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As the digital space continues to change, medical practices must change their marketing approaches as well.
A 2014 survey published by ResearchNow asked 1,004 U.S. marketers about how the evolution of digital marketing has impacted their job. Overwhelmingly, respondents agreed that they need to reinvent themselves to succeed. In fact, 90 percent of those polled said that digital tools and channels are fundamentally changing the nature of marketing.
When asked what specific behavior will make the biggest difference in the success of marketers, participants pointed to the ability to work across channels.
What does it mean to market across channels? Multichannel marketing uses a handful of different marketing avenues, like having a mobile-friendly website, utilizing social media, and identifying opportunities for coverage in print publications, to reach a customer.
Practices that embrace multi-channel marketing will have a presence where their patients (and potential patients) are on a daily basis.
Here is a quick guide to the digital channels your healthcare practice should be using, and how to get the most out of each platform:
Your website is the main hub for your online presence, so it is extremely important to get it right.
1. Put an emphasis on readability. Set your patients up for success by building a website that allows people to process content reliably and quickly.
2. Prioritize information. Help patients find what they need as quickly as possible. Identify the most popular actions on your website. Then, put that information in the top left corner of your website. This is typically the most viewed portion of a website.
3. Use graphics. People are wired for visualization, so the more you incorporate icons, graphs, or images, the easier it will be to communicate with patients.
Mobile Seventy seven percent of smartphone users search the Internet using their devices; 97 percent of them look for local information.
1. Give mobile engagement a push. Most patient portals have, or will soon have, apps for patients. This allows patients easier access to their health information and provides an easy method of communication with your office.
2. Make your website mobile friendly. If your practice’s website is not mobile-friendly, you are at a huge disadvantage. Potential patients will quickly leave your site if content is not adjustable to the size of their screens.
3. Utilize "push notifications." Marketers experience 50 percent higher open rate on push notifications versus e-mails. Offer push notifications in the form of texts to remind patients of upcoming appointments or to prompt them to schedule appointments. These can be set up through most patient portals.
Unlike traditional advertising forms, social media allows practices to create a conversation around their brand. Interacting with patients by posting useful content and engaging in conversation is one of the most powerful forms of marketing.
1. Post often. Facebook’s algorithm shows your fans fewer than half of your posts, so posting multiple times a day is crucial for reaching your target audience.
2. Keep followers interested. Post the right mix of business and fun. For example, use Twitter to execute contests, post fun pictures of staff, and inform people with medical information or facts.
3. Connect with patients through video. Videos increase people’s understanding of a product or service by 74 percent. If that isn’t motivation enough, your website is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of a search engine results page if it includes a video.
The digital space is constantly moving and evolving, and it can be challenging for many practices to keep up with communication trends.
Continuing to think about your target audience and how it communicates or digests information will help you identify where to focus your energy and marketing budget. Lastly, have fun with it and don’t be afraid to dip your toe into new forms of communication!