With 2017 coming to a close, we’re taking a look at how healthcare marketing strategies will be evolving in 2018 and beyond. Here’s what we think will be some of the key trends:
Research shows that more than 90% of people now read online reviews, which means that word of mouth is becoming even more important. The rise of digital sites such as RateMDs, Healthgrades, Google, and Yelp have given even more power to patients. Medical practices can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to patient reviews because if they are, the internet enables any bad experience to become widely known, very quickly. In 2018, reputation management will become a priority. Healthcare providers will need to pay more attention to their positive (and negative) reviews and ratings: proactively building, monitoring, managing, and amplifying their online reputations.
Wellness initiatives are also on the rise for the coming year. More people are seeking information that helps them improve both their physical and mental health through positive lifestyle changes. This means that every medical practitioner should be creating engaging, educational content about wellness – for their websites, their blogs, and their social media platforms. To help supplement their own content, they should be highlighting breaking news articles from respected medical publications, on topics relating to wellness and their specialty.
The ever-growing use of social media platforms by everyone means that influencer marketing will become even more significant in 2018 than it’s ever been before. Influencer marketing is all about “word of mouth” posts on social media, with the influencer being someone who has the attention (and loyalty) of your current and future patients. Based on statistics, more than 70 percent of patients are more likely to book an appointment based on a reference from a social network. This makes social media for doctors and medical professionals a key channel for patient engagement. More engaged patients mean more appointments and increased referrals, making social media – and influencer marketing – the ultimate business driver for healthcare practices.
Accessibility is more important than ever. You don’t want your patients to feel abandoned or think that they’re just a number. In 2018, healthcare providers will be taking a more patient-centric approach. This will impact every aspect of a patient’s experience, from in-office interaction to online experience – including their websites and patient portals. Most patient portals were launched to achieve meaningful use reimbursements from CMS, not to improve patient engagement. This will change significantly in the next year, with more medical practices upgrading their patient portals to ensure that two-way patient communication happens effectively and efficiently. By making health records more easily delivered and retrieved, and by enabling patients to interact with them at any time of the day or night, they’ll improve patient satisfaction, and increase referrals!
Hopefully, this blog has given you some new ideas for how to evolve your marketing strategy in 2018.
Medical professionals work with iHealthSpot because they know they need a full-service digital marketing partner that can support the unique needs of their healthcare practice. From award-winning medical website design and proprietary patient education content to online marketing including social media and reputation management, we enable medical practices to market themselves using proven online and offline marketing strategies.