Healthcare marketing was not such a big deal when yours was the only doctor’s office in town. Patients either sought you out, or they moved closer to a different doctor. These days, patients have tons of options, from clinics in drugstores to multiple hospitals for surgical procedures. Even the way patients find a healthcare provider has changed from the shingle over the door to a search online. Healthcare online marketing itself is also changing. Here are 11 online marketing trends that deserve your attention in 2019.
Why digital marketing is important in healthcare
The sheer number of choices in healthcare can be overwhelming – for patients, their families, and even healthcare providers. This has sent potential patients online in droves to research doctors and facilities that can help them.
The importance of digital marketing in healthcare cannot be underestimated. Consider the following statistics.
- Nearly 60% of patients found physician rating sites to be either somewhat or very important in their research when looking for a provider
- An estimated 80% of people in the U.S. have searched health-related topics (up from 62% in 2001)
- Organic search drives three times as many people to a healthcare facility in comparison to other referrals (e.g., recommendation from a friend)
- Nearly 75% of patients use online reviews to choose a healthcare provider
As our lives move increasingly online, it makes sense that more and more we find our healthcare options there as well. If your practice isn’t visible and engaging online, unfortunately, it’s almost like you don’t exist. Knowing some of the key trends though can help you stay competitive.
Trends in healthcare online marketing in 2019
Here are the 11 newest trends that continue to change the landscape of healthcare online marketing.
1. Ever-growing focus on organic content
Of the healthcare marketing trends in 2019, the number one is now (and possibly forever will be) organic content.
What does this mean? High-quality blogs, articles, and landing pages that are optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. These are still some of the best PR moves for your practice, positioning you as a compassionate, expert professional in your community.
2. Slight shift away from social media
Even though social media marketing is still an affordable and relatively easy part of digital marketing in healthcare, we are noticing a slight shift away from social engagement in 2019.
This may be following an overall declining trend of social media use in the U.S. Instagram and SnapChat remain powerful platforms, though, and it’s worth keeping an eye on them as overall Facebook use declines.
3. Better patient portals
Patient portals are not new, but the way patients want to use them is evolving.
The best patient portals offer not only securely-delivered medical records and the ability to pay bills or premiums but also features like prescription renewals, appointment setting, and chats for non-urgent medical questions.
4. Telemedicine is expanding
We almost put this under patient portals, but it definitely deserves its own category. Telemedicine used to be reserved for patients in remote outposts, but these days you can get a doctor’s visit without leaving your home (even if the office is just a few blocks away).
No longer for extreme surgeries, telemedicine is also used for consultations with specialists and diagnosis and treatment of non-threatening conditions like rashes. Adjustments to medications can also be made with a consultation online.
5. Video is the key
The U.S. is a visual culture, and this is no different when it comes to healthcare digital marketing strategies.
Over 45% of people in the U.S. watch an hour or more of video online every day, and a few studies suggest that having a video on your landing page increases conversions by 80%.
6. Chatbots increasingly populate websites
Chatbots used to be challenging due to HIPAA concerns, but better web hosting and increased security have changed this.
At a minimum, chatbots are helping patients navigate your site more easily, answering generic questions and offering links to more information when needed. It’s like a concierge service but without the price tag.
7. Creating a brand
No matter how skilled your team, there are still many different choices for patients in healthcare. One way to stand out in your healthcare online marketing is to create a brand for yourself that translates across all platforms, both online and IRL.
What does this mean? Creating a logo, developing a tagline, and even coordinated design schemes all work towards creating a brand that sets you and your practice apart.
8. Online reviews remain crucial
We’ve said it before, and we’re here to say it again: online reviews are key when it comes to growing your practice.
Many healthcare providers are reluctant to solicit reviews for fear of negative responses, but even the negative ones provide an opportunity to show your patients what you stand for.
9. Streamlined websites built for a better user experience
There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to websites for medical practices: more is more, and less is more. The “more is more” school throws flashing banners, scrolling information, and automatically streaming video at users, while the “less is more” crowd keeps it maybe a little too simple.
In 2019, both of these types of site need to focus on the user experience. The best sites make it easy for users to stay awhile and look around, with calls-to-action and a streamlined design that guides them seamlessly all the way to the contact page to set their first appointment.
10. Multiple communication channels
Online marketing for medical practices includes multiple access points for patients, from direct messages through Instagram to a standard phone number/email address available on (every page of) your website.
These channels also include having widgets on your site that send visitors directly to a contact page to make it even easier to stay in touch.
11. Focus on prevention and general wellness
Finally, in healthcare marketing trends, 2019 is the year when medical practices are focusing on prevention and general wellness in their digital marketing.
This looks different on every site but can range from email marketing that includes a newsletter with seasonal wellness tips to a daily fact on social media that focuses on preventative measures to improve health now.
Boost is on top of all healthcare online marketing trends, especially those that continue to put patients over pageviews. If you need help pumping up your strategies, get in touch today!