With the age of convenience upon us, people are readily using the internet as their first trusted source for health-related information. In fact, over 57% of people are turning to the internet first, with only 32% going to their doctor for a first opinion. It’s more important now than ever before to make sure that your practice or company has a strong web presence, or you could potentially fall behind your competitors and miss out on patients. Here are just a few additional statistics about healthcare and the internet that may surprise you!
Over 77% of U.S. adults own a smartphone.
We’ll start with an easy one, that might not shock you as much as the others. Having said that, this statistic helps to firmly define the “age of convenience” mentioned above. In theory, a smartphone is meant to be a helpful companion to you throughout your day to day activities. Not only does it keep you connected, but it can also allow you to surf the internet, share information, review businesses, book appointments, and more. If someone has the ability to do this while running errands, why would they choose any other method?
How do smartphones impact your business?
Just as the rise of desktops and the internet started pulling more and more business from brick-and-mortar locations, smartphones are pulling that business from the desktop crowd now. With 32% of consumers using a health app on their phone, 62% of smartphone users saying they regularly used their device to look up health information, it’s important to make sure that your site is optimized properly so you become a thought leader on your services and procedures.
Keep in mind, Google uses different algorithms for mobile and desktop, so the “same old thing” won’t work here. If you’re looking to have people contact you quickly, or book appointments, make sure that you have all of your listings (mainly Google My Business) claimed and up to date, and that your forms are mobile compatible. If your patients are looking for ease, you’ve got to be the first one they see!
61% of Americans age 65 and older are now active internet users.
What’s even more impressive about this statistic is that this is up from just 14% in 2000, so it’s safe to assume that the number will go up. In addition, social media usage has tripled among those 65 and older since 2010.
How does age affect my online presence?
Your online presence isn’t just your website and SEO. If you’re a practice that still utilizes paper forms, or dabbles primarily in print marketing, you’re missing out on a very large pool of potential patients or customers at this point in time. Within the next few years, that pool will just continue to increase, and as a business owner, you can’t afford to be left behind. Now is the time to make sure that your practice has a robust social media presence, and is engaging all areas of the internet.
Even if your practice caters to those 65+, it’s still important. For example, only 44% of the Alzheimer’s patient population agrees that direct mail is the best route to get them health-related information. This means that over 56% of those patients would rather rely on digital copies via email, and you don’t want to miss out on the majority!
73% of consumers use search engines to research treatment.
For generating new leads, this statistic is most likely the pinnacle of importance. If internet users are using search engines to find treatment solutions or information, the best way to attract them is to be the expert. In the age of Google, that number one spot can be the dictator of a patient’s decision.
How can SEO help my practice?
We’d like to say this answer is a no-brainer, but it’s safe to say that there are still businesses that are not thriving online due to their poor search engine placement. Nearly one in 20 Google searches are health-related this year, and while that may not seem to be a huge stat, it is once it’s put into perspective. If 3.5 billion searches are done on Google per day, that means 175 million are about healthcare – that’s a ton! Because 57% of people use the internet first to research a health concern, it’s crucial that you are coming up locally (or nationally for that matter) when it comes to your services. By ensuring all listings are properly claimed and labeled and developing rich content, you present yourself to Google as an expert on a topic.
After that, Google will be more prone to push your content to the top of search results. If someone searches “why is my nose running” and your site comes up first, plus you are local to that person, you become a direct resource for them to use. Overall, SEO is a tool that can benefit you each and every day and keep you in front of potential patients if done properly.
These statistics, while wildly important, are merely the tip of the iceberg with regards to healthcare and online marketing. For more tips on how to stay afloat in the digital age, or to learn how a combination of digital marketing elements can help you bring in new business, contact Practis today at (704) 887-5300!