While many industries have fully embraced digital marketing, the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt digital strategies.
It’s well known that healthcare lags behind other industries when it comes to marketing by about two years. Between HIPAA compliance regulations and FDA restrictions, it can be scary to adapt to changing marketing trends in such a heavily regulated industry.
But the numbers cannot be ignored.
According to Pew research data, 72% of internet users looked online for health information within the past year. In fact, searching for health related information is the third most popular online activity.
Now that the majority of patients are active online, and also looking for solutions to their health problems, many healthcare professionals and organizations have stepped up their digital marketing efforts.
The fact is the healthcare industry has an incredible opportunity to leverage digital marketing to drive market share, create transparency, and improve patient relationships. It’s clear that digital marketing has impacted the healthcare industry in an unprecedented way.
Impact #1 – Reach
In order to understand the impact of digital marketing in healthcare, it’s important to understand today’s healthcare consumer.
Since the majority of healthcare consumers are seeking medical information online, that’s where current healthcare marketers are reaching them.
Previous healthcare marketers used to cast a wide net through TV, radio, and print to build brand awareness, but search engine marketing, social media, and mobile advertising have made it more cost-effective to take a targeted approach.
Now healthcare professionals and organizations can precisely target their marketing to reach their ideal patients.
In regards to search engine marketing, Google states 77% of patients use search engines prior to booking appointments. Search engine marketing lets you increase your website ranking or display an ad in search engine results based around keywords you’ve targeted. And keywords are what allow you to target specific healthcare consumers and match them with your relevant services.
In addition to search marketing, social media allows healthcare professionals and organizations to effectively reach consumers with relevant health information. One third of consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and online forums for health related matters.
92% of consumers say that they trust social media and recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. That’s why hospitals, clinics, and doctors have been engaging patients through social media.
Platforms such as Facebook, have review systems where users can give and see specific experiences people have had with certain doctors and hospitals. This has led to better informed patients and improved patient relationships.
Impact #2 – Personalization
With the amount of data available, healthcare marketers can now deliver highly personalized messages through digital marketing. The idea is to reach the right patient with the right message at the right time.
Consumer data is used to determine patient communication preferences in order to make the greatest impact. Personal, demographic, social, and behavioral information can all play a role in crafting a personalized marketing message (even a campaign) that connects with patients.
Healthcare professionals and organizations have found that personalized communication with digital marketing boosts overall engagement in terms of attracting and retaining patients.
Impact #3 – Measure Performance
The great thing about digital marketing is that pretty much everything can be tracked and measured. Healthcare professionals and organizations no longer have to guess what’s working and what’s not working.
The ability to measure campaign performance helps hold people accountable. You’ll know exactly where the campaign is succeeding or failing. If someone needs to prove the ROI of a campaign, it can easily be done.
With marketing performance information on hand, healthcare professionals and organizations can make informed decision on how to improve their efforts. From there they can see how changes to their digital marketing affect results.
Best of all, it’s easier to make marketing budget decisions when you know the numbers. Measuring campaign performance gives you those kinds of insights. That way you can put more money into what’s effective, and cut spending on what’s ineffective.
The healthcare industry has the potential to significantly increase their reach and effectively engage consumers with digital marketing tactics. By incorporating digital marketing into existing marketing plans, healthcare marketers can develop an understanding of consumers and patients to create targeted messaging and extend their reach across search, social media, and mobile.
What impact do you think digital marketing has made on the healthcare industry? Please share comments below.
If you’re looking for the best way to increase your healthcare practice’s online presence, we can help! Here at DMNmedia, we have helped a wide variety of clients in different sectors of the healthcare industry improve their online presence and increase the amount of patients that visit their practice. For more information on working with us, please contact us today.