It’s the year 2020 and everything is rapidly evolving right in front of our eyes. Cars are smarter than some humans, our electronic devices do more work than most people, and pretty much everything around us is automated.
Even though you may not think of it as often, healthcare is no different! In fact, with a new decade upon us, there are already tons of changes that you need to be prepared for in the medical field. To get you started in the new year, here are five healthcare marketing trends to keep you and your facility ahead of the game.
Your Reputation Can Make or Break Your Acquisition Funnel
We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll mention it again, and again, and again. The reviews of you and your practice can either help or hurt your patient acquisition goals, and we’re hoping for the former.
Whether a patient is searching for “best doctor’s office near me” or simply reading through the reputation of a newly recommended provider, reviews are powerful. What those in the healthcare space have to learn now is that these reviews cover a wide variety of platforms on which people can leave reviews and in a wide variety of ways. If you’re not actively monitoring all of your review sources (think ZocDoc, Healthgrades, Vitals, Google, Yelp, etc.) then you’re probably missing out on something. If one patient happens to be making their decisions based on Healthgrades where they see a negative review about you, then the other positive reviews on Google really didn’t matter for that bit of acquisition.
For 2020, make sure that you’re utilizing a software (like Practis Reviews) that will help you monitor everything. But, that’s just a start! From there, you’ll want to make sure that you’re staying proactive with your reputation management and responding to any negative comments with personalized responses. While using a template can save time, it can often come off as being very impersonal, and may rub some of your potential patients the wrong way. There’s a systematic approach to how you’ll want to go about managing your online reputation to ensure that your current and potential patients are fully satisfied with your responses. It’s also helpful to throw in a few responses to positive reviews that show off how thankful you are, all while staying HIPAA compliant!
Content Doesn’t Just Mean a New Page or a Fun Blog
Gone are the days of content just meaning writing on a webpage or some well optimized headers on a site. While content is still reigning supreme as the most important thing for SEO and online marketing, its reach now covers SO many different things.
When a patient searches for an illness or procedure, they’re actively seeking a great deal of information. Sure, that page on your website may cover a few of their questions, but if it doesn’t fulfill their need, they’re going to bounce off of your site and go elsewhere, leading to a lost patient. When thinking about content, remember that patients are all different. Where one might think that a lot of scholarly copy is helpful, another may look toward videos for more information. Or, where one might want to hear from the doctor, another may want to hear from a group of actual patients in a forum.
For 2020, your goal should be to understand ALL of your potential patients and grow your content arsenal. Continue to write engaging blogs and pages, but also go beyond these basics as you begin to create eye-catching infographics and videos that will engage someone while still providing them with quality information. You may even want to have a patient information section on your website that houses a good deal of resources for your patients to browse. Materials and tools like this can not only benefit your bounce rate by keeping users on your site for more information, but can also drastically impact your SEO if done by the EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) method.
Google Isn’t the Only Profile That Matters
What? Google isn’t the only thing out there? But they run EVERYTHING!
It may be laughable, but that’s truly what a lot of people think! The fact of the matter is, there are profiles EVERYWHERE. Bing, Yelp, WebMD, Apple Maps, the list goes on and on. While Google’s basket is certainly one that you’ll want to place a lot of eggs in, it’s not the only one that you should be focusing on, or else you’ll end up missing out on a lot of credible backlinks. Like we mentioned with reviews, people will search across a lot of sources to gain information. If you’re not listed on those sources, you risk losing patients to *gasp* your competitors! Again, not every web user is the same, so try think outside of the Google box.
For 2020, start by taking a look at what comes up first when you search your name or practice. You’ll notice that even on Google, there are a number of listings that maintain strong authority and come up on page one of the SERP. If your information is inaccurate on those listings, you’re probably going to miss out on a patient, or at the very least confuse them. By using an aggregator, you can certainly attack a great deal of these with ease, but it’s important that you have someone actively searching and monitoring your profiles at all times. In fact, Google My Business listings can even be changed by a third party’s suggestion, and if you don’t happen to see these edits then you may have incorrect data floating around without your knowledge.
Users Want Fast Answers With Minimal Clicks
You know those commercials where you see people just clicking their mouse over and over to find something? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s just completely FALSE.
People don’t want to click. In fact, half the time they don’t even want to search! With the rise of voice search, people are suddenly expecting this work to be done without them literally lifting a finger. The idea of “zero-click” searches has been something that marketers have followed for quite some time, but not until the last few years has this become a solid standard by which to optimize. In the words of Ricky Bobby’s father, “if you ain’t first, you’re last.” The idea of SEO, and online marketing as a whole, is to make sure that your site and profiles are the very first things people see when they search. This can be accomplished through PPC ads, general organic structure, claiming of knowledge graphs, proper listings, and a ton of other techniques. Whatever way(s) you choose, make sure you’re doing them with the idea of “zero-click” in mind.
For 2020, think like a patient. If your patient has a headache and searches “why do I have headaches?”, make sure that you’re going to be the first result with a rich snippet. If your patient searches your practice, make sure that your GMB and knowledge graphs are claimed. If your patient searches your name, make sure that the listing with the most conversion opportunity is the first one they find. If you have a listing on a hospital website that’s outranking your personal site and has little conversion opportunity, then you’re probably going to lose a call to the hospital group when they get confused. At the end of the day, make sure that you’re number one for all of the searches (short and long tail) and you’ll be in a good spot. “Hey Alexa, let’s dominate the search results!”
The Road Between Human Elements and Automation Must Be Paved Properly
It might just be me, but the idea of a car driving without a human is horrifying. We as a society know that we have powerful technology, but if a car goes by lines in the road and there aren’t any, what happens?
This same fear translates to healthcare automation. Far too often do we see reviews on sites that say “the phone line had me on hold for 2 hours” or “Miss Pam at the front was really rude” and have very little follow up. Not only does that impact your reputation and overall online marketing campaign, but it also is a testament to how you should be monitoring both the automated elements and the human elements of your practice.
For 2020, make sure that you’re acknowledging automation by understanding how smoothly your daily operations are going. If you have an online appointment request process, go through it a few times yourself as a test to see that it’s working. If it frustrates you, it’ll probably frustrate a patient. If you have a phone line with prompts, give it a call to see if you can follow it. Again, if you’re about to throw your iPhone out the window, you probably need to reevaluate a few things. The same goes for your staff, or even yourself! Take notes from your reviews and patient satisfaction surveys (if you aren’t reading them, you should be) and put some emphasis on a friendly smile or a thank you. Sure, automation may save time, but studies indicate that nothing is more valued than a helpful person at the end of the line or front desk. As much as movies lead us to believe otherwise, humans and AI can be friends and work well together, it just takes a little effort!
If you’re actively looking at your 2020 marketing plan, give Practis a call today! We’ll be able to take you down a solid marketing path that is unique to you and your practice. Our goal is to make sure that you’re happy and your patients are finding you and engaging with you and your practice. There are so many more tips outside of these five that can bring you a new year of copious patient acquisition, and we’re here to help you understand them all!