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2020 healthcare marketing trends for independent practices

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Most practices understand they must have a healthcare marketing strategy in place to attract and retain patients. In between a busy patient schedule and running a business, it can be hard to find the time to revisit your strategy. But just as the healthcare industry and patient expectations evolve, so do the best ideas for online marketing for doctors.

As a new year begins, it’s prudent to assess which promotional tactics are working for your practice and which are not. To reach more patients and retain your current ones, stay on top of healthcare marketing trends and set your plan for the new year. Read on for five healthcare marketing ideas that can help enhance your physician marketing in 2020.

2020 healthcare marketing trends

1. Audience segmentation

Consumers are constantly on the receiving end of advertisements and sales pitches. Video and other digital advertisements interrupt their social media feeds, their video entertainment, and the content they read. In this environment, the key to any successful healthcare marketing strategy is to stand out by giving consumers the advertising experience they want — and they want personalized marketing. In fact …

80 percent of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.1

For your messages to stand out, your healthcare marketing ideas must be relevant to your patients’ experience. Although your patients likely have things in common, they may vary by age, gender, and interests. By segmenting your patient audiences, you’ll be able to personalize content and messages better. Pediatricians, for example, see children of all ages. But parents of preschoolers likely have different concerns than parents of teenagers, so it makes sense to cater your healthcare marketing accordingly.

Here are some ways you can put your audience segments to use:

  • Email marketing. Create email lists for your patients based on things they have in common. It could be as simple as a reminder for when they should be coming in next. You can also allow patients to opt-in to specific types of communications. For example, if you’re an orthopedic surgeon, you can allow patient-athletes to opt-in for communication about injury prevention.
  • Digital advertising. Unlike traditional advertising, you can now target specific audiences with your advertisements on search engines and social media. On Google, you can target people in specific geographic areas who are searching for the care you provide. On Facebook and Instagram, you can also target specific age groups or people with similar interests.

2. Investments in marketing technology

More than half of all patients (51.3 percent) list convenience and access as the most important healthcare factors influencing their decision making.2

Thus, facilitating patients’ abilities to connect with the providers at your practice should be a larger healthcare marketing focus in the new year. Certain tech tools can make you seem more available to prospective patients, which can help attract them to your practice.

Here are a few tech tools that could increase in popularity in 2020:

  • Chatbots. Chatbots allow for website visitors to connect with your practice. Sometimes, they serve as an instant messaging tool that is manned by a member of your staff. Other times, you can set up automatic replies to common inquiries or requests. This provides a convenient place where your patients can ask questions or even set up appointments.
  • Online scheduling. Sixty-eight percent of patients say they are more likely to choose medical providers that offer the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online.3 This number is up 10 percentage points from 2016, and if trends stay consistent, is sure to continue rising in 2020. Not only does this give patients the ability to book available appointments at their convenience, but it also frees office staff from having to field so many appoint request phone calls during office hours.
  • Telehealth. Telehealth helps expand access to healthcare by offering patient convenience and has been soaring in popularity among patients and physicians. The number of physicians who reported telemedicine as a skill increased 20 percent each year between 2015 to 2018.4 From traditional care settings to retail clinics, the modern patient has more options to choose from than ever before for their healthcare. Adoption of telehealth can help keep an independent practice competitive.
  • Healthcare marketing software. If you own your own practice, you likely don’t have extra time to be focusing on healthcare marketing. Healthcare marketing software offers a convenient and efficient way to promote your practice. An all-in-one healthcare marketing software solution can expand your web presence, boost your online reputation, and streamline office tasks.

3. Video marketing

You likely already understand the importance of content marketing for both search engine optimization and for establishing yourself as a reputable thought leader in your field, but you may not have yet invested in video marketing for your practice. If you haven’t, 2020 is the year to start.

Nearly half of consumers (45 percent) watch an hour or more of video on Facebook and Youtube each week.5

By 2021, video is expected to represent 82 percent of all IP traffic, which amounts to a million minutes of video transmitted through networks every second.6 Although producing high-quality video can be resource-intensive, there are now plenty of options for sharing video on your website or social media accounts.

Most social media channels — Facebook and Instagram, in particular — allow you to transmit live video from wherever you are. Live video doesn’t have to be overly produced to be effective. Similarly, Instagram and Facebook Stories are an easy and effective way to connect with patients using video.

More than 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories every day, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories come from business accounts.7

4. Local search engine optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is likely already part of your healthcare marketing strategy. Patients are using search engines more and more to find health-related information. In fact, about three out of four people have gone online to research healthcare providers, medical conditions, and treatments.8 It’s important for any healthcare practice to optimize their website to show up in search.

In 2020, it’s time to refine your website SEO and optimize for local search. Local search refers to search queries that include the terms “near me.” When someone searches [dentist near me] or [optometrist near me], for example, this signifies a need for those services, and the person searching is more likely a prospective patient than someone who is simply researching teeth aligners or eye conditions.

Between 2015 and 2017, there was an increase of 150 percent in Google mobile searches that included the terms “_____ near me now” and a 200 percent increase in Google mobile searches that included the terms “_____ near me open now.”9

These are the people you want to book an appointment at your practice, so ensuring that your contact information is up-to-date and prominent on your website and web profiles is critical to your healthcare marketing — and will only become more so as technology advances.

5. Reputation management

Modern consumers are more involved with their healthcare decisions than ever before, and increasingly, they’re relying on online reputation to choose their providers. Eighty-six percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses,10 and the majority of patients have listed online reviews as the most influential decision-making factor when choosing a provider.11

Reliance on online reviews has been trending upward and can be expected to continue through 2020. Successful online marketing for doctors is not complete without a review of your online reputation.

In 2018, 57 percent of consumers said they wouldn’t even patron a business with less than 4 stars, which is up from 48 percent the year before.12

In 2020, all healthcare practices should be monitoring their reputation. Patients say they are most likely to read patient reviews on Google, WebMD, Yelp, Healthgrades, and Facebook,13 respectively, so these websites are an ideal place to start. Healthcare marketing software can also help compile all of your patient reviews in one place and assist in requesting feedback from your patients.

Try these 2020 healthcare marketing trends

The end of the year brings about the opportunity to assess your physician marketing and plan your healthcare marketing strategy for 2020. Maybe you just need a few small refinements or maybe you need to implement all of the healthcare marketing ideas outlined here.

If making the necessary changes sounds overwhelming, try focusing on one thing at a time. Start by making sure your website is optimized for search and managing your online reputation or investing in a healthcare marketing software that can assist you without adding to your workload.

About PatientPop

PatientPop, the market leader in practice growth technology, empowers healthcare providers to thrive in the digital age. By enhancing and automating each touchpoint in the patient journey, PatientPop makes it easy for healthcare providers to attract more patients, manage online reputation, modernize the patient experience, and automate the front office. For more information, visit patientpop.com.

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2020 healthcare marketing trends for independent practices

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