Last Updated: 10/30/20
Top Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2021
It is very important to stay up to date on the top healthcare marketing trends that are working in the medical space to grow healthcare organizations.
It can be tough to know which digital marketing trends in healthcare really do make the most growth difference and it can be frustrating because you can feel that by the time you implement one it is out of date.
That is why we have compiled a comprehensive list of the top digital healthcare marketing strategy trends that you need to focus on that we believe are here to stay for the next several years.
Table of Contents:
- Reviews Are a Top Ranking Factor on Google
- Video is the Preferred Way to Consume Content
- Your Focus Should Be On Local SEO
- Micro Influencers Can Extend Your Social Media Reach
- Content Marketing Fuels Organic Website Traffic
- Social media is where your patients are active
- Claim and Unify Business Directories for Local Search
- Voice Search is Being Adopted By Patients
- Digital Advertising is More Targeted Than Ever
Reviews Are a Top Ranking Factor on Google
One of the newer marketing trends in healthcare is the growth of the role reviews and reputation are having in SERPs.
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 of reviews and schedule an appointment, especially for a specialty physician.
However, we see it more and 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.
Just take a look at the breakdown of local ranking factors based on research.
As you can see from the pie chart, reviews are the third most important ranking factor in local SEO.
Therefore, they cannot be ignored. You need to start implementing a dedicated program to gather new reviews on Google, Facebook and healthcare-related sites.
Not to mention that Google’s algorithm can read the content of these reviews and pull related keywords out of the reviews for searches you want to rank for.
Take the screenshot below for an example.
You will notice the review mentions “knee replacement” which is a major boost for this provider when people are looking for knee replacement specialists in his geographical area.
Check out our HIPAA-compliant physician reputation management software.
Video is the Preferred Way to Consume Content
Video marketing arrived several years ago but has seen a slower adoption rate across the board by physician 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 healthcare content marketing strategy consistently.
Think about it? Which is easier for an busy provider 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 video can be a much easier way to create content 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.
The best way to start coming up with topics it to have providers site down and write down common FAQs that patients ask them weekly or monthly related to specific procedures or treatments you offer.
I can guarantee that if you do that, you can come up with 6 months or more worth of video marketing topics.
If you do this you are beating out 90% of your competition in implementing this digital healthcare marketing trend.
Your Focus Should Be On Local SEO
Google’s algorithm changes nearly 500-600 times per year.
In the past, if you did a query for a local provider 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 for medical practices 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.
- On Page SEO Optimization
- Google My Business
- Business Listings
Check out this video on on page SEO strategies that you should be leveraging on your website pages.
Pro Tip: Making the Featured Snippets in Search Results
Google’s updates have made it to where you don’t even need to leave the platform to get a lot of your questions answered anymore with featured snippets.
Zero Search is up for 2020, so does that mean website clicks are down?
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be in the #1 spot to earn a featured snippet.
How do you get website clicks out of a featured snippet?
By offering more information.
Google shows 8 items in their featured snippets, by offering more than 8 points google puts a link to your page where people can learn more.
Micro Influencers Can Extend Your Social Media Reach
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 plastic surgery marketing 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.
Content Marketing Fuels Organic Website Traffic
After a well-built medical website, the most important thing when it comes to ongoing SEO and website traffic generation is probably a content marketing program.
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 engagement 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 than 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.
A properly structured and active blog on your website can generate 50% of more of your over organic site traffic on your website.
Check out this hyperbaric oxygen practice.
Their blog posts make up over 51% of their total organic website traffic.
This showcases the reason you need an active blog on your website.
Not convinced? Watch this video on how we more than doubled our site traffic updating old blog posts.
Social media is where your patients are active
Social media is now a given when it comes to digital healthcare marketing for a healthcare organization. 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.
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.
There are a few main tips when building a social media program you need to keep in mind:
- Be authentic.
- Bring people into your practice (i.e. show them what you do behind the scenes or in the OR)
- Leverage video as much as possible
- There are no shortcuts. It takes time, and it takes real engagement. You get out what you put in.
- Vary the messaging and follow the 80/20 rule. 80% focus on providing real health-related value. 20% focus on the “hard sell” or driving appointments or other actions
- Have fun and collaborate it is called “social” media for a reason
Claim and Unify Business Directories for Local Search
Doing a quick 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.
What does this mean?
That you need to make sure you are claiming and unifying business listings for both your practice locations and your providers.
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.
The unique thing about the healthcare vertical is physicians can have Google My Business and listings as well.
Therefore you need to focus on both sets of listings.
Unified listing for doctors send ranking signals to your website and Google My Business which aid in increasing your localized search results.
Voice Search is Being Adopted By Patients
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 in healthcare marketing.
In a recent survey, 71% of the participants said they would prefer to utilize a voice assistant to search for something instead of typing in their search queries.
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.
This is especially true of the millennial generation and people under the age of 49 who say they utilize voice search 92% or more a few times a month.
Take into consideration that millennials now own the majority purchasing power in the US economy it is time to take notice that voice search has arrived.
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?”.
The other thing you need to realize about voice search is the #1 search result is really all that matters currently.
So it is critical that you are optimizing your site pages to take the top spot because often times that is the only thing that will be feed back to you in a voice search query.
How do you handle SEO for Voice Search?
- Dive into long-tail keyword research and more important how Google defines search intent
- Write conversational style pieces that answer questions that your target patient would commonly ask when searching for a practice like yours
While I do not think it is time to go all in on optimizing for voice search, it does mean that as the shift occurs and adoption rates grow.
It becomes more and more important to rank in the #1 search spot.
Digital Advertising is More Targeted Than Ever
As data has become more available on Google Ads and Social Media Ads it has allowed healthcare marketers to become more hyperfocused in who they can advertise to.
From demographics to geofencing you can now hone in on the perfect patient type if your ads are done right.
Take for instance a client that we have in the women’s health and menopause care space.
We are leveraging social ads to drive new leads to the practice.
We have developed a menopause symptoms quiz and are taking their exact profile of females in a 15-20 mile radius around the practice.
The results have been amazing.
We have been able to drive in 200+ leads per month for under $2 a piece.
Because we know the audience is relevant and in a drivable distance from the practice. Powerful stuff.
Check out this article on Facebook Ads for Medical Practices.
Healthcare Marketing Trends Infographic
Digital Healthcare Marketing Trends Wrap Up
Digital 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 healthcare organization.
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 offers a range of medical marketing services focused on growing medical practices and generate new, high revenue patients. Give us a call 678-250-4757 or fill out our contact form.