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What’s Next for The Patient Journey?

by Sara Foster | Oct 22, 2019

This sponsored article was written by Christina Millet, National Brand Manager – Strategic Healthcare Accounts, at ReachLocal. She has worked in marketing for more than 13 years with a concentration on digital marketing for the past nine years. Her professional career has been focused on national, multi-location brands in healthcare, education, and the wellness industries. ReachLocalGreyMatters-Nov2019BlogImage-1000x563

Healthcare marketers can all agree the patient journey concept dominated a lot of conversation in 2018 and 2019. There’s no denying this theme was effective in forcing healthcare marketers to think differently about how patients interact with them online.

But – once marketers know the patient journey has changed, what’s next?

The whole idea of the non-linear path of the patient is crucial, because it forces marketers to stretch beyond their tendency to think of things in a funnel or some sort of typical timeline. What we’ve learned about patient behavior is there is an immense amount of starting and stopping throughout the research process. Tactically speaking, this means marketers need to plan for the reality of how patients engage with them online. Healthcare marketers must find a way to compete with the noise of what’s going on, everywhere on the web.

Studies have shown that 95% of a message is retained in the video compared to text. And we also know that video is excellent for SEO: businesses are 53% more likely to rank high on Google if they have video content on a landing page. Video can increase your chances of getting found by people who are looking for you – but it’s also crucial to capture and keep attention.

In a recent survey, we found that 25% of respondents use Facebook to make healthcare decisions. Sometimes, we are quick to push our messaging on people when we’re in their environment. Healthcare providers should always approach their social strategy about how they’re adding value to the lives of their patients (or future patients). Maybe you share a blog about the importance of the flu shot, or a FAQ video on what a consultation involves. Think about the types of stories which encourage proactive healthcare.

Another thing to consider is the ongoing tension between attribution and building a brand with a strong story. When marketers are evaluating their investments, it’s easy to look at last-click attribution and feel inclined to pull back on areas not showing a direct result. In search marketing, attribution is crystal-clear: you can see the value of the investment so obviously. But, in others, not as much. And here’s where storytelling comes in: a huge challenge that providers face is standing out and reinventing themselves with impactful stories.

Connect with your audience in ways that are aligned with your core message as well as the medium you’re reaching them in. The patient mindset can often be, “I’m spending my money with you – how can you guarantee that I will have a good experience?” They are looking for transparency into what they’re getting in return for choosing you.

It may feel like these “brand experiences” are reserved for the big healthcare players of the world because the attribution line isn’t as direct - but that’s not true! You can build strong content that represents you and places it in all the right channels with a smart and optimization-driven budget that will get you visibility AND results.

About ReachLocal:

As part of the USA TODAY NETWORK, ReachLocal now offers even more complete marketing solutions. We have experience assisting thousands of healthcare and wellness providers with more than a decade’s worth of data insights and digital marketing expertise. USA TODAY NETWORK can help you cut through the noise and uncover the smarter way to reach local consumers and grow your business.

  • reachlocal
  • HealthCare Digital Marketing
  • patient journey

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