The ongoing transformation of the healthcare industry is constantly presenting new opportunities and challenges. The shift towards a digitally empowered generation of healthcare consumer is already underway; according to Pew Research, as much as 72% of patients routinely turn to the Internet for information about doctors, hospitals and medical treatments.
This shift has been influenced by key trends that are critical for healthcare organizations to understand if they are to remain competitive in 2016. At a time when many providers still lag behind patient expectations in their healthcare marketing, tomorrow’s success stories will deliver a patient experience beyond expectations, taking full advantage of all new and developing technologies.
4 Trends You Can’t Afford To Miss in 2016:
Mobile Responsive Websites
In 2016, web design for healthcare must be mobile responsive – your business simply can’t afford not to be, with American adult Smartphone ownership currently at 68% and tablets at 45%. To successfully capture an increasingly mobile market, you need a mobile friendly website. Since 2015, Google has used mobile-friendliness as a factor for ranking, favoring those websites and making them appear higher in search results. It is now a basic requirement just to ensure you receive the visibility necessary to drive visitors to your website.
Mobile friendly web design means that users can see and access your content easily and efficiently. They should be equipped with a simple navigation system, large call to action buttons, click-to-call functionality and maps with GPS functionality. These are now basic, necessary features.
Today’s consumers are avid researchers and most begin their search on Google or Bing. Besides seeking out information on physicians and healthcare practices, consumers are increasingly doing their homework before visiting a doctor, researching health conditions and treatment options, making the relationship with their provider much more collaborative. For this reason, you should focus on top-level Search Engine Optimization. This means not just web-coding, but a well-rounded collection of informative and useful content pieces related to your keywords. Most users are seeking out educational resources, so if you can provide this, via blogs, videos, podcasts, articles and more, you will help users while advocating your organization’s credibility.
Word of mouth is as important as ever in the digital age, with online reviews being consulted by 6 in 10 patients before they select a physician. Unlike the old days, when word of mouth recommendations were most often given by trusted friends, today 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Furthermore, 72% of consumers trust a local business more when there are positive reviews and 9 out of 10 consumers determine the quality of a business simply by online reviews.
A whole host of websites are set to increase in significance as more healthcare organizations realize the full effect and potential of these sites. Expect to see Yelp, RealSelf, HealthGrades, Vitals.com, RateMDs and ZocDOc amongst the principal players. To encourage feedback across these channels, consider setting up patient satisfaction surveys.
Engaging Social Content
Snapchat and Facebook video ads are just two of the new social marketing tools making waves. While people may not consult social media first for information, it does play a role in branding and could influence certain decisions, such as choosing a specific health provider. Social media should support your online presence and engage and connect users with your organization.
As 2016 continues to move forward, be sure that your organization is harnessing all the tools and trends available to remain ahead of the competition.