Mobile Phones and the Future of Healthcare Marketing
People have changed the way they see medical care. Over the last thirty to forty years, medical insurance, politics, and other factors made us see both caretakers and patients differently. Paranoid non-compliant patients and lawsuit wary doctors are both apprehensive about the very act of communicating, in spite of its necessity.
People have also changed the way they view technology. The mass increase of availability and technological growth from that same time period has worked leaps and bounds for both the healthcare industry and the general public. And it is still growing, possibly a little too much. It is almost ironic in how it is inversely proportionate.
This begs the question, “What if doctors can use technology to their advantage to engage with their patients?
If better communication with patients is possible, what does that look like? How do we spread the right message to the people about our practice? That is where healthcare marketing and mobile phones come into play.
Why Mobile Phones for Healthcare Marketing?
This is the question that crops up the most when doctors talk with marketing firms about advertising their practice to other people. “Why use social media? “It goes right up there with “Why do I need a website?” or “Why can’t I just run a billboard ad?” This line of questioning usually comes from a misunderstanding of the technological growth rate over the last couple of decades, as well as how many people on average have started to rely on it more and more. Some of it is a little justified. After all, the job of a doctor is to help sick people, not keep up with technological trends.
However, it doesn’t take much complacency either before someone looks up and realizes that their practice advertising and referral numbers are dwindling. Why is that? It is because the way we are communicating is changing overall.
Almost Everyone has a Mobile Phone And They Use It
Statistically speaking, we are way more reliant on mobile phones, websites, Google, and social media than ever before. In the 90’s things like a portable phone or a PDA, the closest equivalent to a smart phone, were luxury items that for rich people. Unless you were someone on Wall Street, you did not have something like this on your person, and even then, they were painted as workaholics.
What about now, worldwide? Over 5 billion people have mobile devices. Over half of which are smartphones. And we don’t just use them to talk either.
- Mobile platforms, such as smartphones and tablets, host up to 60% of digital media time for users in the U.S.
- The fuel driving mobile’s relentless growth is primarily app usage, which alone makes up a majority of total digital media engagement at 52 percent.
- Also, the highest number of query based searches are not on desktops or laptops, but on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
So not only is the patient climate changing, but so is the way they are communicating. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge because you have to restructure your normal plans on how to reach your patients, but also an opportunity because not a lot of doctors are realizing it right now.
Mobile Marketing can Open the Doors of Communication
One of the biggest struggles that both doctors and patients feel is the lack of communication channels. Patients want more transparency from doctors and doctors want patients to trust them at their word. Mobile marketing and digital channels can serve both as a platform for helping patients find what they need and give doctors a better shot of increasing their patient load.
But what does that look like? What can a practice do to increase the chances of their patients being more open to using their practice? Here are some things healthcare marketers have gotten good at that can help. These were from Medical Economics, a great resource in this matter.
- You can Use Plain Language to get your Message Across.
- Speak directly to members of your audience and empower them to become more engaged in their own well-being. Speak your audience’s language and frame certain concepts from a patient perspective. If possible, give your marketing teammates more creative leeway for writing copy and developing visuals that capture patients’ attention.
- You can Demystify the Healthcare Process
- Despite a new law that requires hospitals to post their prices online, it’s still difficult to find that information. In fact, it takes a minimum of three clicks to locate price lists on many hospital sites. That’s no way to convert potential customers or demystify healthcare. If anything, ensure that your website is welcoming and simple to navigate.
If you can pinpoint the main platform that people receive messages, as well as, engage in their perspective, there is no doubt that your practice will see an increase in business. All it takes for healthcare marketing to work in your favor is a combination of modern day technological know-how and to put yourselves in the shoes of the people you are targeting.