The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the healthcare industry to drastically change the way it operates and become as digitally accessible as possible. What was considered a temporary change now is the new normal.
As we’re writing this blog post, a new coronavirus strain is spreading in communities across the globe. Healthcare providers must keep adapting their strategies to meet their patients’ needs and stay competitive. Let’s have a look at the top six healthcare marketing trends that clinics need to follow in 2022 and beyond.
#1 Patient experience is a top priority
The patient experience is a crucial component of patient acquisition and retention. Improving the patient experience positively impacts your healthcare facility by:
- Increasing patient engagement. A better patient experience leads to trusting relationships between patients and their providers, which in turn increases patient engagement. People are more likely to ask questions and follow recommendations when they’re confident in the provider responsible for their care. Therefore, a focus on a positive patient experience can also lead to better health outcomes.
- Improving your clinic’s revenue. Satisfied patients are likely to consider your facility when they need healthcare services again. Besides, they’ll refer their family and friends to your clinic. By providing an excellent patient experience, you can ensure a steady flow of patients and therefore increase your bottom line.
- Giving you a competitive edge. Enhancing the patient experience also gives you a sustainable competitive advantage. When patients leave reviews about your facility on Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, and other channels, other people can see you’re a reliable healthcare provider. As a result, you’re likely to be their top-of-mind choice when they search for a clinic to resolve their health issues.
Some ways to create a positive patient experience include:
- Offering online appointment booking. Let your patients book, reschedule, and cancel appointments online 24/7 from any device without needing to play phone tag with your receptionist.
- Sending automated appointment reminders. Inform your patients about their upcoming appointments and show them you care about providing timely medical support.
- Offering easy ways to reach you. Let your patients schedule appointments right from your online platform (website or social media profile) by integrating a booking widget.
- Providing relevant content. Share valuable content relevant to your audience through various communication channels in various formats to educate, inform, and engage patients.
- Building a professional website. Let people learn about your clinic, services, staff, treatment methods, working hours, etc.
- Offering telemedicine services. Let your patients get advice via video calls and chats if they are unable to come to your facility or find it difficult to do so.
Make an excellent patient experience your top priority to succeed.
Want to know how clinic management software can help you do all the above and even more? Take a look at ExpertBox an all-in-one platform to efficiently manage your entire clinic, streamline your workflow, and build long-lasting relationships with patients.
#2 Patient referrals are essential
The statistics above demonstrate the importance of referral marketing. Having a satisfied patient who brings their acquaintances and family members to your clinic is valuable. Satisfied patients are your greatest promoters. That’s why we recommend you consider including patient rewards campaigns in your marketing strategy in 2022.
Reward your most loyal patients by offering discounts or gift cards to make them feel special and incentivize them to stay with you and refer people from their social and professional circles to your healthcare facility.
Here are some ways to generate more referrals:
- Ask your current patients for referrals
- Consider holding an online event on a burning topic
- Partner with other healthcare facilities in your area
- Leverage email marketing
- Share relevant content
- Encourage patient testimonials
#3 Social marketing is critical
When the world was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first countries that made its mark by handling COVID-19 quickly and effectively was South Korea. By analyzing the methods used in South Korea to prevent a serious outbreak and improve contact tracing, we can see that social marketing was at the heart of their strategy. Let’s look at the definition of social marketing.
South Korea’s experience with social marketing during the coronavirus pandemic led to society’s compliance with preventive measures. This was achieved by disseminating vital information on COVID-19 from credible healthcare professionals via various communication channels. In this way, social marketing helped to mitigate people’s fear and confusion and replace them with a willingness to follow rules. This happens because people sincerely believe they will benefit from what is offered by trustworthy spokespeople.
By addressing major public health problems relevant to your audience, you can increase your credibility as an expert as well as affect people’s health behaviors.
#4 Relevant content is in high demand
When people are searching for information about a symptom, a disease, or a nearby clinic, they are likely to use search engines like Google. Many healthcare providers have realized the importance of establishing a strong online presence and sharing relevant content via various communication channels.
A robust web presence allows clinics to easily reach out to prospective patients searching for health-related topics online by producing relevant, engaging, and timely content. Share educational content in different formats on every platform your patients may use — your website, social media channels, your YouTube channel, etc. By doing so, you will establish trust and credibility and make people turn to you when they seek medical advice.
Great content is
- Easy to understand
In the era of COVID-19, health misinformation is particularly rampant while the public’s need for reliable health information is higher than ever. Raising brand awareness through content marketing should be a top priority for healthcare providers in 2022. It is safe to assume that patients will rely on online health-related information in the following year. Clinics should establish themselves as top sources of health information to help disseminate accurate and truthful information as well as to combat misinformation.
Apart from educational content, patients look for informational content that highlights your work, approaches, processes, methods, and patient outcomes. Patients want to see you, your staff, and your practice instead of common stock photos that lack authenticity. Authentic photos are critical, as prospective patients can relate to them.
A solid content marketing strategy can bring you the following benefits:
- Increased website traffic
- Improved brand awareness
- Greater patient engagement
- Increased patient retention
- A competitive edge
- Increased visibility
- More credibility
- New patients
- Stronger brand loyalty
- A reputation as an expert
- Larger social media following
- Stronger patient–provider relationships
As for content formats, we recommend you don’t limit yourself to blog posts. Videos, podcasts, and infographics are becoming extremely popular and are overtaking text-heavy content.
Visualized information is catchier and more memorable than non-visualized information. Delivering serious and vital content through visualizations is a surefire way to catch your audience’s attention.
#5 Social proof is vital
2020 was marked by an unprecedented medical crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This influenced how people make buying decisions. The statistics provided below show that consumers have become more cautious. When choosing a healthcare provider, patients are looking for online reviews and testimonials before booking appointments.
Social proof may come in multiple forms — reviews and ratings on platforms like Google Maps, Yelp, HealthGrades, and Vitals, written or video patient testimonials, etc. In the coming year, we recommend you take your social proof further and deploy it in new formats and communication channels. Here are some ideas for you inspiration:
- A day in the life. Patients want to know their doctors better — what they do on a day-to-day basis, what makes them different, etc. This enables patients to understand whether a doctor is the right choice for them and allows them to build better relationships with their healthcare providers. For inspiration, check out how Adventist HealthCare has shown a day in the life of a heart surgeon.
- Video storytelling. Create an engaging story of where a patient started and where he or she has gotten to. This will work better than a regular interview with a patient. See how Duke Health has implemented this method.
- Live streaming. Facebook and Instagram enable clinics to establish authority by holding Q&A sessions with experts in various medical specialties, introducing new technologies, manipulations, services, or equipment, covering hot topics, etc.
- Stories. Facebook and Instagram also enable clinics to showcase their facility’s personalities and share patient testimonials using Stories.
#6 Voice search optimization is a game changer
Search engines are constantly evolving and improving their algorithms to provide users with the most accurate and relevant results. Nowadays, voice recognition technology has become one of the most popular mediums for search engines.
People are comfortable using voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana to ask about a wide variety of health-related topics. Patients use voice search to:
- Search for medical information
- Ask about symptoms
- Schedule appointments
- Search for nutrition information
- Research treatment options
- Find a doctor
- Find a healthcare provider’s location
- Shop for medications
- Receive health coaching
- Connect to a health tracker (e.g. a blood pressure unit)
- Ask about health insurance options or coverage
Optimizing for voice search can be beneficial for your clinic’s 2022 marketing strategy. Below, you’ll find a list of significant factors to consider when optimizing your content for voice search.
- Focus on local search results by claiming your listing or updating the information about your clinic on Google My Business and Google Maps. Then you can create content to provide answers to location-based questions.
- Use long-tail keywords like “how to lose weight fast and easy” or “best Chicago heart surgeon” since people tend to ask complete questions when using voice search.
- Ensure your website has an FAQ section with answers provided in a conversational manner.
- Use schema markup to make your website discoverable by search engines. Schema markup gives a complete picture of what your website is about. It allows you to provide search engines with basic information from a page in a structured way. The markup code creates an extended snippet that draws users’ attention in search results. Schema markup looks like this:
- Make sure your website loads fast so that search engines use it to provide answers to patients’ questions.
Healthcare marketing trends are definitely going to change throughout the coming year. However, patients always need a knowledgeable and reliable healthcare provider who can support them in achieving their desired health outcomes. Patients want to receive healthcare services in a seamless way. By being open to updating your marketing strategy according to the latest healthcare marketing trends, you can take your clinic’s success to the next level.
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