As we head into a new year, here are some key marketing trends to keep an eye out for in 2016.
1) Provide Information using Digital Channels
According to Pew Research, when asked where they last searched for health or medical information, 77% of participants reported using a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Another 13% said they used a site specializing in health information, like WebMD. A small, but significant, percentage reported they used a general site like Wikipedia or social media to start their research.
These findings illustrate how important it is for healthcare providers to incorporate search engine marketing and an optimization strategy into their marketing strategy. If consumers can’t find your website or it doesn’t have the information they’re seeking, they can and will look elsewhere.
2) Get mobile-friendly
Amazingly, one study found that 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24 hours a day. When searching online for information on local products and services, 60% of American adults use smartphones and tablets.
Given this knowledge, marketers cannot underestimate the value of a responsive design. Consumers no longer have the patience for websites that don’t load on their mobile devices. Looking great on a desktop doesn’t help the 60% of Americans who check services on mobile. Your website should be responsive, fast, and be easy to navigate.
In April 2015, Google updated its algorithm, resulting in lower rankings for non-mobile friendly websites. You can test your website for mobile friendliness using Google’s tool: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Also, mobile apps provide a new avenue for assisting patients who are seeking information on their options and help with their health plans. Here is a list of apps created by Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/mobile-apps
3) Content Strategy is a MUST
Patients are generally looking for user-friendly educational information to help them make informed decisions. According to Pew Research, 59 % of U.S. adults say they looked online for health information within the past year. Recent research by Mashable found that participants used the following sources for online medical information:
- 56% WebMD
- 31% Wikipedia
- 29% health magazine websites
- 17% Facebook
- 15% YouTube,
- 13% a blog or multiple blogs
- 12% patient communities,
- 6% Twitter
- 27% none of the above.
Having blogs, videos, social media links, white papers, health assessments, and other health related content helps create an online experience for consumers who are seeking information. Being available and visible will create affinity with your brand. Not to mention that it will help you get your website rank higher on search engines!
4) Monitor Your Online Reputation
Word-of-mouth is still important in healthcare marketing. Informal conversations among friends and family are an important referral source for most practices. Increasingly, however, online reviews and reputation impact new patients’ decisions.
According to Software Advice, the number of patients checking online reviews jumped 68% from 2013 to 2014. Nearly half the respondents (44 %) said they would consider going out-of-network if the reviews were better than those of in-network doctors. With so many patients at stake, healthcare marketers cannot afford to ignore online reviews.
5) Social Media Strategy
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other social media platforms have experienced explosive growth in recent years. These networks are a trusted place that consumers go to find advice concerning their health. One study found 41% of people surveyed said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
Healthcare consumers use and rely on social media to make healthcare decisions. It’s important to have a strong social media strategy that targets your patient base.
Which ones are going to implement this year? Share your thoughts, TODAY!