Healthcare consumers continue to move swiftly down the paths of least resistance toward quality care. This spells trouble for healthcare organizations that cannot change with the times.
It’s time to pay attention to what competitors offer and find ways to remove unnecessary obstacles to care.
In this blog, I share nine healthcare marketing trends you need to embrace in 2023 to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing healthcare marketplace.
9 Healthcare Marketing Trends 2023
1. Competition from Retail and Telehealth Disruptors Continues to Intensify
The COVID-19 pandemic supercharged a new type of competition for legacy healthcare organizations.
Today, healthcare businesses must compete with digital start-ups targeting lucrative niche audiences who are far less encumbered by red tape and insurance protocols. We regularly come across new, well-funded telehealth-based providers, including addiction, mental health, men’s health, fertility, online pharmacies, B2B businesses, nutrition, primary care, and others.
Combine that with a steady decline in private practice physicians due to patient volume loss, revenue loss, and increased medical supply costs—and disruptors are deftly filling in the cracks they’ve left behind. They’re also expanding into new, more innovative areas that outdated medical systems can’t reach as easily.
As telehealth and patient remote monitoring tools continue to light the way for healthcare consumerism, we’re also seeing an explosion of convenient retail-based disruptors like:
Indirect competition is also rising as pharmaceutical companies and product & device manufacturers continue developing convenient and affordable ways to perform non-urgent medical tests from home.
To compete in this ever-changing and rapidly advancing digital landscape, legacy healthcare systems must create innovative ways to meet the demands of today’s healthcare consumers or risk losing their patients to the competition.
2. Consumer-First Content is Essential
Today’s healthcare consumers are savvier than ever, leveraging the internet to research hospitals, physicians, medications, treatments, surgical options, and more.
The content you share online is crucial for generating business.
Focus on these key audiences to stay competitive:
Consumers are researching online, and their searches are becoming more sophisticated. Regular keyword monitoring is crucial and helps you develop consumer-centric content that satisfies their search intent, answers their questions, and builds brand authority and trust.
Be sure to use clear, easy-to-understand language. Also, don’t forget to motivate your audience with emotion.
b. Employee candidates
Healthcare organizations continue to feel the effects of the Great Resignation. Now, competition is fierce among healthcare businesses to attract, hire, and retain the best candidates.
This goes a bit deeper into offering expanded employee perks and benefits. Still, it is essential to build transparent recruitment content that shows potential candidates why they should choose your business over your competitors.
Be sure to include staff recruitment in your 2023 marketing budget.
c. Family members and influencers
Remembering to tailor content for family members of loved ones is crucial in specific industries, like addiction treatment and assisted living. Showing these individuals your facility is highly regarded as an essential first step.
d. Donors and community leaders
Hospital margins are exceptionally thin, so delivering content that satisfies this audience can go far in supporting your financial goals.
This is the BIG one that many healthcare businesses forget but is crucial for success.
Google is the gatekeeper. You must give it what it wants and play by its rules to get a competitive search engine rank.
Here are just some of the recent Google updates you need to know about:
i. Google’s Helpful Content Update
ii. Google Analytics 4
iii. Google’s Responsive Search Ad Changes
iv. Google Business Profile
3. Beyond Patient Acquisition: The Need For Patient Engagement
Not so long ago, most healthcare marketers were focused solely on new patient acquisition. Today, for many reasons, they are rightfully also focused on engaging, influencing, caring for, and retaining the patients they already have.
Meanwhile, patients want more information, more tools, and easier access to care. They want to make educated decisions about their healthcare and expect more transparency regarding costs and options. They’re also persuaded by better in-office amenities, more education and resources, and more open communication with providers.
Give your competition a run for their money by offering tools that provide exceptional convenience and boost patient engagement, like online appointment scheduling, text messages, in-app messaging, live chat, social engagement, recall systems, reminder series, and more.
4. Multigenerational and Multicultural Marketing Continues to Gain Momentum
Healthcare organizations that strive to understand and build inclusive patient experiences will come out on top in 2023. Building operations around unique generational, cultural, or LGBTQ+ needs results in more humanized care and an individualized patient experience.
Look at geosocial statistics in your service area to identify unique issues (e.g., food or housing insecurity) and how they impact the health of your patient populations. Once you better understand their needs, you can build internal operations, content, programs, and campaigns to support them.
5. Website User Experience Controls Patient Volume
Since 2019, there has been a 40% uptick in consumers who’ve left a healthcare provider because of a poor digital experience.
Here’s how you can make sure that doesn’t happen to your business:
a. Develop a user-friendly website
In addition to providing high-quality content that’s timely and relevant, integrating tools like live chat, patient portals, mobile apps, and technologies that facilitate and simplify patient access to care are important for today’s healthcare consumers.
Here are six ways to improve the UX on your healthcare website:
i. Clean site structure and navigation
ii. Straightforward messaging, helpful content, responsive design
iii. Ease of use across all devices (desktop, laptop, smartphones, tablets)
iv. 24/7 engagement tools (text, email support, live chat, etc.)
v. SEO-optimized pages that rank high on SERPs
vi. Sites that load quickly (faster than 3 seconds)
b. Drive more engagement with video content
86% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool, 72% of customers say they would rather learn about a product or service through video, and 84% say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
c. Build an ADA-compliant website
Make your website accessible to as many people as possible to grow patient volume, avoid potential lawsuits, and boost search engine rankings.
6. Integrated Marketing Campaigns Remain Popular
Healthcare consumers continue to expect hyper-relevant and seamless brand experiences across all channels—digital and traditional. Delivering a cohesive set of branded content across every consumer touchpoint builds consumer trust and increases the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
7. SEO Practices Continue to Mature
SEO is so much more than just adding keywords to your web pages. Prioritizing content that satisfies search intent is crucial for improving the consumer experience and boosting your search engine results page (SERP) rank.
Capitalize on this healthcare marketing trend by building informative content for frequently asked questions and blog posts that provide valuable content and build trust and brand loyalty.
On that same note, be sure to include location-based SEO phrases like “near me” or “in City” to satisfy more timely, pressing, or urgent searches (e.g., bariatric surgeon in Topeka, KS).
And, if you haven’t already, claim your Google Business Profile to optimize your business for local SEO and get better exposure on SERPs.
8. Social Proof Is Digital Currency
As I mentioned above, today’s healthcare consumers are more technically savvy and want to understand the pros and cons of the products or services before they use them.
In fact, 82% of Americans ask for referrals and recommendations from family and friends before making any purchase.
Attract more patients and build trust with a robust offering of patient reviews, testimonials, and success stories. If you’re wondering how to get more reviews, encourage patients to leave a review after each visit with an in-office kiosk, follow-up email, or postcard.
9. Medicare Advantage Grows to Unprecedented Heights
Medicare Advantage enrollment reached 28 million in 2022, more than half of the total Medicare population.
What’s more, Medicare Advantage membership growth shows no signs of slowing thanks to lower out-of-pocket costs, higher quality care, and better outcomes. As a result, the landscape has become increasingly competitive.
Both insurers and providers are aggressively seeking to attract and engage Medicare beneficiaries. If that sounds like your organization, bring your marketing “A-game.”
A final thought.
Nothing is certain today except continual change. We encourage you to lead your organization with vision and passion in the coming year.
It’s time to leave thoughts of “But, this is the way we’ve always done things” in the past, so you can move forward, innovate, and compete with businesses and retailers who are disrupting the healthcare industry.
Here’s to a successful 2023.