The U.S. health care industry spends more than $9.7 billion in ads each year, with an increasing amount going towards digital marketing efforts. Approximately 12.6 percent of this budget went to digital channels in 2016, according to AdAge, and that figure continues to rise. If you're new to digital healthcare marketing, use this guide to begin developing your strategy to bring in more patients and retain your current clients.
Why Digital Marketing Is Important in Healthcare Today
People with a health concern turn to digital channels to start their research. They may be worried about their own medical condition or that of a loved one. If they aren't feeling well, they could be trying to figure out whether they should make an appointment with their doctor, head to an emergency room or simply sleep it off.
Approximately 90 percent of adults based in the United States use the internet. Healthcare providers who ignore digital marketing channels put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. You don't reach potential patients during a critical decision-making period. When you have a robust digital marketing strategy in place, you can make them aware of your practice and drive them towards setting an appointment.
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The Benefits of Digital Marketing for Healthcare Providers
The biggest benefit to digital marketing in the health care industry is reaching your patients where they spend the most time. The majority of people have smartphones, so getting connected is easier than ever.
You have the opportunity to slowly build awareness of your practice through multiple touch points. It takes time to get someone to trust a new healthcare provider, and you can kickstart the relationship-building process through digital channels.
Digital marketing initiatives also give you the opportunity to experiment with multiple channels and formats. Your target customer demographics may respond better to short videos or informational guides, while another provider may find that they want to advertise on local websites and put a column in the online publications serving the area.
Digital Marketing Best Practices for Healthcare Providers
Your first step is to ensure that your website acts as a high-quality foundation for potential and current patients. You don't want to invest a lot of money into your digital advertising campaigns, only to discover that clients get turned off when they click through.
Look at your digital marketing strategy through an omnichannel lens. You have a lot of channel options for reaching potential patients. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. When you emphasize the best parts while minimizing the drawbacks, you can bring multiple channels together for an optimized path from awareness to a doctor visit.
Offer value every time you engage with a patient. You want them to have a reason to think about your practice when they get sick or hurt or have other medical concerns. A strong relationship and a lot of trust combine to build brand awareness of your practice.
Track the successes and failures of your campaigns. You don't know whether something is working or not if you fail to monitor and analyze the data produced during the campaign. You can leverage this information to find new patient markets, discover the response rate of your digital marketing efforts, and find ways to improve in the long term.
You have a lot on your plate when you're a healthcare provider running your own practice. While digital marketing may seem like more work than you want to take on, it's essential for bringing in patients and keeping them with your practice.
Interested in learning more about how digital marketing services can help your healthcare business grow? We'd be happy to chat!