In the digital age, the ways that healthcare providers communicate with — and market their services to — current and prospective patients is evolving more rapidly than it ever has at any time before. And especially in such a quickly evolving landscape, to stay ahead of the competition, it’s critical for healthcare marketers to stay on top of the latest trends and leverage the ones that make the most sense for them and their specific goals.
In addition, healthcare marketers face unique and often-significant challenges that marketers in other industries simply don’t have to concern themselves with. Some of those include tightening HIPAA regulations, portions of the population with a growing distrust for and disengagement with the current U.S. healthcare system, and a sharp rise in medical misinformation. And many of these combine to make the healthcare marketer’s mission harder … and more important.
8 healthcare-marketing trends set to surge in 2024
Is your healthcare organization or practice looking to stay on top of the latest trends in healthcare marketing? With a constant finger on the pulse of the industry, the healthcare-marketing experts at Brandon have identified these eight trends as ones to watch out for — and potentially leverage to your advantage — in 2024 and beyond:
1. The informed patient
Today’s healthcare patients have easy access to the data and tools needed to actively seek out knowledge about their health, their treatment options and their providers, often leveraging the wealth of information available on the internet. Not merely a passive care recipient, the informed patient is an empowered decision-maker who demands transparency, quality and patient-centric services. Consequently, healthcare providers and organizations must adapt their marketing strategies to cater to this informed audience, emphasizing clear and accurate communication, patient education and engagement. By fostering a culture of information-sharing and collaboration with informed patients, providers can not only enhance the patient experience but also drive positive healthcare outcomes, ultimately benefiting patients and providers.
2. Local SEO
In an era when patients are increasingly turning to search engines for help finding local healthcare providers, optimizing your healthcare organization’s or practice’s online presence for local search is critical. By implementing local SEO (search engine optimization) strategies, providers can greatly increase their chances of appearing prominently in local search results. That enables them to connect with the right patients at the right time and place, and it drives organic traffic from patients seeking healthcare services in their vicinity. Further, local SEO can help healthcare practices in competitive markets gain an edge by more effectively targeting their specific service areas.
3. Video, video, video
According to a survey, 96% of marketers say that videos can help consumers better understand their products and/or services. And for healthcare marketers, who are frequently tasked with explaining difficult-to-comprehend medical concepts to healthcare consumers, video offers an engaging and easily digestible medium for conveying sometimes complex medical information and building patient trust. In addition, video content is highly shareable and can quickly reach a wider audience, making it an effective way to expand a healthcare practice’s online reach and foster community engagement. Just a few examples of the ways video can be leveraged to showcase a practice’s expertise and commitment to patient care include educational videos, patient testimonials, virtual tours of facilities and healthcare provider introductions. Moreover, from a patient-provider relationship perspective, videoconferencing can enable healthcare providers to connect on a more personal level with their patients, which is particularly important in an industry built on trust and empathy. For all of these reasons and more, video offers healthcare providers a powerful way to stand out, connect with patients and establish authority in the field — ultimately driving patient acquisition and retention.
4. Pmax for healthcare
Rolled out in late 2021 by search engine giant Google, Performance Max (Pmax) ad campaigns are designed to complement and amplify online advertisers’ keyword-focused search campaigns. Pmax campaigns enable media buyers to purchase Google Ads across all of Google’s advertising channels — including YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps — within a single, all-in-one campaign, simplifying campaign-management duties. Then, based on the advertiser’s specified conversion goals, the campaign type leverages Google AI tool Smart Bidding to automatically adjust the user’s budget and bidding in real time to optimize ad performance, with the ultimate goals of reaching new and relevant audience segments and increasing conversions and/or conversion value. For marketers in the healthcare industry, where the competition for patients with specific health and wellness needs can be especially fierce, Pmax campaigns can offer big benefits to providers looking to connect with the right patients just when they’re looking for the specific services the provider offers. Then the campaign helps provide the consumer data needed to drive the delivery of more targeted ads, content and landing pages.
5. Reputation management takes center stage
In an industry where consumer trust and credibility are vital, a healthcare provider’s reputation can make or break its success. And with the modern patient’s increased reliance on online reviews and ratings to make informed decisions in their provider choices, active monitoring and management of these online reviews and ratings is essential to ensuring a positive online presence. A strong online reputation can help providers attract new patients and build trust among existing ones, while negative reviews and unaddressed concerns can quickly deter potential patients and damage the credibility of a healthcare practice. By providing exceptional care, proactively addressing patients’ feedback and maintaining a strong online presence, healthcare providers can bolster their reputation and create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
6. Leveraging OTT
For healthcare marketers, OTT (Over-The-Top) advertising can offer a range of compelling advantages, including a high level of audience targeting to help ensure a healthcare brand’s messaging is reaching the right audiences. That is a crucial consideration in an industry where reaching the appropriate patient segments with personalized messaging at the right times is key. OTT advertising also provides a versatile platform for delivering engaging video content, the power of which is outlined above, and allows for real-time analytics and performance tracking. That enables healthcare marketers to precisely measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, then refine their strategies and optimize their advertising spend moving forward. And often providing an especially valuable tactic for smaller practices looking to compete with larger healthcare institutions, OTT advertising can offer a cost-effective messaging medium that allows healthcare providers to maximize their marketing budget by paying only for the impressions delivered.
7. Frictionless appointments (online appointments)
Offering frictionless healthcare appointments facilitated via online booking systems (or even executed via provider-patient videoconferencing) has become a near-necessity for digital-age healthcare providers. In an era marked by the growth of consumer-centric healthcare, providing patients with the ability to schedule and/or attend their healthcare appointments online delivers convenience and reduces hassles for them … and many patients have even grown to expect it. Online appointment booking and telehealth can also streamline the patient journey, reducing wait times and administrative hurdles — ultimately improving not only patient satisfaction, but also appointment adherence and care outcomes.
8. AI-assisted personalization
AI-assisted personalization can enable healthcare providers to deliver highly tailored and relevant content and experiences to individual patients with speed and ease, significantly enhancing patient engagement and satisfaction while adding efficiency and effectiveness to providers’ communication and marketing efforts. By analyzing patient data and behavior, artificial intelligence can help healthcare providers segment patient audiences and provide them with personalized and relevant health content, appointment reminders and follow-up care instructions. Further, AI can help healthcare marketers optimize their strategies by identifying the most effective channels, messages and timing for engaging with patients.
Brandon: Your at-the-ready healthcare marketing experts
With a deep, diverse skill set and years of experience in the healthcare-marketing arena, Brandon is an ideal fit for assisting with (or even completely covering) the marketing needs of your healthcare system, service line, specialty practice or medical device company. From finding prospective patients and driving more qualified leads to increasing revenues, keeping patients engaged, improving patient loyalty and more, our team of data-driven marketing experts is ready and able to help you foster sustained success in the healthcare marketplace.
Further, as a fully integrated marketing firm, we can cover the full spectrum of your healthcare brand’s marketing needs. From SEO and social media to email marketing, digital marketing, media, creative, analytics, public relations, brand strategy, web design and much more, we can cover all your marketing needs in one place. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all your marketing campaigns, contact us today.