6 Trends in Healthcare Marketing that Will Amp Patient Acquisition in 2019
Healthcare in 2019 is becoming increasingly “Amazonize-ed” as the customer experience people have come to expect from the world’s largest retailer has trickled down into the healthcare ecosystem. From fast delivery and a robust online presence to AI and IOT-infused care, patients want their healthcare to integrate seamlessly into their lives. Whoever can capitalize on that in 2019 wins the lion's share of the patients.
1. BRING HEALTH HOME:
The idea of interacting with lab coat-wearing, clipboard-carrying healthcare professionals who then disappear into a back room never to be heard from or thought of until the next appointment is long gone. Patients expect to communicate with their healthcare providers just like they communicate with everyone else in their lives.
Patient communication platforms are excellent patient acquisition tools because they reach people as they’re living their lives, not just during the hour they spend at the doctor’s office every six months. The key to using such a platform successfully lies in patented psychographic segmentation techniques developed by Proctor & Gamble (a pioneer in customer experience long before Amazon). These techniques are what PatientBond has built its platform on, using patient feedback to establish a communication plan that fits their lifestyle and personality.
For instance, a Self Achiever, who is proactive on their health and wellness, is statistically more likely than any other segment (with 95 percent confidence) to visit an Urgent Care Center in the future with 53 percent saying it’s extremely likely or likely. If an urgent care center wants to draw them in, it makes sense to use that segment’s preferred communication method, which is email and text according to PatientBond’s market research study. By appealing to preferences for each audience, this breeds loyalty, engagement and drives acquisition.
2. LEVERAGE INFLUENCERS:
Marketing online used to consist of annoying pop-ups and banner ads, but those are dead, because what matters today is what has always mattered: what friends think. This is where finding influencers - bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTube dynamos - to vouch for your healthcare services is today's modern word of mouth. When people see someone like them or someone they admire embracing a service, they’ll do so too. To be transparent, you have to disclose the relationship, but what will stick with people is that someone they trust is saying how excellent your service is.
3. BUILD YOUR BRAND:
Patients view medicine much more like a brand than they used to. Sponsor a 5K, a wine-tasting, yoga classes or cooking contests. Activities that infuse meaning, wellness and fun into people's lives will carry-over to their sickest moments. You want your brand to be your patients’ healthcare partner for life, but being a partner means being there for every part of life, so you need to think beyond the hospital walls.
4. MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION:
Your practice or clinic sees thousands of patients, and no matter how hard you strive to do everything right, some people are going to complain. Some are going to complain online. Just look at the data below from the 2018 PatientBond market research study about which psychographic segments look at reviews when it comes to primary care physicians. A bad review on Yelp or Google can sully your hospital’s reputation, and today’s patients are looking at online reviews before they make the call to schedule an appointment. To mitigate the inevitable ticked-off patient review, ask your happy patients to leave a positive review online. If it comes down to it, there are reputation management agencies whose primary service is to push down – using best practices – negative information to the second and third pages of Google.
5. PIVOT TO VIDEO:
Speaking of Google, adding a high-quality video component to your acquisition strategy will rank your practice or hospital higher in search results. In addition to the SEO boost, videos act as an essential engagement tool, whether you’re posting videos of surgeries, how-tos on medication management or healthy cooking tips.
6. TAKE YOUR LIBRARY ONLINE:
Every year more and more patients are researching medical conditions online. Healthcare practitioners can use this trend to their advantage. Assembling a content library of medical information or links to other libraries that you can offer potential patients online is a powerful tool. Not only are you showing up for them as a trusted resource when they’re searching for answers on a potential or recently diagnosed medical condition, but you’re also creating an opportunity to engage with them at the height of their interest in the services you offer. Make sure to have an easy “book an appointment” option in the online library and boom - patient acquired.