A digital footprint is an essential part of marketing strategy in this age of omnipresent internet. The competition is tough, especially for doctors, battling to attract patients in tight geographical areas in this constantly changing high-tech era. In 2019, there could be a dramatic shift in the paradigm of digital marketing including content marketing, social media, and SEO among others.
It is critical to re-think the current marketing strategy for your practice. You need to consider the ever-changing advertising landscape and understand that what worked before might not work for you anymore. These 5 current digital marketing trends are going to shape how potential patients perceive your practice.
1. Authenticity is a Powerful Tool
Authenticity weighs heavily in the realm of digital marketing because you are dealing with real people looking for your services. There is a considerable shift in the way algorithms currently work, many search engines have begun to think like real humans. For example, if your search query is for “red apples”, the algorithm already knows that red apple is a round edible fruit that comes in a color known as red.
This one valuable component is often overlooked in the hustle of other SEO tactics. It can be easy to lose sight and importance of your practice in the constant pressure to outperform and target patient goals. There are a lot of useful SEO strategies which can get quick results.
However, there is nothing quite as powerful or simple as sincerity and honest-to-goodness marketing. This can be the clinching factor that sets your medical digital marketing campaign apart from other dentists’ or doctors’ practice.
Like any other consumer, a patient will try to assess the authenticity of a medical website or practice while selecting a healthcare option. Honesty and sterling content are co-related and undisputed when it comes to keeping a patient loyal. Patients are on the lookout for transparency in healthcare. You can get ahead by being real, down to earth and honest in your claims.
2. Engage with Video Marketing
The forecast for 2019 is that a huge portion of your patient internet traffic is going to be through internet videos. As per a survey conducted by Wyzowl, there is a more than 15% increase in businesses using video as part of marketing strategies. Currently, 81% digital marketing strategies include video marketing as a poignant component to achieve goals. The same study concluded that most businesses observed video marketing to increase their ROI.
The same holds true for healthcare as well. You can give your medical practice a competitive edge by including internet video traffic in the statistics. There have been no signs of slowing down ever since videos made their way into inbound marketing. Live streams are especially preferred by patients while looking for a new healthcare service, as facebook and Instagram are major driving forces behind the desire for live content.
There have been multiple surveys conducted in determining the efficacy of live videos over pre-recorded ones and all the evidence points towards live videos resulting in a higher patient retention rate.
3. Optimize Work Output with Marketing Automation
You can squeeze greater results from your digital marketing toil by employing marketing automation at the core fundamentals of your digital strategy. As a medical practitioner, there are only so many hours available to you in a day.
You need to focus on creativity rather than wasting time on repetitive tasks. This can be easily performed by automation. In fact, one of the greatest benefits of automation is the ability to target multiple channels to acquire more patients simultaneously.
Prepare yourself to take advantage of the leaps in technology such as artificial intelligence that can lower your work stress and help you achieve pre-set marketing goals. Healthcare businesses across all platforms are facing a sense of urgency to reap complete benefits of their efforts. You need to capture the interest of your target ‘audience’ patients by using marketing automation techniques to their full potential. Such as scheduling social media posts days, even weeks, in advanced.
The field is level right now across all industries and spheres. However, soon the market will tilt towards those practices which can make the most of automated technologies. Recently, there have been increasing numbers of healthcare businesses leveraging some degree of marketing automation.
4. Adapt to Voice Search
The scramble to understand how SEO strategies and search engines are affected by voice integration has already begun. According to comScore, voice searches are increasing at an acclerated rate with the prediction claiming 50% online searches to be made this way by 2020. There is no avoiding SEO when it comes to keeping your medical or dental practice at the top. Local search implications are a major factor in acquiring new patients and retaining the old ones. It is critical to redesign with the changing waves and initiate an adaptation process.
You need to understand that voice queries are longer than their text counterparts. This affects search results as digital assistants evolve to understand user intent and assess the context of what they want to promote action from the users.
You need to adjust your content to fit the changing criteria driving search engine results. For instance, a digital assistant assesses a particular string of words to determine whether it is intent of action or a query for research purposes. While patients may type, “best gastroenterologists in NYC” in a search engine, they are more likely to say, “Hey Siri, I need an appointment at the best gastroenterologist in Midtown, NYC”. Thus, refining their search but changing some of your keywords.
5. Implement Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been slow in gathering steam. However, it is steadily rising in the spectrum of digital marketing where healthcare is concerned. AI begins where humans stop performing. One of the most widely implemented forms of AI right now in online medical practices is chatbots.
Patients find it easier to connect with a new practice online before making the decision to visit for an appointment. Chatbots are increasingly being used by medical practices to help patients find solutions to their problems regardless of the device they are on. These perfectly simulated human interactions can help book appointments, take care of minor queries and even help ease a patient’s anxious mind till you become available.
You could have ignored AI till now and quietly dismissed it as a concept that existed only in Hollywood. However, it is time that you take this goldmine of opportunity seriously now. A number of adaptations of Artificial Intelligence are available in the current chatbots designed specifically for healthcare practices.
Get Your Practice to Survive and Thrive
New media, opportunities and platforms are being embraced to create a digital transformation that is more responsive, analytical and authentic. The primary goal still remains constant for all healthcare businesses, to choose the best options for their patients as they transition through the various landscape changes.
About the Author:
Naren Arulrajah is President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education and the online reputations of doctors. With a team of 180+ full time marketers, www.ekwa.com helps doctors who know where they want to go, get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call 855-598-3320 to speak one-on-one with Naren.