"While there are evangelists and advocates of digital marketing within the healthcare industry who will continue lending their support to new technologies and tools, it will be the adoption by local caregivers and clinics that will add more to the transformation."
Before I get down to discussing the titular topic, I'd like to point out how digital disruption has changed the dynamics of nearly all imaginable industries. I remember how our parents warned us against getting into unknown people's vehicles, which was like was many, many moons ago. Today, I ask my kids to book an Uber or Ola cab if I'm unable to pick or drop them. This is in stark contrast to what my parents told me! It's incredible how these two players have revolutionized the transportation industry and are giving the local transit a serious run for their money!
This shows us how industries no longer work the way they used to a decade ago. The same holds true for the healthcare industry. Have you noticed how our dependence on Google search has increased over the years? It's funny how we rely on Google search more than people! We do all our research online, check the websites, read blogs and reviews, and decide for ourselves. Whether it's checking the symptoms of a disease or finding a doctor in your neighborhood, you type in your query and go on about your search.
Here are a few three crucial statistics that are worth your attention and marketing outlay -
- Way back in 2012, Google had observed that about 77% of people used online resources before making an appointment to the doctor/healthcare provider.
- Also, 44% of those who search for hospitals actually wind up scheduling an appointment.
- Likewise, in a report released by Infographics Archive, it was stated that about 60% of social media users believed in the posts put by doctors than any other professionals.
So from both the patient as well as the caregiver viewpoint, digital marketing is crucial and here's how healthcare providers can stay ahead of the digital curve -
#1: Make yourself searchable
Given that people turn to search engines to inquire about health conditions or clinics, both SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) become indispensable for healthcare marketers. With Google's micro-moments' snowballing in popularity (for the uninitiated, it's a concept that pinpoints the times when people automatically whip out their smartphones to find, learn, purchase or do something), local healthcare organizations and professionals must invest in SEO and SEM to capture these 'moments' and be out there when patients are ready to take the action. Google local listing is a good place to start with.
#2: Be socially active
Apart from enabling users from sharing information and updates via their platforms, social media also works effectively as digital word-of-mouth. Visitor posts, reviews, patient testimonial videos, infographics, etc. are some of the content formats that can be worked upon by healthcare professionals to stay engaged with their followers and attract new ones.
#3: Keep your website updated
There's no saying that the websites which frequently update their content snag top spots on the Google SERP. Think about this - say someone is looking for information on skin care treatment and in their research, your website pops up on the first page because your website has the updated and relevant information they want, wouldn't that make everything easier for you? Also, videos centering around treatment procedures and patient experience work really well. Make sure you leverage them on your website.
#4: Measure your performance
The fact that you can monitor your digital campaigns in itself is so empowering. Without knowing how your ads are faring, healthcare marketers would be shooting in the dark at best and wasting their marketing budget at worst! Google Analytics is one powerful tool that helps marketers track the performance of digital campaigns and uncover a wealth of insights that can further help fine-tune marketing initiatives. Whether it is knowing where the majority of the traffic is coming from (mobile/desktop) or how visitors are turning from one web page to another to just about anything, Google Analytics is super critical.
#5: Encourage patients to review
I can't stress enough on this. In any business, a good reputation is what that really counts. In the healthcare industry, that's the ONLY thing that matters - whether online or offline. In this industry, however, the stakes are higher than any other as the professionals are dealing with something far more valuable - their patients' lives. Positive reviews help build a positive reputation which is why healthcare professionals must encourage their patients to share their experience, be it on social media or Google. Reviews on the local listing are REALLY important as they boost local search rankings.
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