Where to Focus Your Healthcare Digital Marketing Strategies in 2020

Digital healthcare marketing requires a multidirectional focus to maximize reach and effect on your KPIs

A fast-changing industry powered by emerging technology, unique treatments, and increased advances, modern medicine has redefined healthcare as a whole. And as healthcare shifts and changes, so must the strategies employed to market products, services, and organizations to current and potential consumers of care. 

Moving into 2020 and beyond, marketers are positioning digital strategies to make up an even more substantial portion of providers’ marketing media mix to reach and connect with today’s hyper-connected patients. Here’s a look at our predictions of where to focus your healthcare digital marketing strategies in the new decade based on our agency’s experience and results within the channel.

Telehealth as an All-In-One Health Solution

In recent years, we have seen telemedicine effectively transform the face of healthcare. On-demand doctors offer patients nearly instant answers to their questions, quick diagnoses to common conditions, and the convenience to have prescriptions called in from the comfort of their homes. In 2020 and beyond, telehealth is poised to shift the care landscape once again.

While telemedicine provides patients with access to remote clinical services, telehealth covers a broader range of offerings. These services may not be immediate healthcare needs. Telemedicine can include the need to diagnose a condition without an office visit. Other uses of telemedicine can include mental health care, nutrition and fitness, and overall health and wellness improvements.

Because of their comprehensive range of services, telehealth apps make your patients’ overall wellbeing a priority. Placing telehealth services at the forefront of your organization’s digital marketing efforts demonstrates a commitment to current and potential patients beyond times of need. However, as providers and practices of all sizes work to implement telehealth options, considerations must be made to ensure basic functionality and also deliver actual value to the patient population.

Content Is (Still) King

Healthcare content marketing is a proven and essential component of any effective digital marketing strategy. A key piece of content marketing, blogs act as a platform for nurturing relationships between patients and providers. This kind of content allows you to demonstrate your practice’s expertise while humanizing it at the same time. Blogs can provide the answers patients are searching for and reinforce to patients that they can place their trust in your organization.

As we enter a new decade, content still reigns, but the rules have evolved to a degree. In 2020, we can expect in-depth, comprehensive content to outrank even the most well-established brands. Long-form blog posts generate nine times more leads than short-form blog posts, with the average length for the number one search result in Google being 1,890 words.

However, some specific guidelines and stipulations differentiate healthcare content marketing from the pack. For healthcare marketers, two acronyms critical to content marketing success are Your Money or Your Life (YMYL), and Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT).

First up, YMYL content, as defined by Google, has the potential to affect a user’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability. Healthcare content often falls into this category. If your content is deemed YMYL by Google’s quality evaluators, the standards for quality on those pages will, understandably, be more stringent than usual.

EAT refers to the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of the content’s author. All of the EAT factors contribute to the quality rating of your YMYL content. Established through accreditations, certificates, and education, as well as publishing fresh, quality content expertise is your first goal. Authoritativeness ratings call for influence and widespread recognition, not just from those looking for information, but also from other leaders in your industry. Finally, trustworthy content must prove to be consistently accurate and true, with sources cited as necessary.

Voice-Activated Search

From “find the nearest open urgent care,” to “what are symptoms of the flu,” voice assistants offer users information at the speed of sound. Reports show 58% of consumers have used voice search to find a local business within the last year, and 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily. These numbers demonstrate AI assistants such as Alexa and Siri have the potential to do more than answer users’ quick questions—they may one-day guide patients through their healthcare journeys.

From learning more about a specific health condition to scheduling an appointment at a local clinic, patients are befriending voice assistance as their trusted companion for everything health-related. Google’s new and evolving algorithm is picking up conversational language quickly, and optimizing your online presence for voice search will heighten your chances of claiming that “direct answer” echoed by voice assistants during their search process.

Mastering this digital tool requires providers to focus on high-performing keywords, compelling content, and strategic execution.

Online Support Communities

The advent of the online support groups and forums provides both an opportunity and a pitfall for healthcare marketing strategies

The internet is not only a resource for answers to medical questions. It can be a place for patients and caregivers to find support and connect with others facing similar diagnoses or healthcare concerns. From Facebook groups to Reddit, online communities give patients a global reach when it comes to building their support network. 91% of people said online communities play a role in their medical decisions, while 52% of caregivers participated in online social activity related to health in the past year.

For healthcare organizations, understanding the role these online communities play in their patients’ lives is critical. An opportunity for these organizations would be to create an online medical community where patients and caregivers can interact with healthcare professionals, as well as with others in similar situations. The objective here would not be to provide medical advice but rather to establish your team as a trusted, supportive partner along every step of your patients’ journeys.