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Digital Trends in Healthcare Marketing That Will Shape 2021 Strategies

Technology is changing the healthcare industry in more ways than one. Healthcare marketing has experienced tremendous changes over the past couple of years. These are expected to continue into 2021 and beyond. Healthcare marketers now have to analyze digital trends so that they can reach more people and turn them into returning patients. These digital trends have resulted in the healthcare industry being more competitive so hospitals, private practices, and other healthcare facilities have to try and stay ahead of the trends. As patients become more technologically savvy, healthcare providers must ensure they have the best technology to keep up with patients’ demands. Here are the top 10 digital trends to look out for that will shape 2021.

1.​Patients require a good digital experience

Did you know that a potential patient’s online experience greatly determines if they will be converted into actual patients? Whether it is in the office or online, healthcare providers must ensure that patients have a good experience. However, their online experience has a greater impact on the decisions they make going forward. About 77% of patients do research online before making an appointment. Ensuring that your potential patients have an amazing experience online will result in your organization having a high return of investments.

Digital marketing helps healthcare providers get more leads and turn them into patients. A patient’s digital experience starts the moment they visit the website of your organization. Research has shown that before making an appointment at any hospital, 83% of patients first visit their website. A good SEO strategy will help your patients have a great experience online. Your website must be easily navigated by patients because a website that poses difficulties will deter potential patients from booking with your facility. Your website must overall be patient-friendly and interactive.

2.​Location-based SEO

Did you know that every year topics about health are searched by approximately 93 million people in America ? Recently, SEO has undergone some changes that are beneficial to healthcare marketers. Technology is constantly changing and so is human behavior. SEO has adapted to these changes. SEO now focuses on geography without searchers having to insert a specific location. For example, if the patient is searching for a hospital that is in-network with their PCP, their search results will automatically show hospitals that are closest to them. This improvement has been beneficial for healthcare marketers.

The algorithm that Google uses displays search results based on several factors. The new SEO changes use proximity as one factor. Other factors include how relevant the result is to the terms searched and reviews. Focusing on these will help healthcare marketers get more patients.

3.​Reputation management and online reviews

Ensuring that your organization has a good reputation is the key to getting new patients. Studies show that patients are increasingly using the Internet to search for reputable healthcare providers. If your marketing strategy does not include reputation management, there is a strong possibility that you are missing out on potential patients.

Online reviews have become crucial to all industries and the healthcare industry is no different. Online reviews are trusted almost as much as personal references. So, online reviews from patients is more important now than ever before and will become even more important in 2021. A good idea is to encourage your patients to leave online reviews so that potential patients will see these and start to develop trust in your organization.
When searching for a new healthcare provider most patients look for online reviews. Unfortunately, studies in 2019 have shown that out of all healthcare marketers, only 8% saw how important online reviews are to marketing. This can however be used in your favor as now is the perfect time to take advantage of this trend.

4.​Patients are now self-referring

Patients have been utilizing Google and other search engines to self-refer. Patients have been using various websites to easily find reputable local doctors. By 2021 the need for third-party referrals will basically be unnecessary. Over 33% of patients do not show up to the specialists their doctors recommend. Patients now have confidence in websites that are healthcare-specific. These websites help that to find great doctors, hospitals and other healthcare facilities on their own.

WebMD is the leading website that provides content on healthcare. Over the past several months, WebMD has been focusing on expanding their directories to add more providers. This healthcare website has been making many changes and additions to improve the digital experience of patients. WebMD is helping healthcare providers target patients who self-refer. Doctors can now create profiles with this website that are enhanced and focused on reaching all potential patients.

5.​Voice search is the future

Voice search has had a huge impact on healthcare marketing. Research shows that in the United States, over 43 million people own a smart device that facilitates voice search. Also, about one billion search each month is done by voice. The practice of voice search is rapidly growing so healthcare marketers must capitalize on this.

A good way to make use of this trend is to make some adjustments to your SEO strategy. Natural language should be included in your SEO. This will ensure that your website pops up when patients use voice search. You should ask yourself, how would a patient structure a particular question when doing a voice search? It’s good to note that voice searches are usually long in comparison to typed searches. Voice searches typically includes words like how, when, why and where so be sure to add these to your SEO.

6.​Consumers prefer video content

Video content is now the most preferred content type for consumers in all industries. Reports from Hubspot have indicated that each day 45% of people watch videos for over an hour. That is a large percentage!

Now is the perfect time for healthcare marketers to focus on and invest in video marketing. This is even more important as it relates to social media marketing strategies. Branded videos have convinced more than 81% of people to become consumers of a particular product or service. This growing trend of using videos as promotional tools is a trend that will continue to grow in 2021.

So, by investing more in video marketing, healthcare marketers can get a lot more patients. Interactive videos are more effective so you should consider doing live Q&As or videos that provide tips and tricks for healthcare. Patients will respond better to these.

7.​The use of social media influencers

Many organizations have adopted the new trend of using influencers to promote their products or services. Influencers are people with platforms that have a large following. In most cases, these are social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. A lot of influencers are celebrities that have hundreds of thousands or even millions of people who follow them. This following has potential consumers for companies, so they use this to their advantage.

Influencers can help healthcare marketers have a greater social media presence. A lot of potential patients are on the various social media platforms so this is an excellent place for providers to seek out new patients. What better way to do this than to use someone who already has an impact on social media users? Studies from 2019 show that the amount of companies that planned to invest more than one million dollars to use influencers as a marketing tool in 2021 is 7%. Influencer marketing is a trend that will continue to help healthcare providers in 2021.

8.​Landing pages are becoming more important

As before mentioned, healthcare providers need to have a patient-friendly website. However, landing pages are becoming even more important than the website themselves. Landing pages have been successful in converting leads to patients for many healthcare providers. When searching for something specific, patients do not want to have to scroll and click through several pages on your website to find what they are looking for. This is why landing pages are becoming so important.

Patients prefer to be directed to a page that discusses exactly what they are looking for when they do a search. Also, the more landing pages you have, the more leads you will turn to patients. Statistics show that companies that have more than 30 landing pages get 7 times the amount of leads than companies with less than 10. Landing pages that are well designed will convince leads to become patients of your organization.

9.​Healthcare Apps

Apps have become an integral part of daily life and business. Companies are increasingly adapting to this trend. As a result, more companies across all industries are creating apps that their consumers can use. Records show that the amount of people who have downloaded a mobile health app is over 60%. The development of healthcare apps is a growing trend that is positively impacting the healthcare industry.

Most millennials and Generation Z in modern societies expect to use apps for just about everything and healthcare is no different. Thankfully it has becoming easier to create apps. You can create an app for your company that will help patients book appointments, alert them of upcoming appointments, communicate with providers, and find general information they need. This will make a lot of things easier for your patients and they will love you for it.

10.​Increased social media ad rates

Social media ads are increasingly becoming the marketing tool of choice for many small businesses and large organizations. Social media apps like Instagram and Facebook have special ad features that allow businesses to promote their products and services on their platform. However, the rates for these ads have increased and will continue to increase as more businesses use these services. It is projected that almost $95 billion will be spent on Instagram and Facebook ads in 2021.

Ads on social media platforms are great ways to get more patients. Over 2 billion people use Facebook. This means that there are over 2 billion potential patients on the platform. As the rates are increasing it is a good idea for you to start making use of social media ads as soon as possible.

Healthcare marketers need to focus on and stay ahead of digital trends. This will ensure that you make use of all the things that will help your organization gain more patients. By understanding how that internet and technology are changing the healthcare industry, you will be able to create successful marketing strategies.