The healthcare marketing world is full of bright and shiny objects. Whether it’s the latest and greatest tool, media platform, or way to engage an audience, each day brings us more possibilities than ever before.
2019 makes for an exciting time to be a healthcare marketer. But it’s not without its challenges. Because our energies and budgets are limited, we simply can’t chase every bright and shiny object that comes along. If we try, we’ll spread ourselves and our budgets too thin, and struggle to get positive results. Not to mention pouring precious resources into tools and tactics that may turn out to be counterproductive.
So two questions arise:
How can we adapt to the ever-changing healthcare marketing world in a way that’s effective and sustainable?
How can we separate healthcare marketing strategies that win (and will keep winning) from those that will become obsolete in a matter of months?
Let’s talk about some key healthcare marketing trends for 2019 that are here to stay. We’ll break them down one by one and make a case for why they deserve consideration in your long-term strategy.
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As more healthcare brands create content to appeal to their audiences, it’s becoming increasingly competitive to earn that attention. Information is everywhere they look – and in every imaginable format.
One of the most effective formats has proven to be video. Wordstream found that using a video on a landing page can increase conversions by up to 86 percent! That’s good news because video will represent 82 percent of all Internet traffic by just 2021.
For healthcare marketers, video marketing offers a more personal form of communication. By showing your face and letting your audience hear your voice, you humanize your brand in a way that a corporate press release can never do. You show them the people behind the brand. That’s an essential consideration for healthcare-seekers who aren’t interested in a “product” or “service,” but a real relationship.
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We’ve discussed connecting with millennials before, and with good reason. Skeptical of advertising, but eager for unforgettable experiences, this demographic has an entirely different outlook than the generations that came before it.
Tech-savviness is one of the key millennial characteristics. They’ve spent most (or all) of their lives connected to the Internet. Naturally, that’s the first place they turn for healthcare information. They’re comfortable doing their own research, scouring review sites, and engaging healthcare brands on social media. Their experiences with brands like Amazon and Netflix have set the bar for their expectations of a brand-to-customer relationship.
It might be tempting to overlook millennials if your brand doesn’t count them as a key demographic. But consider this. Millennials are reaching an age where many are starting families and settling into long-term careers. They’re already the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. They’ll also have to start thinking about making informed healthcare decisions for their children and aging relatives.
What better time to start building relationships with this demographic than now, while you have plenty of opportunities to earn their trust?
One of the best ways you can do it is by delivering an unforgettable patient experience. Which brings us to the next point…
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We’ve entered the age of patient empowerment. Now more than ever before, it’s within reach to educate ourselves and better understand our health through online resources. This is wonderful for your audience, but there’s a side effect. Audiences have also never been more aware of the possibilities of exceptional patient experiences. They demand the best. And it’s easy for them to notice when your brand experience is lacking.
Providing quality healthcare solutions is just the starting point. Now, audiences are extremely sensitive to their experience while getting those solutions. This begins long before they enter a hospital or have a phone conversation with a sales rep. From their first encounter with your brand (which will usually be online), all the way through treatment and follow-up, the experience is top of mind.
Are you doing everything you can to optimize the process? It might be allowing patients to schedule appointments online or sending reminders via text. Or setting up a user-friendly portal where they can make payments and access health records. How about adding a live chat feature to your website or a Q&A page so you can make it easier for people to find crucial information?
Each tweak might seem like a small detail, but it’s precisely these small details that patients notice and discuss with their friends or highlight on review sites. Together, they can make for an unforgettable patient experience.
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You’ve probably seen plenty of healthcare marketing stats, but one of the most important ones is this: a whopping 77 percent of online health seekers begin at a search engine.
The implications for your brand are enormous. People are educating themselves, building communities with others in similar situations, and exploring treatment options – all before they even approach a healthcare professional directly.
How are they doing this?
Done well, it’s one of the smartest investments you can make in your healthcare brand. Great content answers questions your key audiences may have. For example, they’ll want to know more about their symptoms, what they can do to get help, and how to assess treatment options. If you can provide that information in an easily-digestible format, your brand becomes one to trust.
You can create and deliver content through blog posts, podcasts, emails, videos – or a combination of media and formats. It might take some experimenting to find the perfect recipe for your audience, but the major takeaway here is consistency. By continuing to deliver relevant, valuable information, you’ll be in a great position to build long-term relationships with key audiences.
Some of these strategies might be new for you. But what separates them from trends that will fizzle out is their grounding in time-tested fundamentals. They’ll be effective for years to come because they’ll help you do what’s always made marketing effective:
The pressure to chase “the latest and greatest” can be overwhelming. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it anymore. By focusing on the fundamentals and only incorporating tools and tactics that help you improve them, you’ll make the most of the latest trends without wasting time on tactics that will soon go obsolete.
Can you think of any other healthcare marketing trends for 2019 that are here to stay?