Marketing for healthcare businesses used to be relatively simple — or almost non-existent. That’s changed a lot over the last decade. Medical practices must promote themselves as actively and aggressively today as retailers and other more transactional businesses.
Healthcare marketing is evolving at a rapid pace, faster than almost any other industry. This article reveals the six top healthcare marketing trends you must be aware of — and actively pursue — in 2023.
1. Multi-location Marketing Must Communicate a Vision
More and more healthcare organizations are merging or opening new offices, making it common for medical practices to have multiple locations. This trend is changing how businesses in the healthcare industry must market themselves.
For instance, websites and other forms of marketing must be connected under a unified brand yet tell stories about each location, revealing its unique personality and reason for being. Fragmented websites and disjointed marketing tactics counter the impact of joint healthcare practices – they don’t present the vision behind the business and cut into profitability and limit growth.
If your healthcare practice has several places of business, the first thing you should do in 2023 is rethink your brand and overall marketing strategy. Ensure your brand explains the “why” behind your multi-location practice. Consider the following questions:
Is it to offer convenience to patients?
Do you provide different services in different places?
Can you serve the unique needs of a range of patients?
Make sure your reason for having several locations is represented clearly in your brand, marketing strategies, materials, and website. This will help patients understand the rationale behind your business so they can make the most of the medical opportunities it offers.
2. Marketing and Communications Must Center on the Patient
Healthcare organizations love to talk about themselves. Websites and brochures are full of information about what they do, how they do it, educational backgrounds, and training. While those things are important, they’re not really what patients care about.
Prospective patients want to know what’s in it for them.
Patients need to know that you understand what they’re experiencing. From there, you must convince them you’ve helped others like them and can help them, too. Only then will they care about how you can serve them and why your practice is better than others.
For example, a healthcare practice focused on migraine relief must:
Convince people with migraines that it understands the excruciating pain they experience.
Explain and show that it has helped others experiencing the same kind of pain eliminate it.
Express earnest interest in helping new patients with related problems, too.
Healthcare is a serious business. However, it takes excellent storytelling to engage with prospective patients. Only then can you explain to people why they should entrust their health to your organization.
3. Deliver an Optimal Online Experience
Healthcare companies have largely lagged in the digital revolution. For a long time, it was enough to present an overview of the practice on a web page, some bios, and contact info.
Today’s patients expect more. You must supply them with information to help them manage their conditions and improve their health. This info should be presented in the media they prefer, whether print, graphics, or video. They should also be able to chat with your staff online, book appointments, access records, input information, get answers to their questions, and more.
The user experience should be an intuitive one. Sick and older adults and those experiencing medical emergencies don’t have the patience or ability to navigate a complex or sluggish site.
One of the smartest things you can do in 2023 is to invest in a modern website developed by someone with a healthcare industry background. They’ll help ensure it delivers the online experience today’s healthcare consumers expect. Plus, a site that meets patient expectations will earn Google’s trust, making it more likely to be served up on the search engine.
4. Personalize Your Marketing
Patients won’t care about content or marketing about issues and conditions they don’t have. They also won’t engage in media types they’re uncomfortable using. If you offer multiple healthcare services, ensure your social media, search, email, and other campaigns are targeted to the specific needs of relevant demographic segments. Also, ensure your tailored messages are delivered in media types people in different segments are comfortable using.
Pediatric patient parents won’t be interested in content about arthritis.
Seniors won’t care about advanced athletic injury therapy.
People with limited vision won’t easily access detailed medical information on a tiny smartphone screen.
Everyone has unlimited choices about how they can access healthcare information today. If you don’t deliver precisely what they need in the way they want it, they’ll turn to a competitor that does. Here are some additional ways to take your personalization to the next level, so you become the go-to healthcare provider for patients to get the information they need.
Geo-personalization customizes landing pages so that all the information a user sees is about the location or locations closest to them. People looking for a new healthcare provider want them to be the best. They also prefer ones that are conveniently located. Geo-personalization presents the information about your practice most relevant to prospective patients and keeps them from having to waste their time seeking it out.
Flexible journeys make it easy for people to navigate your website to find the information they want. For instance, if they care about COVID treatment, links to related content should be provided adjacent to articles on the topic. All related content should be tagged so it’s searchable and easy to find. Also, make it convenient for patients to contact you, book appointments, and chat with you about the topics they want to discuss.
Unique experiences deliver information in ways that patients prefer. Many older people can’t or won’t read detailed information on a smartphone. However, they might listen to a podcast on the topic. Younger people probably won’t read an article about a weight-loss solution, but they will watch a video or explore an animation or infographic on the topic.
If you deliver customized information in ways people prefer, they’ll be more likely to become patients for life.
5. Become Value-Oriented
The economics of healthcare are changing. Gone are the days when people would agree to a procedure and have it billed to their insurance company. They often paid nothing for it or a small percentage of the cost.
That’s typically not the case anymore. Policy deductibles are high, and insurers are more likely to push back on paying for certain types of healthcare. And with inflation high and money tight, many people think twice about elective procedures.
A big part of healthcare marketing in 2023 will relate to price, something many providers aren’t used to communicating about. Ensure cost concerns are addressed throughout the marketing and healthcare consulting process. Focus on the value of a procedure so patients feel entirely comfortable with the benefits they’ll enjoy for the cost. Any time you don’t address money concerns, you risk losing a patient to a provider who does.
6. Make Recruitment a Bigger Part of Marketing
Today’s tight employment environment is impacting the healthcare industry significantly. It’s forcing medical practices to put more of their marketing dollars toward recruitment. This will continue into 2023. As you prepare your 2023 marketing budget, make sure you allocate extra money for recruiting new team members and other employment-related activities, including:
Developing employment-focused recruitment pages on your website.
Conducting optimization efforts to improve hiring efficiency.
Creating and executing recruitment-specific media campaigns.
Managing the reputation of your practice on platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed.
Sharing information about what it’s like to work at your practice on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Your organization is only as good as the people who work for it. Make sure your employment marketing will be able to attract the very best in 2023.
The Final Word: Healthcare Marketing in 2023
2023 promises to continue and accelerate many of the marketing trends we’ve seen over the last few years. The new year will also introduce new opportunities to attract and keep patients and talented employees. You owe it to yourself, your patients, your people, and the success of your practice to leverage the tips in this article to take your healthcare organization to the next level in the coming year and beyond.
Check it out: Get tips on how to develop medical content and experiences prospective patients will respond to.