Now that we are about halfway into 2018, we can see 10 distinct trends emerging in the world of online medical marketing. These won’t be just flash-in-the-pan fads so it’s worth putting time, energy, and (everyone’s favorite) dollars towards the 10 themes below.
1. The Patient Journey
Smart medical practices are tailoring their marketing message, keyword targeting, and marketing channels to speak to patients all along their journey. New data out from RealSelf and Real Patient Ratings, or Visium 360, tell us that patients actually amplify their research after they book their consult so it’s important to speak to the patient during each stage of their journey.
Recommended Reading: Patients Take Purchase Decision “Journeys” from Rob Lovitt (RealSelf)
2. Marketing to Machines
From the beginning, we’ve optimized for machines (read: Google). But it’s no longer as simple as just altering copy to include keywords and spamming the internet with links back to your site. With Google’s use of Schema, and RankBrain evaluating natural language, our marketing efforts need to match the technical sophistication of Google’s machine learning.
Recommended Reading: What Is Schema Markup and Why Is It Critical to Local Business? from Martha van Berkel (BrightLocal)
3. Content Marketing
There are a number of ways to approach content marketing but you should focus on identifying the ones that are the best fit for you and your brand. Do you have a way with words? Do some blogging. Is someone in your office a video/photo editing wiz? Put more effort into filming videos and cultivating before-and-after photos.
Recommended Reading: How to Develop a Content Strategy: A Start-to-Finish Guide from Justin McGill (HubSpot)
4. Upcycling Content
It can take a lot of time and effort to create a piece of content so why limit yourself to using it within just one marketing channel? If you’ve highlighted a great before-and-after case in a blog post, don’t stop there. Include that blog post in your next email distribution and upcoming social media posts.
Recommended Viewing: How to Upcycle Your Content for Maximum Mileage (video) from Salma Jafri (Inbound)
5. Staff Superstars
People crave authenticity and there is no better way to create that than by putting the real faces and voices of your practice out there. Feature your team’s expertise, experience and positions in social videos and blog posts to create engaging content.
Recommended Reading: 8 Examples of Great DIY Social Videos in Elective Medicine from Ryan Miller (Etna Interactive)
6. Pay to Play
The changes at Google that emphasize the importance of authentic content also are pushing practices to master paid advertising programs like Pay-Per-Click (PPC), social ads, RealSelf spotlight ads and new local and video ads. To embrace this trend, practice leaders need to get good at targeting your audience, identifying the right platform, and ensuring that you have the appropriate measure so that you don’t lose at the game of pay to play.
Recommended Viewing: Stacking the Odds in Your Favor: Mathematics of Paid Media from Sean Collier (Etna Interactive)
7. Voice Search
When users search with voice, using Siri, Alexa or Google Home, they search differently using longer, more complex queries. This can affect things like how you approach keyword research and the overall structure of your content. Voice search isn’t a trend that will be going away any time soon. By some estimations, we’re only a few years away from the majority of queries being driven from voice search.
Recommended Viewing: Does Voice Search and/or Conversational Search Change SEO Tactics or Strategy? (video) from Rand Fishkin (Moz)
8. Reputation Marketing
No matter if you love ’em or hate ’em, online ratings and reviews are here to stay. Practices should be shifting from resisting these reviews to embracing them and using them to their advantage. It’s no longer about reputation management, today we need to be thinking about reputation marketing.
Recommended Reading: Learn Rules, Risks to Manage Online Critics from Ryan Miller (Ophthalmology Management)
9. DTC Email & Text
Email marketing took a back seat in the rise of social media but it’s making a comeback and SMS marketing is finally finding its way into elective healthcare. Both direct-to-consumer channels reach patients right where it matters – on their phones.
Recommended Reading: What Mobile Marketers Can Learn From The Papa John’s Lawsuit from Steve Olenski (Forbes)
10. Lead Nurturing
Smart practices are engaging in clearer and more regimented follow up knowing that not everyone you reach online is ready for their consultation today. They are using things like email drip campaigns to keep these prospective patients engaged.
Recommended Reading: How to Successfully Follow Up with Prospective Client from Aaron Price (OPEN Forum by American Express)
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