Now more than ever, people have a renewed focus on health and wellness, and as a result, many options for care have appeared. Patients are demanding better services to improve the quality of their lives.

Competition is fierce in many healthcare markets and if you continue to use traditional marketing techniques, the chances of growth are minimal. In addition, people have more access to information—thanks to search engines and social media.

As a result, healthcare marketing techniques are evolving quickly to adapt to their demands.

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Websites like WebMD are providing people with reliable healthcare information. Concrete research based on years of clinical trials by medical experts about various ailments, their causes, symptoms, and treatments are now available online for free and are easy to find. People now conduct their own research before heading to the doctor.

In turn, more doctors are on call and consultation websites makes sharing healthcare information more widespread. Video calls and live Skype chats have also made it easier to diagnose and prescribe medications to people in other parts of the world. And this is just the beginning.

Here are 12 medical marketing trends you need to watch in 2020:

 

1. Increase in Programmatic Display Buying

To be in line with the current times, many businesses and medical practices are buying advertising that uniquely targets the needs of specific patients at any given time. In programmatic buying, marketers use the right message at the right time to reach the right people.

They accomplish this by using a combination of different tactics such as retargeting ads, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and social media advertising. However, programmatic advertising is the main umbrella that will drive healthcare buying in 2020.

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Many healthcare facilities will adopt this method, but it’s important to do it right as medical practices are at risk of getting poor results if they fail to define their patient personas properly. The best doctors and medical practitioners will be able to succinctly identify their ideal patients and work their programmatic advertising around that target market.

 

2. More People Will Be Watching Online Videos

If you’re a healthcare marketer and you’re not using video to promote your practice, you are missing out. Videos are driving serious engagement today. Many people enjoy watching videos over reading articles. A report released by HubSpot shows that about 45% of people spend more than one hour a day watching videos.

On top of that, 39% of potential patients call to make an appointment after watching a video on a healthcare topic.

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When creating a video, make sure that it engages the target audience and use professional equipment.

In addition to using the right equipment, here are some other tips to help you create better videos for your healthcare practice:

a). Tell Your Story: People are busy and often do not have time to read long stories. But when patients and doctors share video testimonies, people are often more likely to listen. Make videos that are authentic, engaging, and informative to help your audience understand your story and why they should choose you.

b). Show Empathy: When people are struggling with serious medical issues, it’s important to be empathetic and authentic. Your video should show positive emotions, which will help strengthen the relationship between your potential patients and your medical practice. Develop content that triggers positive memories to increase their level of trust.

c). Educate: In the healthcare industry, you can’t just make a video for the sake of entertainment. Your video’s goal should be to educate. Explain how you will solve their health problems and inform them of the different services that are offered in your facility.

d). Build Trust: Patients feel more comfortable visiting a trustworthy healthcare institution. They want a professional institute that has great reviews and a solid reputation. They don’t want to visit an unknown hospital to then go home and experience additional medical issues.

Use videos to assure patients of their safety by showing what measures you have put in place to ensure a high-quality experience, such as accreditations, inspections, etc. This will increase their trust when visiting your institution.

e). Create a Destination: You want your video to reach as many people as possible so you must motivate viewers to share the content widely. Professional doesn’t have to mean boring. When you create great content, people will start to look forward to what you publish next. And then if it’s engaging, they may share it with their families and friends thus increasing your brand’s visibility online.

For example, one idea is to create videos that share healthy recipes. Since everyone wants to live a healthy life, viewers will want to watch and share it with others who are focused on healthier diets.

 

3 . Increase in Competition and Market Sophistication

Consolidation among hospitals is leading to a rise in competition. In recent years, there have been various mergers and acquisitions. A good example is Aetna & CVS Pharmacy, as reported by Adweek:

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Different healthcare facilities are adopting new measures to keep up with the competition, which means that the healthcare facilities that are not acting now will get left behind. As these healthcare facilities continue to implement new and innovative digital marketing strategies, we are likely going to see more sophisticated marketing techniques in 2020.

 

4. Self-Refer Beyond Google

Google has become a reliable platform for many patients and enables them to self-refer. They’re able to search for specific medical specialists and can easily find doctors within their vicinity.

Healthcare content giant WebMD allows patients to self-refer and recently it was able to acquire Vitals.com. This move helped them increase patients’ confidence and trust in the medical conglomerate.

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Doctors can also create an enhanced WebMD profile and advertise themselves in order to get noticed by WebMD’s users. With this, they’re able to advertise themselves and get a higher rating. And once the customers use WebMD and vitals.com to self-refer, they can get access to the most trusted doctors that will answer their questions and help them get better.

However, doctors and healthcare professionals should also pay attention to Healthgrades.com and RateMDs as those are also two trusted sites that patients go to for reviews.

 

5. Use of blogs to provide quality healthcare content

In the past, it was difficult for healthcare providers to run successful blogs. One of the reasons is because many healthcare providers don’t understand the technical process involved in setting up a blog, creating content, and promoting it. They didn’t have time to learn complex systems and strategies.  But much of this is changing as technology continues to make learning (about anything) more accessible. Website content management systems are improving and becoming more intuitive to use.

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But if they want to attract more patients, it’s imperative that they develop high-quality content on their website. When people get sick, they go online to figure out what might be the problem. Web users search for the signs and symptoms of different sicknesses on the web and then try to figure out how to fix it or prevent it from happening again.

Smart and innovative healthcare providers are aware of this trend and are starting to build up their blogs with credible information about their services. Physicians are also starting to use blogs and other publishing platforms to share information on specific diagnoses and how to treat and prevent different medical conditions.

Building up trust online with potential patients attracts them to the medical facility. Implementing pop-ups in these blogs also gently nudges people towards the healthcare center. We’ll start to see many more medical institutes marketing their services using blogs in 2020 and beyond.

 

6. Embrace of Social Media 

Social media has become a powerful tool, building a worldwide community of millions of people. About 90.4% of millennials, 48.2% of baby boomers, and 77.5% of Gen Xers use social media platforms. In 2020, more doctors will use social media to communicate with potential patients.

Social media shouldn’t be feared, instead, it should be embraced and used as an educational tool.

Too often, unfounded medical claims and advice circulate on social media. People believe what celebrities and non-medical professionals claim on their YouTube channels. But doctors can combat this by also using social media to share factual information and to inform the public of important health issues. This positions them as a valuable source of information.

Not only that, but social media can also be used to share information on ground-breaking medical treatment and technologies. This will demonstrate that your practice is on the cutting-edge of new research and attract patients who are seeking the latest treatments.

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In addition to spreading information, social media can be a place of community. Many people turn to Facebook Groups or Instagram hashtags to connect with others who are experiencing the same problem. Healthcare providers should consider how they can support these networks and inform their patients of their existence.

 

7. Patient Information Evolution

Patients want convenience and information immediately. Unlike in the past where people could only visit a local hospital, they now have choices on the care they can receive. And patients are more concerned about getting great service at a reasonable price.

Google, other search engines, and social media networks are now an integral part of how people find healthcare solutions. In many cases before deciding on the hospital or clinic to visit, people get referrals from friends and social media. They also check the customer reviews online.

Organizations avoid negative reviews at all costs because they know how detrimental it is to a business.  This has led to an increase in employee training on the importance of customer satisfaction.

 

8. Increase in Facebook Ad Rates

Facebook is a powerful marketing tool for many healthcare providers as it has over two billion active users.

Many companies are aware of this and have been increasing their ad spend in order to reach more consumers on Facebook. In this pie chart below, Marketing Prof’s data show that companies are investing up to 75% of their budget on Facebook ads:

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As more organizations continue using Facebook to advertise their hospitals and clinics, the ad rates are likely to increase. So if you have a healthcare facility and have not been using Facebook ads yet, you might want to get started now before the ad rates skyrocket.

 

9. Reviews and the Reputation of the Management

Negative reviews can really damage your health organization as it reflects poorly on the business’s management and will affect the trust levels of those reading the reviews. They are powerful for healthcare institutions, so it’s best to monitor, address, and try to do all you can to avoid negative ones.

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Some of the issues that bring negative reviews occur during the billing process because some people don’t understand how co-insurance, premiums, and co-pays work.

When they receive a huge bill, it might taint their perception of the company regardless of the services they received. Therefore in 2020, there’s a major push for healthcare professionals to work harder in enlightening their customers on the billing system.

 

10. Improved Website SEO

Healthcare institutions are putting a lot of effort into ensuring that their website ranks high in organic search results. Many have increased their focus and investment to improve visibility in local listings, through tactics such as SEO. If you need help with this, it’s a good idea to hire a healthcare SEO company to assist you.

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This year and going forward, it’s important to stay ahead of the marketing curve by optimizing your healthcare website for various keywords that your target audience is entering in the search bar. It’s also important to acquire inbound links from trusted health blogs in your industry so that your healthcare website can rank on Google’s first page within a few months.

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11. Use of Better Electronic Tools

Traditionally, healthcare facilities display information on their websites such as visiting hours, doctor bios, and the type of services they offer.

In 2020, we may notice healthcare websites having e-visit, e-chat, and the ability to pay bills all online. There may also be patient-driven online scheduling and an EMRS (Electronic Medical Recorder Systems) options. For instance, here’s an example from Lowe and Evander, P.A.

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An EMRS is essential since it can provide the patient with useful information in real-time. It contains graphs that help patients keep track of their progress by comparing their blood tests in the last few months. The system also allows patients to be able to renew their prescriptions online.

Even if you’re not ready to implement these innovative online systems, it’s a good idea to monitor these changes. Once they’ve been tested and proven successful, considering adopting them at your facility. The use of this technology ensures your optimizing the patient experience.

 

12. Growth in Telemedicine

Many healthcare facilities are also using telemedicine, which is great because it helps patients get access to medical assistance from the comfort of their home. This is especially important to those that have mobility issues.

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Telemedicine allows patients to get quality care and increase the level of engagement between the doctor and the patient. If needed, patients are able to easily access different specialists. Doctors can identify early signs of sickness and treat it earlier. They’re also able to easily follow up with the patient to ensure that they’re on the right track towards a healthier lifestyle.

When deciding on whether you will implement telemedicine or not, remember that it involves technical training and purchasing the right equipment. It can be costly to implement and should be considered carefully.

 

Conclusion

Times are changing rapidly and patients now have easier access to information. It’s now easier than ever to review different health facilities and have the tools necessary to decide on the right doctor. Websites like WebMD have also made the continuum of care more accessible, realizing that the main concern of a modern patient is to get quality service at a reasonable price.

Hospitals are doing all they can to ensure that their customers are satisfied and as time goes by, competition in the healthcare sector will continue to increase. Hopefully, that will lead to more sophisticated marketing techniques.

Do you want to attract new patients to your healthcare facility? If so, our medical marketing team at Cardinal Digital Marketing can help. Contact us today!

 

Alex Membrillo Cardinal CEO

Alex Membrillo

Founder and CEO

Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi location companies. His work as CEO of Cardinal has recently earned him the honor of being selected as a member of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 list by Georgia State University as well as 2015 and 2016 Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year,and the Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).

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