both existing and potential patients. Take a look at these incredible statistics for video: – 62% of consumers watch product review videos before making a purchase. – 84% of consumers surveyed were convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video. – 97% of video marketers reported that video increased user understanding of a product or service, and 76% reported video helped them increase sales. Including a video on your landing page can increase conversions by more than 80%. – 56% of consumers believe that a company should have video content on its website. – Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined
I think that covers that, don’t you?
5. Multichannel marketing
Multichannel marketing is the practice of interacting with your patients using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels – websites, clinics/practices, direct mail, leaflets, email, mobile etc, while enabling your patients to take action in response whether it’s to buy your product or service through the channel of their choice.
So, why is multichannel marketing so important?
Multichannel marketing is important for the simple reason that you need to be where your patients are.
There’s no doubt that people today have much more control over the buying process than marketers do. Thanks to the proliferation of available channels, your patients (existing and prospective) have more choices than ever when it comes to how they want to get information.
There are more ways to reach customers than we could have imagined not so long ago, and as the number of channels continues to rise, you need to embrace multichannel marketing to stay ahead of your competitors.
6. Online Reputation Management
Over the last couple of years, there has been increased importance in online reputation in the healthcare industry. 88% of healthcare patients start their search for a provider online with 80% of patients reading online reviews before they choose a provider. Therefore, online reputation management (ORM) should be your priority.
ORM should be viewed as a way to attract and acquire more patients into your practice/clinic. It is also a way for you to build trust with prospective patients and improve the patient experience.
Let’s look at the three trends that affect that way that healthcare providers like yourself engage with patients through ORM:
- Building trust: over the last few years, healthcare consumers have become more critical than ever when choosing a provider. They now require increased brand transparency and proactive engagement at the local level.
- Merging on online reputation and patient experience: patients are now linking their experiences with healthcare providers to the provider’s reputation online.
- AI and machine learning: to improve the patient experience, healthcare organisations will leverage AI and machine learning.
Read more about: Why You Need Online Reputation Management
7. Social Media Advertising
Social media marketing is the fastest-growing marketing trend within the healthcare industry with a reported 9 out of 10 businesses launching marketing campaigns on social media. Advertising through social media is one aspect of social media management that is being widely explored by brands today.
So, what exactly is social media advertising? Well, it is a form of online marketing that mainly focuses your marketing budget on social networking sites.
We’ll list the key benefits on social media advertising below – a more in-depth blog post will follow:
- Improved Brand Recognition
- Improved Brand Loyalty
- Improved Conversion Rates
- Better Search Engine Ranking
- Established Authority
- Better Targeting
- Reduced Marketing Costs
So those are the benefits, let’s take a look at the trends:
- 70% of businesses choose Facebook ads as the most useful for achieving their goals
- LinkedIn performs 277% better than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to generating visitor-to-lead conversions.
- 88% of social advertisers use Twitter. This makes it even more popular than Instagram. slides
The trends listed above identify the channel performances, however, the key to success is through the creation of an engaging consumer relationship on your social media channels. This will help to increase your brand’s presence online through genuine interest from your prospective patients. There is simply no point running ads on social media if your social strategy doesn’t seek to evoke engagement from your audience.
Once you begin running ads, measure the cost-per-acquisition through this channel and focus less on the cost-per-click. Although generating clicks from social media through to your website is a start, you need to monitor how many of those clicks convert to becoming a patient.
8. Local SEO
The days of businesses competing to be on top of the generic Google search engine results pages (SERPs) are behind us. Today, companies mostly care about ranking well for searches conducted locally.
This is especially true for healthcare businesses. In some cases, there may be little point in spending time, money and resources in trying to rank for searches in towns and cities that are very far to your facility, as those aren’t the users that are going to become your patients. You need to connect with patients that are local to you.
With all of that said, what’s the best way to achieve local search visibility? Here are just a few local SEO trends to be aware of in 2019:
1. Creating local content
When we say local, we don’t just mean content that references your town or city, we recommend referencing local events and local news that relates to your business.
2. Optimise for local search
“Hi Siri, where is the nearest dental practice?” More consumers are looking for businesses through their voice assistants, so be sure to optimise for natural-language inquiries.
3. Optimise your on-page SEO
- AMP pages
- Local Schema markups
- Local keyword content that sits above the fold
- Localised images and/or videos
4. Online reputation management
Encourage your patients to leave reviews on local directories. Google my Business is a fantastic way to enhance your local presence online.
Read more about it here: How to Optimise your Google Local 3-Pack
Here’s an infographic that includes additional healthcare marketing trends for 2019.