Why is digital so important for healthcare providers?

Wayne Atkinson, Ontario SEO
Wayne Atkinson
March 16, 2016
Online Marketing for Healthcare Providers

Technology is changing healthcare and digital is changing the way that consumers are thinking about their health. So how can your healthcare business insert itself into your customer’s health journey?

One in 20 searches online are related to health and this is a huge number when you consider how many people are searching every day. This shows us that people are looking for more control over their health and this is even evident by the apps that many people have on their phones – there are apps for virtual trainers, counting your steps, sleeping and counting your calories.

Importance of digital marketing in the healthcare sector

Digital allows us to make healthy living fun. Devices are helping us lead healthier lives, from Fitbits to onesies for babies that monitor their heart rates. In the digital age, people have many more options than they’ve ever had before, but this makes our jobs as marketers even harder. How do we get in front of our customer at the right time and place? Traditional path to medical treatment started with: stimulus (we get sick), the first moment of truth (we reach out to friends and family to get advice where to go and who to see), the second moment of truth (we actually go to the doctor, maybe tell our friends about them if we liked them). But the traditional model is being challenged now.

Whereas a lot of ads for healthcare were on television, many people just don’t see them anymore with the number of people who use PVR to skip the commercials. Studies have shown that more time is spent online than on TV – plus, think about all the times you have been on your smartphone while watching TV! Now, digital has disrupted the traditional path to treatment, with the “zero moment of truth” coming after the stimulus in the traditional path to medical treatment – people are starting their own research process online. So take your message to where the people are!

Search is indispensable in the patient journey

People are using search engines to find information about their conditions, the treatments and symptoms. Most search paths start with non-branded search terms during early research and nearly half finish on a branded term. Plus, the more times a person searches, the more likely they are to convert into an appointment. It takes an average of 15.3 searches before an appointment is booked. In addition to this, 60% of people like to research to validate what their doctor has told them so there is still the opportunity to capture customers even after they have seen their healthcare practitioner.

Display engages and educates

Mobile is a constant research companion – 61% of people are searching for answers to their problems at home and 16% are searching while in a doctor’s office. Mobile is driving the “near me” searches, e.g. coffee near me, gym near me or dentist near me so the goal with mobile should be to give people the health information they need – and quickly. 77% of people will switch sites if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly. You need to provide customers with a frictionless experience and make it easy for them to use.

Online video informs and connects

79% of time online is spent doing something else, like going on apps like YouTube or visiting sites like WebMD, Cooking Lite, etc. so it’s important to think about capturing your audience in places other than the search results pages. Consider an online video campaign to successfully inform and engage your customer: 1.Details about a treatment procedure
2.Patient testimonials
3.Symptom or condition overview

43% say that internet-based resources are their go to source for health & wellness information

By the numbers:

• One in 20 online searches are health related
• 80% of us go online to look for healthier options when it comes to fitness, diet and even what vitamins we should be taking
• 70% of hospital traffic comes from search
• 43% of respondents say that internet-based resources are their go-to source for health and wellness information
• 77% of online health inquiries start online

Want more information on how to grow your healthcare business online with Google? As a certified Google partner agency, we can help you get started.