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5 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2018

Can you believe 2017 is almost over? Just like that, 12 months of (hopefully) pure marketing bliss have passed us by, and now it’s time to prepare for the road ahead in 2018. With the presence of healthcare entities on the internet growing every second, it’s going to get more difficult. However, you can rest assured that we have a few important tips that can help you take off quickly at the starting line, and run that 2018 marketing marathon at a record pace!

What should you already have done for your healthcare website in 2017?

The first question that you should ask yourself is “what should I have completed already to get my site set up for success?” While there are dozens of processes that can help your website over the next year, these are three of the things to look at and take care of before you get ramped up: 

1) Your site should be responsive. 

Marketers will continue to push this point over and over because it’s practically a necessity at this point. Think about going to your friend’s house to watch a football game, only to find out he still has a black and white TV, and that’s what you get to watch all evening. Sounds terrible, right? Not only is a non-responsive site antiquated, but it can hurt your site’s overall presence due to Google’s mobile/desktop algorithm shifts, causing you to lose out on important traffic. The first step, get that responsive site built!

2) Assess your digital vs. traditional marketing. 

Listen, we love digital because we know it works, but I will be the first to tell you that traditional marketing is far from dead. Having said that, there are tons of folks out there who haven’t quite mastered the idea of balance. Before the end of the year, take a step back and look at what you are spending on traditional marketing. If that overpowers your digital budget by a good bit, it may be time to re-budget. Digital is not just the way of the future, it’s the way of now. If you’re still relying on flyers, billboards, and a weekly ad in your local coffeeshop’s paper, you’re reaching the same people over and over again. Usher in a new batch of patients by pushing a bit more of your budget to digital and you’ll see some much-needed change. 

Healthcare Marketing in 2018

3) Know how you and your practice are listed online. 

“Doctors near me” is going to pull up a ton of results, and if you’ve done your online marketing correctly there’s a chance you’ll be in the top results. But, if your name is spelled wrong, your hours are incorrect, and your phone number is directing patients to your local post office, it’s doing you no good. Scan yourself and your practice using our free directory listing checker to find out where you’re listed, and what those listings contain.

Yes, correcting them is a huge necessity too, but if you don’t know where the listings are at first, how do you know what to correct? Don’t go in blindly and pile more problems up. Instead, find the listings, develop a game plan, and get those things corrected. 

What should I be doing for my healthcare website in 2018?

On to the good stuff. 2018 is going to be a huge year for healthcare, and we’re more than excited to help our clients usher in some new success. But, because of the competitive nature, and the vast array of changes, it’s going to be easy to fall behind fast. Here are five things to keep an eye on (or have your marketing team dive in): 

1) Think of your patients as real people and influencers. 

You might be laughing at the idea of me telling you to think of your patients as people because that’s what they are. But, judging by some of the content and layouts that continue to be seen on websites in the healthcare space, it seems like human interaction is the last thing people think about. Because more people of all age groups, younger and older wiser, are using the internet, you have to be able to appeal to all demographics so that they can spread the word about your practice. As we mentioned in a recent blog post, nearly 77 million adults have health literacy skills at basic or below levels, so if you don’t tap into that market you are missing out on quite a large number of people. Keep it conversational, create your funnels, and think about your end user–don’t just write or design because it sounds or looks good to you. 

2) Clean up your reputation and gain positive reviews. 

This is a pretty nice segue from #1 since it revolves around people influencing others. The major reputation players like Google, Facebook, Healthgrades, and Vitals will be more important than ever since websites are less important than ever. I mean that in the sense that people want instant gratification. Think about it, we live in the age of Amazon Prime, where you can now get most things shipped in ~2 hours, so why would we want to crawl through a site when we could get the answers we want on the first page of Google?

If you’re just ignoring that negative review and expecting it to go away–it’s not. Make an effort to respond to 100% of your negative reviews, and (properly) solicit new reviews. Remember, Google is smart and will know if you’re just asking for rogue reviews. Develop a plan to ask your patients on a regular basis, and you’ll see your reputation gain positive traction. 

3) Keep your social media active and clean. 

Healthcare can be engaging, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You don’t have to share a daily meme, or post a well-edited video every week (although videos are a great move in 2018!), but you should get a regular pattern going to keep your audience involved. People log in to Facebook at least one time a day on average, but it’s up to you to watch your insights to determine what those peak times of engagement will be.

Develop a great social calendar and have a plan for the week, or even month, ahead. You’ll find out what works and be able to design a future plan based on those results. In addition, don’t forget about your other social media profiles. If you don’t have time to keep your Twitter, Pinterest, etc. updated, then don’t create them! A “dummy” account that’s never updated is just as bad as one with terrible posts. 

4) Invest in a paid campaign and you’ll see results. 

Remember that instant gratification I was talking about? Well, paid is a quick way for people to find your site and an easy way for you to get quick results–an all-around win for all parties. Paid and organic work well together, so it’s important to develop these campaigns to compliment what you’re doing on your site. If you have a specific procedure that you’re trying to promote, develop a paid campaign with great ad copy, and focus on creating a phenomenal landing page. This will drive users to their specific destination, and get them there with just one click. Not to mention, your listing, if done correctly, has the potential to be at the top of page one on the SERPs!

5) You tell me. 

“But you’re the expert–you should know!” Yes, you are absolutely correct, and marketers will know what it takes to get you to that next level based on detailed reporting and analytics. However, we all want to hear what feedback YOU have for us. Tell us what your patients are saying. How are they finding you? What did they search for? What did they want to see on your website? The personal connection will always be something that provides a bit more insight as people are comfortable talking face to face. Make sure you’re talking to your marketing rep when you receive any information like this, and you’ll see your plans become more robust and specific. 

Make 2018 the year your practice dominates the online world!

Get excited for what’s to come! Partnering with someone like Practis can help you get to the next level. With a great deal of options in the design and online marketing space, we can help create a plan that suits the needs of your practice specifically. Contact us today to learn more and get prepared for your best marketing year yet!