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9 Critical Healthcare Marketing Trends that Matter in 2018

Justin Knott
President, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing

9 Healthcare Marketing Trends Changing Medical & Dental Practices

Healthcare marketing is an ever evolving and changing landscape. It can often time seem nearly impossible to keep up with all of the new strategies and tactics just to stay relevant.

By the time you have gotten on board with a “new thing” to reach patients that next hot strategy has arrived. It is very important to stay up to date on the latest healthcare marketing trends that are proving highly effective in practice growth.

Simply by paying close attention to what is working and what patients are deeming valuable can drastically increase the effectiveness of the marketing strategy for a practice. Which in turn, increases new patients for the office = new revenue.

Intrepy Healthcare Marketing has compiled a comprehensive list of the latest trends in healthcare marketing that dental and medical practice need to take into account in 2018 and beyond.

1. Reviews & Online Reputation Management Matter More Than Ever

Like it or not (which most practitioners are in the latter) reviews and what patients are saying about your practice have become a major deciding factor for potential patients researching a new local physician.

According to SearchEngineLand, “85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”

On top of that, it only takes 1-6 reviews for a potential patient to form an opinion of your practice before ever book an appointment.

It used to seem like a foreign concept even 10 years ago for a patient to go online and research and find a practitioner based off of reviews and schedule an appointment, especially for a specialty physician. However, we see it more an more every day with our clients that people are self-diagnosing or even if they do receive a referral they do not just take their primary care doctors word for it.

They turn to online resources to read reviews and research the overall reputation of the practice and providers. Therefore it is critical to put a major emphasis on gaining control of the reputation management and review generation of the practice.

This is one of the healthcare marketing trends that appear here to stay until some kind of really major Google algorithm update that says otherwise.

2. Video Marketing has Taken Over

Video marketing arrived several years ago but has seen a slower adoption rate across the board by physician and dental practices as a consistent part of their content marketing strategy.

A video is a powerful way of bringing potential patients “into the practice” and allowing them a peek behind the curtain to develop a know, like and trust relationship with the dentist before ever stepping foot in the practice.

Video is also a fantastic way to easily get the provider involved in the content marketing strategy consistently.

Think about it? Which is easier for an insanely busy prover to pull off?

A. Writing a 1,500+ word long-form blog post. Estimated time: 2-4 hours

B. Film a 2-3 minute video on a smartphone. Estimated time: 10-15 minutes

If the process is streamlined it is B nearly every time. Get a doctor in front of the camera and let them give advice on how to’s, educational pieces, FAQs, etc. then utilize social media platforms to broadcast it to your followers.

3. Google’s Algorithm is turning more towards Local SEO

Google is becoming increasingly more focused on local SEO which is great news for practices that invest in proper medical SEO for their business.

In the past, if you did a query for a local doctor or dentist you would get a lot of nationally focused materials on the first page. However, in recent years, those search results are dominated by Google’s local “3 pack” right at the top and either practice listings or directory listings (Yelp, Healthgrades) after that.

This means that it is critical to creating a well-rounded local SEO strategy to dominate local search for your keywords and outperform the competition which drives new patients to your website and generates new calls.

Google focuses on a few components for local SEO that matter most: proximity, relevance, reviews & business listing unification.

4. Influencer Marketing is the New Wave

When it comes to social media marketing strategy it can be difficult to come up with a way to reach a new audience and drive high levels of engagement. Enter influencer marketing.

What is influencer marketing? Influencer marketing is the act of utilizing someone else’s sphere of influence to act as a brand ambassador to promote your products or services to their audience.

The key to successful influencer marketing it that the influencer’s audience you are utilizing lines up really well with your target demographic. It would be great to have Tony Robbins post a promotion for your new botox special because of his reach. However, that is not the right target market for aesthetics services.

His followers are engaged with him because of his self-help, entrepreneurial style things that he does. A botox special would fall on deaf ears and even goes as far as to confuse his audience.

However, finding a local influencer who followers align with your botox offer could garner thousands of new followers, inquiries and new visitors to your website.

Take the example here. A local facial plastic surgeon was able to reach out and score Kim Zolciak Biermann (Real Housewives of Atlanta) to come in an receive Ultherapy treatment. My guess would be in exchange for a complementary treatment the share her honest experience with her follows.

The result? 18,425 likes and hundreds of comments on her page. I can guarantee you local women (target marketing) came in droves to the doctor’s Instagram page to learn more. It immediately gives street cred to the practice because “if it is good enough for Kim Zolciak it’s good enough for me”.

Being to integrate an influencer strategy into your healthcare marketing.

5. Content Marketing is an Absolute Must Have

After a well-built medical website, the next most important thing when it comes to ongoing SEO and website traffic generation is probably a content marketing strategy.

Many think content marketing equals blog posts. While long-form blog posts are a highly effective form of content marketing that is far from the only effective form of content a practice can create. In fact, there are 40+ forms of content and having a good mixture is the most effective.

Each form has its own benefits and levels of engagements so while you may want to choose video or blog posts as a main focal point of content production make sure to mix it up frequently to keep people engaged.

You may be thinking, “wouldn’t paid advertising drive more people to my website”? It seems like such a long and uphill battle to drive traffic by producing content.

A recent study by Kapost found that, per dollar, content marketing generated 3X more leads over PPC advertising.

Therefore, make the investment this year in a consistent and well-documented content marketing strategy.

The key here is to make sure you document your strategy so it becomes real life. In fact, only 32% of B2B content marketers have taken the time to sit down and actually document a strategy. Documentation has been proven to yield better results.

healthcare marketing trends content marketing atlanta

Image from NeilPatel.com

Remember, your social media platforms are only as good as the content that is distributed to them. So make it better than the rest then blast it out to the world via social media, email, newsletter, etc. This will greatly improve the outcomes of your healthcare marketing strategy.

6. Social media marketing is essential to connect with new patients

Social media is now a given when it comes to healthcare marketing for a medical or dental practice. Then why did I think it should make the list as a trend?

I think it has become not only a given but something that needs to be better utilized and made a more substantial focal point of healthcare marketing strategies. While it is rare nowadays to find a practice without a Facebook page. We find it rare still to find a practice getting the most out of the platform and often end up feeling like it’s a waste of time and resources.

However, this is just because the proper content, time and processes were not implemented to engage potential patients with the things they are looking for.

More than ever before patients are turning to social media to find recommendations to providers or do research prior to booking an appointment. With that said social media should be a gold mine to find new patients then. Right?

First, it starts with investing in the platforms that are the best fit for YOUR practice. You do not need to focus on everything. If you are going to be on the platform make sure it fits your target demographic and you can create the content that performs well for the social media platform.

healthcare marketing trends social media marketing

Secondly, using the tips above for content marketing create the best of the best, better than the rest content that your readers cannot help but digest.

Thirdly, distribute that content consistently across social media and utilize research to know when the best times to post to reach your audience are.

7. Practice Branding Apps a becoming more common

Creating an iOS or Android marketplace app use to be an incredibly expensive endeavor marketing it unreasonable for individual practices to enter this market as another means of communication with their patients.

However, thanks to the emergence of software and app builders, similar to what has occurred on the website development side. Practices can now get an app commissioned for their practice for little to no money.

healthcare marketing trends allergy partners

Allergy Partners Patient App

This has allowed practices to create another marketing avenue for patients to streamline appointment booking, notifications and communication, push specials and promos and more.

The app can serve as a powerful way for retargeting marketing to patients because you can push appointment reminders, content and run promotions to get them back in the office consistently.

If you have not thought about it as a new addition to a healthcare marketing strategy this may be one of the healthcare marketing trends worth reconsidering.

8. Business Listings Directories are Dominating Local Search 

Doing a quick local based search result for “best internal medicine doctor in Atlanta” or “top orthopedic surgeons near me” is not going to return a set of local doctor’s offices. Instead, it will return a slew of listings and reviews websites.

Among them will more than likely be: Healthgrades, Yelp, RateMDs.com, even Angie’s List depending on the search.

healthcare marketing trends business listings

What does this mean? Sometimes depending on the long-tail search query listings directors can be more critical to claim, update and maintain than your actual website for driving traffic and local SEO.

I see this healthcare marketing trend continuing to become the norm as Google looks to return review based listings as a top priority because it is how consumers want to make purchasing decisions.

Listings are one of the trends that are closely associated with the reputation and reviews management because most of the reviews need to be on the platforms mentioned above.

This is how you ensure that when someone does search “best dentist near me”, clicks on Yelp and searches the list of options y0u are at the top of the list because of those stellar reviews! This will gain you visibility, clicks, and new patients.

9. Natural Language & Voice Search are set to Explode

With the rapid growth of items like the iPhone’s Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Home and more the use of voice search is rapidly becoming one of the common search engine trends.

Voice search arrived years ago but has been mainly utilized on mobile devices. However, as in-home devices have exploded over the past 2 years it voice search has become a more integral part of how we interact with search engines.

According to ComScore, by 2020 nearly 50% of all searches will be voice search in nature. That is an insanely fast growth trajectory.

This means you need to start getting ready now for natural language style search SEO. Voice search tends to be much more conversational.

For example, someone searching for Indian cuisine using text may search “Indian food near me” but someone using voice search will probably say “where is the best Indian restaurant near me?”.

Voice queries have been found to be on average 2X as long as typed queries making long-tail queries that much longer when it comes to raking high in voice search.

How do you handle SEO for Voice Search?

  1. Dive into long-tail keyword research and more important how Google defines search intent
  2. Write conversational style pieces that answer questions that your target patient would commonly ask when searching for a practice like yours

Time to take a hard and predictive look at getting ready to integrate voice into your healthcare marketing strategy.

Conclusion

Healthcare marketing is an ever evolving and changing industry and staying up on the latest trends is critical to developing effective strategies to grow your medical and dental practice.

I hope you found these healthcare marketing trends insightful. Often times if you wait and react to a new trend it can be too little too late or you are left playing catch up to competitors.

Intrepy Healthcare Marketing is a full-service medical marketing and advertising agency in Atlanta focused on growing our client’s practices and generate new, high revenue patients. Give us a call 678-250-4757 or fill out our contact form.