Digital Marketing in Healthcare: Trends and Best Practices for Growing Your Company

10.17.2023 Sara Brasfield4 min

Healthcare companies are facing competition and growing pains from just about every angle. While increasing competition in many markets is pitting healthcare organizations against one another in the battle for patients, many of those companies are operating with staffing shortages among both providers and administrative staff.

As a result of these constraints, patient satisfaction rates have plummeted in recent years. Patient churn is currently estimated to be surpassing new patient growth across the healthcare industry.

These industry challenges put marketing professionals under intense pressure to generate new patients and revenue to keep the healthcare business afloat. It can feel a lot like trying to keep a boat afloat by bailing out water instead of plugging the leak.

Although some of these healthcare challenges are beyond the reach of marketers, there are clear steps marketing professionals can take to win the battle for more patients, improve the patient experience, and support the organization’s overall business model. Here’s a look at emerging healthcare marketing trends that could give your organization a leg up on the local competition.

Take a Patient-Centric Approach to Healthcare Content Marketing

If there’s a shortcoming in the way many healthcare marketing strategies have approached their messaging in recent years, some experts say it’s because that marketing content is often addressing other healthcare professionals and institutions—while ignoring the pain points and needs of customers.

Today’s consumers are more assertive in seeking out information and help from their providers, and they’re looking for healthcare organizations that make a complex system easier to navigate. This, combined with the increased competition across most healthcare specialties, is driving many healthcare marketing leaders to embrace patient-centered content creation.

This means creating content and building out marketing channels that make information easy to access and digestible to the average consumer seeking care. Informative videos, reassuring messaging, and clear referrals to online information and other resources are increasingly seen as essential components of a digital healthcare marketing strategy.

By being proactive in addressing the frustrations and challenges patients are suffering, you can lay the foundation for a better patient experience that begins with lead generation and carries throughout the patient lifecycle.

Refine Your Audience Targeting Strategies to Streamline New Patient Acquisition

In the face of economic challenges, healthcare systems in recent years have been eager to merge with other institutions both in and out of their market, achieving economies of scale and market share that stabilize their business model.

Unfortunately for patients, this often means that healthcare services must be sought out through massive institutions that can be difficult and overwhelming to navigate—especially when seeking out niche healthcare services.

The key to driving new patient acquisition among these niche offerings? Using digital targeting tools to identify and connect with a highly targeted audience. Healthcare digital marketing can take advantage of expansive audience targeting tools across social media, video, search and other digital platforms to target a select audience from a large body of consumers.

Demographic, behavioral and location-based data can all offer value in defining this audience to attract patients that may be struggling to know where to turn for help.

Use Marketing Tactics to Support Reputation Management for Your Organization

Online reviews of your healthcare company have an enormous impact on your ability to attract new patients. In fact, 94 percent of healthcare patients surveyed said they reference online reviews when seeking out a healthcare provider.

Businesses can’t directly influence these reviews, but a savvy healthcare marketing strategy can encourage better responses that boost your brand’s online reputation. SMS messages and follow-up emails, for example, can be used to solicit reviews from satisfied patients. Customer-centric marketing content can also be targeted to both prospective and existing patients to foster positive brand interactions and, ultimately, equally positive reviews.

If your business has particularly strong reviews on a specific reviews website, it may be worth amplifying this rating through your digital advertising, such as by quoting from these reviews as a form of patient testimonial.

Make Healthcare Access as Painless as Possible

An effective healthcare marketing plan should consider the full funnel leading to patient acquisition. But marketing ROI doesn’t end there. Cross-functional teams should analyze how digital marketing strategies are onboarding clients and align patient onboarding processes with the marketing engagement responsible for this conversion.

Patient-centered messaging that promises streamlined access to care, for example, needs to be backed by the experience it offers. Online appointment bookings, virtual healthcare services, same-day access and in-house patient advocacy services are all aspects of a modern patient experience that can be leveraged through your marketing for healthcare services.

When these services are available, healthcare marketing campaigns can refer directly to these destinations, enabling clear, easy calls-to-action that are optimized for a higher rate of engagement. Patient conversion rates increase, but a strong patient experience means your business will be well-positioned to improve upon its long-term patient retention, too.

Invest in a digital strategy that embraces the latest opportunities for marketing in healthcare. At Cox Media, our experts combine extensive industry expertise with emerging digital tools and strategies to keep our clients’ marketing campaigns on the cutting edge.

From patient acquisition and retention to attracting top healthcare professionals in a challenging market, we can help plan, launch and optimize healthcare marketing strategies to grow your business and your incoming revenue. Contact us today to learn more.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is a Marketing Manager on Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than nine years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite sports teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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