Where to Focus Your Healthcare Digital Marketing Strategies in 2021

It’s 2021, and you’re a healthcare company looking for success in the new, digital world. Your competition is fierce, your budgets are tight, and you need to be able to differentiate yourself from others who are also fighting for market share. What do you do?

The healthcare industry is an ever-evolving market that shifts with consumer trends, new technologies, and world events. Healthcare marketers must stay up-to-date on the latest marketing strategies, like content marketing, SEO/SEM, social media management, and video production. At the same time, one of the most important aspects of any successful digital marketing strategy is knowing where to find the best ROI. In this blog post, we’ll talk about where we see healthcare marketing heading through the end of 2021, and what steps you should take now to stay ahead of the curve while securing results for your efforts.

Search Engine Marketing

Consumers are no longer satisfied with their doctor’s office as a sole resource for all of their medical needs. Nowadays, patients turn to search engines and digital content for everything from everyday questions to finding new healthcare providers and, for better or worse, self-diagnosing. One in twenty Google searches is seeking health-related information. For healthcare marketers, SEM presents a prime opportunity for patient acquisition and has earned a spot on our recommendations of where to focus in 2021.

Area of Opportunity: Zero-Click Search

In 2019, Google received roughly 70,000 health-related searches every minute. That’s about 1 billion searches per day. Needless to say, that number is much higher in 2021, but here’s another figure healthcare marketers might want to focus on — about 50 percent of all Google searches end in without a click.

These zero-click searches are considered a win for search engines. They mean the SERP provided users with answers while keeping them within the application and building trust to spur continued use and loyalty.

For healthcare marketers looking to get more from search engine marketing in 2021 and beyond, it’s time to play by Google’s rules. Start by ensuring your content is optimized for Google’s featured snippets. These top-of-the-page results are not only prime real estate for those savvy enough to land there but are also an indispensable part of strong mobile and voice search SEO strategies. In fact, at least 7 out of 10 voice searches serve up a featured snippet via assistants like Siri and Alexa instead of the first organic result.

Content Marketing

A few years back, marketers were stating their case for investing in content in front of boards and physicians. Today, most healthcare organizations understand the importance of digital content and have restructured their online presence to go beyond highlighting procedures and providers. Now, it’s time to take that content a step further with high-value visuals.

Area of Opportunity: Video Content

Video content has been on the rise for over a decade now, and with the increased use of social media platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat Live to name just a few, it is no surprise that video content marketing is becoming more prominent with healthcare organizations. When it comes to this type of marketing, there are many different ways you can approach it depending on your organization’s needs. For instance, if you’re looking to increase awareness about your services or products, then videos could be used as an educational tool. However, if you’re trying to generate leads then live events might be right up your alley.

In 2021, video content marketing will be a crucial component for healthcare organizations. With the rise of mobile and social media usage, it is important to know how to market your services on them effectively.

Key things to keep in mind when it comes to your organization’s video marketing strategies:

  • Create a video content calendar that includes multiple types of videos. These can range from testimonials and success stories to procedure walkthroughs and educational content, like healthy living tips, defining medical terms, etc.
  • Set a budget for video production that takes into consideration the types of video you want to create. Animated explainer videos require more time and skill to put together, but can lead to high engagement, while testimonial-style content may be quicker and more cost-effective to produce.
  • Match your video content to the appropriate platform, researching your audience and the kinds of messaging that are appropriate for each channel. Longer, educational content may perform better on YouTube, where audiences may already expect to spend five or ten minutes per video, while short, under one-minute videos are better suited for social platforms.

Mobile Advertising

In 2021, the healthcare industry is expected to spend $7.2 billion on mobile digital marketing. This estimate is a significant increase from the projected spending in 2018 of $4.9 billion and reflects an increasing need for organizations to invest in mobile marketing strategies due to the increased adoption of smartphones by consumers and physicians alike.

Area of Opportunity: Mobile Optimization

Experts predict 50% of digital media time will be spent on mobile devices in 2021 and this number continues to grow. With consumers’ ubiquitous use of smartphones and tablets, marketers must consider how their content can reach the best audiences on these channels.

If your healthcare organization hasn’t prioritized mobile-optimized content, consider 2021 your deadline. Hospitals, clinics, and providers whose websites or landing pages take longer than a split second to load are testing the patience of potential patients, and the number of consumers willing to wait for a slow-loading page is dwindling by the day.

Additionally, consumers’ reliance on “Near me” searches extends beyond finding a lunch spot within walking distance. From emergency treatment to family medicine, potential patients turn to their phones when searching for care. Because of this, local SEO efforts and ensuring your Google My Business listing is complete often make it to the top of our recommendations of healthcare brands.

Honorable Mention: Collecting and Strategically Implementing Data

As the world of healthcare changes every day with advancements in treatments and technology coming at breakneck speed, one thing remains constant: data.

Data is now more valuable than ever before as it can help guide decisions that will impact patients’ lives. It’s time for organizations not only to collect data but also understand how they can use it strategically through integrated strategies that take into account how all aspects of an organization work together (e.g., marketing strategy or clinical trials).

While the need for data integration is at an all-time high, many organizations are still using outdated systems that can’t provide them with the insights they need to make informed decisions. If that sounds like you, don’t let 2021 end without considering your options.

Healthcare marketers are responsible for everything from generating leads and managing customer relationships to keeping their organizations compliant with regulatory standards such as HIPAA. With these varied yet essential responsibilities, ensuring your digital marketing mix is optimized for ROI is crucial. We hope this article was useful in narrowing down areas of opportunity coinciding with shifting trends in 2021 and beyond. Questions? Feel free to shoot our healthcare marketing team a line.