Healthcare Marketing: Focus 2021

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Business as usual. It’s a term frequently used as organizations across all industries attempt to navigate the current global health crisis. In comparison, some sectors have visions of returning to relative normalcy soon after experts discern how to curb the spread of COVID-19, other sectors like healthcare marketing stand to be permanently transformed by this pandemic. 

The healthcare industry was pretty slow in embracing the digital age. With the lack of government regulations and the way we see healthcare (more as a service than a business), there has been relatively less pressure on the healthcare industry to go digital.

However, COVID-19 has changed everything. Governments worldwide have suddenly relaxed healthcare regulations and started providing the healthcare industry in a more flexible way to provide essential health services to those in need. The sector received the much-needed push to go digital and embraced new challenges using technology.

For several decades now, virtual healthcare management, telehealth, and digital health have been heralded as critical to the future of healthcare. However, digital transformation has been challenging and slow due to regulations, the need for behavioural changes, and the lack of incentives to act fast. 

Here are some statistics from Deloitte showing patient willingness to embrace telehealth services:

  • # 60% of millennials expect and support telehealth to replace in-office visits
  • # 74% of people say they are very open to a virtual health visit
  • # 83% of patients after a telehealth visit felt they received good quality care

Healthcare businesses have faced a 50% decrease in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic this year. In 2021, the healthcare provider’s main concerns will be to rebuild their brands and recover the lost revenue exhausted during the epidemic.

Increasing online engagement and optimizing your brand presence can kickstart the growth of your healthcare brand. That means one of the best methods to achieve recovery is through digital marketing.

To make your digital marketing efforts effective post-COVID-19, you should begin to plan adjustments in response to the new digital landscape, shifts in searches, competitors, and market share. Your past strategies may no longer apply to your marketing plan after coronavirus, so it’s essential to understand what changes have occurred and how to overcome the new challenges.

In 2021, healthcare practices need to be more authentic and authoritative to attract new patients and re-engage old ones.

Healthcare Marketing Trends For 2021

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Healthcare Marketing refers to the marketing strategies healthcare providers, insurers, suppliers and advocacy groups use to attract new patients and increase awareness of their healthcare business.

9 healthcare marketing trends for 2021 that will position your marketing efforts for success:

Voice-search optimization and long-tail keywords

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SEO techniques have evolved through time, with search engines like Google regularly improving the algorithm to provide the most accurate results.

At the moment, voice-recognition technology, which significantly relies on search results, has become one of the most used mediums for search engines. People turned to Alexa, Cortona, and Siri for instructional needs and automated control of tasks.

In the world of healthcare, voice search features are going to become a game-changer. It already showed a significant increase in users as surveys tallied at least 60% of smartphone users are already using this feature.

Dependency on search engines continually increases, and strategies centred around it pave the way for a competitive healthcare market.

As people become more aware of their health, the use of long-tail keywords that will answer health-related issues, explain surgical procedures, or even simplifying medical terms can be beneficial to your 2021 content strategy.

Collectively, optimizing for voice-search and long-tail keywords will help shape the success of your digital marketing efforts.

Heightened healthcare content marketing

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Medical websites create their content with the intent of being informative and educational. The focus is to address the public’s fundamental concerns when it comes to their health issues.

That’s why medical content articles have now transcended into providing more in-depth explanations of disease and medical procedures.

As misinformation becomes rampant and public reliance is highest, raising brand awareness through medical content marketing continues to be a top priority for healthcare marketers in 2021.

Going through events of the year 2020, the conversation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic surged to new heights in social media, search engines, surveys, and third-party listings.

It is safe to assume that people will rely more on online information regarding medical trends in the following year. Healthcare organizations should establish themselves as a front-runner source of information.

Aside from these findings, reputation management should always be paramount. According to Binary Fountain, consumers that are troubled with their healthcare provider’s reputation increased by 167% in just two years. Rebuild or empower your reputation through trustworthy medical content and quality customer service for your patients.

The importance of patient loyalty in 2021

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A trustworthy organization is characterized by the number of people willing to speak positively about a business’s service to others. In healthcare, customers will likely recommend your brand because of service satisfaction and after-service incentives.

When rebuilding brand presence, it is essential to tap into your loyal customers to aid your campaign, such as taking advantage of emails to notify them regarding the latest discounts or launching a new product.

Additionally, patient testimonials and reviews are vital in building a reputation and raising brand image. A few words from patrons online can change how potential customers see you as healthcare providers.

It can also be done by checking on them through online platforms to help their medical condition.

The importance of caring for loyal patients is showcased by Hubspot’s study, stating that acquiring new patients is five times more costly than preserving old ones. Your existing patients are most likely to support your organization and obtain more services from you.

After an economic struggle due to the pandemic, driving revenue through patient loyalty is a big step toward recovery.

Focus on infographics and video

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As people transition from old habits to a new technological approach, text-heavy content is being overtaken by infographics and video. Visualized information will always be eye candy. Delivering statistics or serious content through this method is a sure-fire way to catch the public’s attention.

On the other hand, video marketing seeks to make information dissemination, much like a conversation.

Treatment procedures, testimonials, and awareness drives are the most common types of video campaigns for stimulating your healthcare brand’s audience engagement.

With these techniques, the aim is to make an impact. People tend to keep memories of subjects that have been graphically embedded in their brains.

Establish credibility on social media

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Social media has always been a powerful platform for digital marketing. Medical information released through these platforms impacts avid followers and positively and negatively affects healthcare brands.

However, people are starting to get fatigued with recurring content appearing on their feeds with a clear-defined sales promotion goal. What people will look for in the future is a credible brand that genuinely cares about them.

Healthcare providers should use social media platforms with a pure concern for the target audience by sharing valuable information on health to your social media followers.

You can also establish an emotional connection with your target audience through surveys or testimonials.

Adjust Your Bidding Strategies

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In light of coronavirus, many healthcare clinics and hospitals redirected their marketing budgets to pay for new equipment and increased staffing during the COVID-19 outbreak peak. This means that many PPC, also known as pay-per-click, marketing budgets were put on hold. 

While looking to restart your PPC campaigns, healthcare marketers must keep this in mind that sticking to the old automated bidding strategy might not make sense for their marketing after the coronavirus pandemic has reached its peak and is no longer a mystery to us. 

Therefore, reviewing and adjusting both manual and automated bidding strategies will be an excellent place to start.

  • # Make sure to monitor your campaigns’ marketing strategy given the volatile market and remember that conditions and consumer behaviour will continue to shift. 
  • # Establish how often you want to evaluate and potentially update your goals regularly based on performance. The performance could be time-bound (weekly), or it could be geographically bound (regionally).
  • # Either way, it’s essential to keep your campaign goals up to date and enable automated bidding to do some of the intensive optimizations for you.

Scale Your Telehealth Services

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Coronavirus has led to many advancements within the telehealth service industry thanks to better reimbursement, relaxed regulations, and pent-up patient demand. Take advantage of this significant demand for outpatient appointments and promote telehealth to ensure consumers know what services you offer remotely and how to access them. 

Creating a telehealth marketing strategy within your current healthcare marketing plan is a sure way to continue your patient acquisition and retention efforts.

Marketing serves as a digital front door to direct patients to the right resources and care delivery options based on their needs. 

Telehealth is new to most health systems, so when you launch any campaign, make sure you understand telehealth providers’ capacity to fulfill demand. Otherwise, you may lead new customers to your competitors. And with relaxed regulations for telehealth, your competition may extend well beyond your service area.

Adapt Your Keywords To Search Trends

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Keywords are a powerful resource in marketing. Google Trends is a free digital marketing tool that can help you understand how people search for healthcare-related keywords online. This can be a valuable tool in understanding the popularity of searches happening over a given time frame. Google Trends also gives you other exciting data points like interest by region, related topics, and related queries, which could help gather keyword data.

It’s crucial to adapt your keywords to the current search trends to stay on top of healthcare trends. 

Many users are currently searching for information using ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID-19’ within their queries; many search for more generic keywords. 

It’s essential to recognize the value of these searches as they may be telling more about your customers’ needs during this time. 

Keywords like ‘pay off medical bills’ or ‘boost immunity’ indicate that a user may be experiencing financial hardship or wants to stay healthy and needs some guidance. How can your healthcare business meet these customers and assist them?

Weekly digital marketing tasks should include reviewing search term reports and search queries on Google Analytics. Gather these intent specific or question-based keywords and develop a content strategy for supporting your customers.

Make Your Campaigns Mobile Again

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With stay-at-home mandates slowly being lifted, daily routines will go from working from a laptop or desktop at home to going back to mobile use during commutes again. This means you will want to adjust your marketing campaigns across all mobile traffic channels after the quarantine. Consistently review your marketing campaign device settings, and when the time comes, make your healthcare organization highly visible on mobile again.

Conclusion

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Although there is nail-biting competition for healthcare marketing, the digital marketing horizon of it is still evolving, and there is a lot to explore. You can combine the technique discussed above to stand ahead of the masses. Try a 360 approach with a pinch of creativity to get the best out of the healthcare marketing plan.

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