Healthcare Marketing: Google’s Guide to Patient Recruitment
The healthcare industry is vast, featuring a variety of B2B and B2C organizations for which the marketing goals are different. While B2B healthcare companies such as EHR providers ultimately aim to increase leads from hospitals and other healthcare facilities, B2C healthcare organizations instead aim for increased patient recruitment. According to a recent Google webinar, the latest marketing tactics for optimized and optimal patient recruitment were centered on one message: patients prefer mobile.
This finding shouldn’t come as a surprise to most marketers. It’s evident that people are turning to their phones more and more every day. We’re not just using our phones for texting, games and social anymore. Mobile formats and apps are available for just about anything, from banking and paying bills to ordering coffee, booking flights and even catching a ride. With all the mobile options to choose from, it’s no wonder the mobile market has seen a more than 400% growth in less than ten years1.
1. Responsive Web Design
The healthcare market has to learn to ride the mobile wave and adapt to the changing landscape in order to reach more potential patients. The first step is optimizing your practice’s website for mobile. If a mobile format is not adapted from the desktop version, the resulting user experience will be detrimental to garnering new patients – and holding on to existing ones. For those in the healthcare market that already have mobile-friendly sites, you’re on the right track.
Google’s data shows that there is a 29% increase in mobile conversion rate for the healthcare sector. Conversions refer to whatever action you want your potential consumers to take – whether it’s scheduling an appointment, checking in or clicking to call. Take a look at some examples of responsive design healthcare websites.
2. Website Optimization & UX
The rise in mobile conversions is a message to marketers that says mobile users are more motivated than ever in terms of finding their healthcare solution and acting on it. This is good news – but there is a catch. Mobile users have high expectations for functionality, user experience and loading speed. If your site lacks in any of these categories, you can expect a higher bounce rate and fewer conversions.There’s definitely a need for speed in this fast-paced mobile world – Google reports that despite people checking their phone 150 times a day, there is an 18% decrease in time spent per visit. This statistic teaches us an important lesson: increased screen time does not necessarily mean more exposure. Google introduced a new way of approaching your target audience and how to visualize their daily routine. Don’t think of time in the sense of days, hours or even minutes – consider them “micro-moments.” These micro-moments are presented as six different motivations:
- I-want-to-watch-what-I’m-into moments
- I-want-to-watch-what-I’m-into moments
- I-want-to-know moments
- I-want-to-go moments
- I-want-to-do moments
- I-want-to-buy moments
For healthcare organizations’ whose goals are to recruit more patients, the micro-moment is considered, “I-want-to-go [to the doctor]” category. Luckily for local practices, “near me” searches have doubled in the past year.
3. Digital Marketing: SEO & SEM
So, what tactics should you use to take advantage of those searches? Local SEO and call-only ads, provided by Google Adwords, are a good place to start. Local SEO involves checking the consistency of existing citations, which are online business listings that include basic information such as address, phone number, fax number and website URL. Keeping these online listings up to date is crucial for doctor’s offices, especially for practices that operate out of more than one location.
Call-only ads are another way to drive traffic to your phone lines, and hopefully your waiting rooms. These call-only campaigns display minimal copy, and prominently feature the phone number to mobile users on the Google SERP. If your website does not have online scheduling capability, utilizing these ads is the perfect way to turn a lead into a conversion.
In short, Google taught us is that the path to getting more patients won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. And the first place to start is mobile.