As we head into winter, it’s time to start thinking about healthcare marketing strategies for 2014. This year poses an extra special opportunity for healthcare practitioners because the Affordable Care Act will force new people into the market place, and may cause existing health insurance clients to shuffle around in order to get the best insurance rates.
New insurance carriers often mean a new healthcare provider network. All those new healthcare shoppers will be going online to see who and what is available. The more you can do to align yourself at the top of the online marketplace, the better chance you have of attracting new clientele.
These 10 healthcare marketing trends are worth learning about, experimenting with, and investing in if you haven’t already.
- Content is still King. We say this over and over, but it’s true. As Google continues to morph their algorithms and search engines begin encrypting keyword searches, you will have a more difficult time learning exactly what terms consumers are searching for. The good news? High-quality, organic web content will be more important than ever.
- Hone in on your brand. The competition is stiff. Big name health providers already have an established brand and smaller networks and practices need to follow suit. If your company hasn’t established a unique brand, begin asking yourselves the important questions regarding who you are, what you stand for, and what you want your practice to mean to your customers. This will help you to create the visual, verbal, and social media content you need to continue establishing your place in the market.
- Mobile advertising. If your website isn’t already compatible with the mobile market, you need to make that shift. Mobile gadgets continue to dominate the tech sector and studies show that almost 80% of smartphone users have their phones with them – and in the “on” position – 22 hours per day! Also, the Latino population uses their smartphones more than whites to access the internet so mobile marketing is key to reaching this expanding demographic.
- Keep mobile ads short and sweet. While you will still want to create longer blogs and web pages to provide high-quality content, your mobile marketing will need to be short, sweet, and to the point. Why? Because mobile devices have smaller screens and you want to get your message out there in a way that will be pleasant for consumers to absorb. Otherwise, your ads will be deleted or consumers will bounce right off your pages.
- Graphics, Visuals, and Pictures. These can assist you in accomplishing Trend #4. Visuals are the best way to send an instant message to the consumer. They require minimal reading, can often be viewed without scrolling, and are more likely to be “liked” and shared. Get cozy with a graphic designer and start creating stunning visuals and infographics!
- Location-based marketing. Geo-terms used to be important because people used them to search for goods and services. Now, location-based marketing is more important than ever since smartphones are embedded with GPS technology. Your business is instantly visible to potential customers in your area if you’ve done your location-based marketing correctly.
- Shares and giveaways. Research shows that consumers aren’t overly fond of smartphone ads unless there is something in it for them. Create content that is exciting, like videos, requires an immediate action, like sharing, or that gives something away with a simple click.
- Balance SEO and social interaction. While inbound links still reign supreme in the world of SEO rankings, social interaction is playing a larger role each year. Search engines pay attention to who is sharing what. When your content gets a +1, Google’s taking note. The same goes for likes and shares. Pay attention to what your followers like and share the most so you can continue creating that type of content.
- Mobile Website vs. Mobile App. Is there an app for you? Think about the apps you can create, or promote, with preventative health, nutritional information, health tips for the day, or anything that will keep your clientele engaged with your company. It builds your reputation, brand, and customer loyalty. Sometimes it makes sense to have both an app and a mobile website. But for a well-rounded mobile presence a mobile-optimized website is generally a practical and effective first step. A mobile website is always available on all smartphones while an app requires users to download the app before it can be accessed.
- Social media. Social media is a critical component of digital healthcare marketing. In fact, as healthcare marketers continue to divert more of their marketing budget to digital marketing, 70% have increased their social media budgets. Hopefully, by now, updating web content and regular blogging are a routine part of your healthcare marketing habits. 2014 might be the year to really dig in to your social media options and learn how they can work for you. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are still popular, but don’t neglect the rising social media platforms like Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.
So, in between the turkey, the lights, and the wrapping paper, start planning how you can work these trends in your 2014 healthcare marketing strategies.