Healthcare providers spent more money on marketing in 2017 than ever before. Content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), paid-for ads — organizations used these marketing methods to increase awareness about their services. This year, new technologies and changing customer habits will influence healthcare marketing. Here are three healthcare marketing trends for 2018 that will influence your own campaigns.
Healthcare Providers Will Tweak SEO for Voice Search Queries
One in six Americans now owns a smart speaker, and sales of these items have increased 128 percent from January 2017. Many patients have already used devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo to search for medical information on the internet, and now healthcare providers want to lure these internet users to their websites.
Voice search queries are longer than text queries. Research suggests that, on average, text searches are made up of one to three words. Voice searches, on the other hand, tend to be three to five words in length, and they usually contain words like "who," "what, "how" and "when." As a marketer, you need to adapt your search engine marketing to reflect these changes. Focus on long-tail keywords that will convert into leads for your medical practice. Want to increase your search rankings? Provide answers to patients' frequently asked questions in your content.
More Healthcare Providers Will Invest in Video Marketing
Video content is more popular than it's ever been. Experts predict that video traffic will make up 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by the year 2021 — up from 73 percent in 2016. Moreover, live video will grow 15-fold from 2016 to 2021. If you want to capitalize on these trends, incorporate more video content into your website, blog and social media pages. Patients love videos, and how-to guides and explainer videos could generate new leads to your medical practice.
For example, healthcare provider Bupa already has a successful video marketing campaign in place. The organization posts videos about health care news and trends — "Bupa Celebrates International Nurses Day," for example — interviews with members of staff, and stories from patients on its YouTube page. Why not try this for yourself? You can also organize a live broadcast on Facebook Live or Periscope.
Physicians Will Have Complete Online Profiles
It’s not enough to have a picture and a list of board certifications. Future patients are searching for what makes your practice unique, patient reviews, and related research you have conducted. By claiming your online profile, you can create a unique and effective marketing channel that will furthermore validate your practice.
A good way to think about your online profile - whether it be on your website or on a patient review site - is as a virtual salesperson. Oftentimes, your online presence is the first impression future patients have of you. If you fill out fields like “practice mission” or “physician biography,” it will give patients a much better idea of who you are and if you provide the services they’re seeking.
Healthcare Providers Will Encourage More Patients to Leave Reviews
Patient reviews are critical to your medical practice. Sixty-two percent of patients use online reviews to search for a new doctor, according to one study. Currently, Yelp is the most used online review platform. Healthgrades, however, is the most trusted resource for patients looking for a physician.
There are steps you can take to increase the number of patient reviews for your practice on these websites. Why not email patients after an appointment and ask them to leave a review? Alternatively, include a link to a review platform on your website. Remember, good reviews boost your online reputation, increase trust and increase visibility. You can also ask patients to leave a review on your Facebook page — just don't forget to include a link to your page on your website. Healthcare provider CVS Health, for example, has a link to Facebook on the side of its homepage.
These are just a few healthcare marketing trends that will dominate the rest of this year. Reviewing your current healthcare marketing strategy should also be a priority for your practice in 2018. Making a few simple changes to your website or social pages could increase leads and reduce patient churn.