We look back on the 1920s as a dynamic decade with some significant political and economic upheavals as well as some trend-setting fashions. A hundred years later, ‘trending’ now refers to the digital world and no business or healthcare practice can hope to survive without standing out from the competition here. With that in mind, here are 7 top digital marketing trends to look out for in 2020.
1. Interactive Content
Interactive content is a great way to grab your audience's attention and increase their engagement with your practice. It’s basically a way to move from a one-way online relationship to a more reciprocal one.
An interactive landing page guides the user through the page and makes them an active participant on the site. A floristry website might ask the user some questions about the person they’re buying flowers for and their price range then provide choices tailored to the user’s situation. According to HubSpot, such interactive experiences can increase your inbound leads by 47%.
How could you incorporate interactive content into your health website? You could try:
- An interactive landing page that asks the user whether they’re visiting your site to book an appointment or to learn about a topic then delivers the relevant page
- A quiz to engage your audience while also increasing their understanding of a health condition
- A health checklist that can be printed off and shared with a doctor as a discussion point
- An online risk assessment that helps promote a check-up for people in a certain age range
- An interactive app to help promote healthier lifestyles.
Check out this quiz we created for an Audiology company:
2. Voice Search
Many of your patients are used to talking to Siri, Alexa or Google. Is your website copy written with this in mind?
In 2017, a third of Google searches were done by voice, while commentators expect this to rise to 50% during 2020. Very few businesses are ready for this. Even fewer are businesses in the healthcare space.
Talking instead of typing changes search enquiries. When people type a search query they tend to use as few words as possible. When they use voice search they tend to use a more conversational way of asking a question. Instead of typing ‘Grommets and kids’ they’re more likely to ask ‘Does my child need grommets?’ That means you need to anticipate your patients’ questions and use these longer phrases as headings in your web pages or blog posts. Doing so increases the chances of your page being delivered to the user as the answer to their question.
So, it’s time to optimise your website for voice search by:
- Using more natural, conversational language
- Using question phrases that you’d speak aloud if you were ringing someone for advice
- Focusing on action queries like ‘How do I treat my child’s fever?’ or ‘How often should I get my eyes tested?’
- Giving clear, concise answers to those questions (increasing your chances of a coveted Google snippet spot)
- Thinking about your user’s intent and using long-tail keywords that reflect that intent
- Making sure your website is fast, secure and mobile friendly
- Ensuring your Google My Business profile is complete, accurate and up-to-date.
3. Digital Patient Experience
Your patients are digital creatures. They use their phones for practically everything from banking, checking emails, ordering groceries, getting an Uber or reviewing Junior’s day at childcare.
They expect to engage with your practice in the same way. Indeed, this is one way to show that yours is a modern practice that understands its clientele. There are a few ways to do this, including:
- Online bookings
- SMS reminders
- Digital patient registration forms (paper forms are off putting, time consuming and often introduce errors)
There are many health-related chatbots, those little computer programs that use prescribed algorithms to mimic a conversation. The right chatbot can provide information on a particular medical procedure to reduce anxiety and increase uptake, use psychology tools to improve a patient’s emotional health, provide curated resources on diet and exercise to cancer patients in remission, or remind patients to take medication at certain points each day.
Chatbots can help doctors too. Ever wondered if you can prescribe a certain drug to a breastfeeding mother? There’s a chatbot that can tell you. Chatbots can also help to streamline your practice’s processes and improve efficiency.
If you’re not ready to explore chatbots for health-related content, they are a great way to help guide customer service type questions - when are you open, pricing, location information.
4. Know-Like-Trust Factor
The know-like-trust factor is about the relationship you have with your ideal patient or client. In real life, relationships deepen from simply knowing who someone is, to liking them and then trusting them.
Know: Get to know your ideal patients and be visible online and in your community
Depending on your type of practice, you might consider your ideal patients in terms of their age, gender, location, values and beliefs, health issues or hobbies. Then you can start producing content that appeals to them. Your website should be optimised to rank highly on Google, you should be adding new content regularly and sharing it on social media.
Like: Be authentic, relevant and real
Forget every essay you ever wrote with its long-winded phrases and stiff, formal style. Now’s the time to let your own personality shine through by adopting an engaging tone of voice and perhaps sharing some personal stories. Write about things that are relevant to your intended audience – better yet, make a video. Lastly, upload photos of your staff and premises so patients can see the people they’d encounter in a real-life visit to your practice.
Trust: Be worthy of it
Doctors have a head-start here, already being the most trusted professionals in Australia. People will tend to trust the advice given by health professionals. That’s one reason for the tight regulations around how you market your services – and you absolutely must comply with these to merit trust (hiring a specialist health and medical marketing agency like Splice Marketing is a great way to stay compliant).
Other ways to build trust include practice-wide behaviours like providing a reliably good service, being pleasant to deal with, communicating clearly, and delivering on promises (e.g. to call with further advice or test results).
5. Google’s E-A-T Score
Google E-A-T score is how Google judges your website’s reliability when it’s deciding which sites to display in search results. It stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness.
The key ways to improve your E-A-T score are to ensure that:
- Every blog article ends with your name, bio, photo and postnominals (you worked hard for those qualifications so don’t shy away from using them)
- Your website has an ‘About’ page that tells the story of your practice (you’re always an expert on yourself)
- Your website is secure, starting with a ‘https’ URL and protecting any data gathered (e.g. personal details of patients booking appointments online or credit card data if you take online payments).
6. Reputation Management
Think about the last time you picked a new restaurant. You probably read some reviews from other diners to see what they thought of the food, the service and the overall vibe.
Reviews are tricky for healthcare professionals. You risk being found non-compliant if patients write glowing reports on your clinical skills or bedside manner. However, you can increase your Google ranking if satisfied patients:
- Give you a high star rating only; or
- Comment on non-medical factors such as easy parking, a comfy waiting room or friendly staff.
It’s OK to ask patients for feedback around their customer service experience or your facilities but make sure you explain why they can’t comment on the medical care.
Hear from our in-house lawyer, Jeanette from Onyx Legal, on how you can get reviews the compliant way.
7. Social Media
Love it or hate it, you can’t afford to ignore it as 69% of Australians are active users of social media. Many 16-64 year olds spend about 100 minutes a day on socials. This is where your patients are hanging out and you need to be there too.
Exactly where you should be depends on your clientele. If you’d like to increase your referrals from other practitioners, then developing a strong LinkedIn following may help. If you’d like to share blog posts or videos on health topics relevant to patients then Facebook is your friend. And Instagram is great for sharing videos, infographics or images relating to your practice.
Effective social media marketing increases your visibility, helps build relationships, and develops your authority as an expert on the topic at hand. It hopefully translates to more people visiting your website and booking an appointment at your practice.
We’re in the habit of reflecting on many aspects of life at the start of a new year. Take the time to reflect on your practice’s digital marketing strategy too. Which of these 7 top marketing trends could you adopt in 2020? What difference might it make to your practice?
If you’d like to know more, or like help with any aspect of compliant and effective health and medical digital marketing, then please contact me or the team of specialists at Splice Marketing. We’d love to help.