In the digital age, the strategies that hospitals and medical practices use to achieve their healthcare marketing goals may not be the same from one year to the next. With consumer trends rapidly changing, it is important for marketers to keep up if they want to stay competitive.
1. Don’t just build a brand, build an experience.
Research has shown that people are exposed to up to 5,000 ads a day. Advertising is everywhere, and consumers are fed up with ads that push products that they don’t want or need. This is true even in healthcare. It’s not enough anymore to build a recognizable brand if you’re not also providing a top-notch experience. So when you’re thinking about how to position your brand, consider the fact that patients like brands that share the same values and issues that they do. This means that your messaging should include content that draws your audience into your brand and shows them that you understand what they need. For example, you might choose to highlight stories of the community activities that your organization is involved in.
2. Create feel-good social media marketing.
Social media marketing still rules – and Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are still the go-to social media networks for most consumers. However, not just any outreach on these platforms will do. You need to find out what makes your audience feel something and design content around that. Marketing that focuses strictly on a service or product won’t strike a chord with audiences. It’s just not engaging. Instead, show how a particular service or product lead to something great – for example, how a new surgery helped a disabled patient walk again. People will share uplifting content – and when your content gets shared, your brand becomes memorable.
3. Keep your content short and simple.With so much content to digest, people have shorter attention spans than ever. This means that the likelihood of someone reading a long article or even a long social media post is pretty low. It’s best to keep your content short and to-the-point so that your audience can find what they are looking for without digging for it. One of the best ways to do this is making short videos, no longer than a few minutes in length. Visuals are also captivating and less time-consuming than text in a world full of distractions. So, consider infographics, but make them “bite-size” so that your patients can quickly get the information that you want to get across.
4. Consider “Pre-Targeting” to reach a wider audience.
Marketers have started taking better advantage of the information that they can gather about consumers online (past purchases, navigation habits, demographics, etc.). Based on past behavior, you can target ads that appeal to a particular individual’s interests. But retargeting is so 2014. In 2015, it’s all about predicting future behavior in a method called “pre-targeting.” When people accept location services on their mobile phones, they agree to give away information about what they like, what they do and where they go.
If you use this information correctly, you can create more targeted ads and reach patients in better ways. For example, you can target patients who are geographically close to your location at that exact moment: “Need the flu shot? Our urgent care center is right around the corner.”
5. Increase patient engagement through mobile platforms.
In 2015, one billion people will be accessing the internet using only their phones. More than ever, marketing professionals are using mobile platforms to increase patient engagement. Not only must you have a strong online presence, but you also need to be sure that your patients have easy access to it through their phones, meaning that the formatting on your website should be easy to read and should not require a lot of scrolling.
These days, patients also expect online access to medical information and records. Informed, internet-savvy healthcare consumers have high expectations, so medical practices would be wise to integrate patient portals with features like online appointment scheduling into their websites.