We haven’t heard the last of healthcare consumerism yet. Recently, Forbes predicted that “2020 will be a year of ‘Retailization’ for the healthcare industry, promoting the ‘Comparison Shopping’ consumer mindset.” What does this mean for hospitals, medical practices and urgent care centers? More competition from a growing number of less traditional players — including consumer-savvy retailers like Walmart and Best Buy and online behemoth Amazon.
Is your patient acquisition strategy up to the challenge?
Healthcare marketing tactics to grow your market share
In looking at patient acquisition trends for the coming year, it’s interesting to note that the first prediction — content marketing — has been a priority for some years. In 2018, Marketing Profs noted that 97 percent of healthcare organizations were either already engaged in content marketing or planning to start. The problem? Only 36 percent say their efforts pay measurable benefits, an unsurprising statistic given that only 33 percent have a documented content marketing strategy. So, why is content marketing still on so many trend lists? And what other tactics can boost patient acquisition and patient engagement in 2020?
5 Patient Acquisition Strategies & Trends
- Embrace Video Content Marketing
Content is king, or so the saying goes — but only if you’re delivering the type of content patients want or need on the platforms they use. In 2020, it’s personal.
The Content Marketing Institute predicts video content is the way forward because it helps “make the audience feel as close to the story as possible.” In fact, according to Pew Research, 73 percent of U.S. adults use YouTube — beating Facebook by 4 percent.
Video content marketing will be especially useful for patient acquisition among younger adults; 91 percent of those ages 18-29 are regular YouTube users. It’s a clear patient acquisition opportunity for urgent care centers, in particular, to connect with the 45 percent of this demographic that report having no primary care provider. What’s more, research shows that after watching a video on a healthcare topic, 39 percent of potential patients will call and make an appointment.
- Take a Multichannel Approach
Attracting patients to build market share for your medical practice or urgent care facility requires a personal touch — the right message, at the right moment and on the right channel. The same goes for generating loyalty and driving patient engagement over time. It starts with understanding what motivates patients.
That’s where a patient engagement platform like PatientBond can help. It uses a simple questionnaire to segment patients into one of five psychographic segments based on their beliefs, values and lifestyles: Self Achievers, Balance Seekers, Priority Jugglers, Direction Takers and Willful Endurers. Then, Patientbond enables automated communications, like email, interactive voice response phone calls and text messages, that are aligned to an individual’s attitude to improve engagement.
Psychographic segmentation can also inform more traditional elements of healthcare marketing, such as direct mail. For example, by delivering more relevant communications on the channels that patients preferred, PatientBond has been found to reduce marketing spend by 69 percent, while doubling response rates to direct mail.
- Build Responsive Websites
We already know that today’s healthcare consumers go to Google first. What you might not know — unless you’re an SEO expert — is that since 2018, Google’s search algorithms have shown search results based on a website’s mobile page, not the desktop version.
As a result, healthcare providers that don’t have a responsive, mobile-optimized website will miss out on more than 50 percent of the online traffic that arrives via a smartphone or tablet. How will you build market share if your website isn’t meeting the needs of half of your audience?
- Market Wellness Education
Healthy living is a hot topic. You need only look at the rise of fitness trackers — and the recent acquisition of Fitbit by Google — to understand that today’s consumers are investing in tools to support health-conscious lifestyles.
Delivering useful wellness tips on your website and social media channels can fuel patient acquisition and drive patient engagement over the longer term, while also contributing to improved health outcomes.
- Cultivate Online Reviews
One staple of any online shopping experience is the ability to read reviews by other buyers of a particular product or service — and healthcare is no exception. Healthgrades notes that when patients are looking for a new doctor, 77 percent of patients use online reviews as the first step. If your healthcare organization doesn’t reach out to current patients to provide recommendations, patient acquisition is certain to suffer.
Don’t let fear of a poor review, keep you from making the leap. Modern Healthcare notes, “Hospitals, doctors, ambulatory surgery centers and hospital outpatient departments that use ratings productively will have a competitive edge. They can learn from reviews how patients perceive their services, what's really important to consumers, and how to improve.”
Ultimately, understanding healthcare consumers better will improve your organization’s patient acquisition rates in 2020 and beyond.
For more patient acquisition insights, download our case study.