As healthcare marketers, we work in a unique niche. While some mainstream marketing tactics still apply–consistent and inclusive branding, social marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO)—engaging and attracting patients often requires deviating from the marketing norm. Mix in the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for telehealth services, and the rapid consumerism of healthcare and uncertainty becomes the new normal.
The solution for uncertainty? Data. In 2023, data-driven marketing will be the foundation to engage patients, ensure growth, and stay competitive. Let’s review the top healthcare marketing trends to follow and implement in 2023.
Why are trends important to healthcare marketing strategy?
Before we get to our top three marketing approaches for 2023, you might wonder why tracking marketing trends is important. We’re not saying you should follow every trend that pops up, but when it comes to marketing, being aware of trends can be beneficial for several reasons.
- Relevancy. Staying on top of trends can help you stay relevant to your audience and prospects.
- Prove your authority. Early adoption and mastery of marketing methods help to establish organizations as authoritative voices. Once you’re seen as successfully using a trend, people will be inclined to follow you and pay more attention to your brand—increasing brand recognition and growing your patient base.
- Things change. The ability to adjust marketing focus is vital to remaining competitive. A recent example is the switch from volume-focused to value-focused healthcare marketing.
Healthcare marketers must continually adapt their strategies to meet their patients' needs and promote their organization's growth and longevity. Therefore, trends should be evaluated, but only implemented if they fit within your brand and company goals.
3 Top Trends for Healthcare Marketing in 2023
1. Enhancing the Whole Patient Experience is a Must
The desire to improve the patient experience is a familiar idea—providing high-quality service and care has been paramount for years. Historically, based on in-person encounters, the transition to digital healthcare broadened the scope of each patient experience to encompass the whole process, beginning at the keyboard.
An important factor in prioritizing the patient experience is understanding that patient expectations are higher now than ever. They are more likely to pass over or switch providers because of a single negative experience. With so many options available when choosing healthcare services, patients want top-notch, well-integrated, affordable healthcare options.
This means healthcare marketers must prioritize the digital front door and be proactive in strategically engaging with existing and potential patients. Tools like the Wellsource health risk assessment (HRA) allow you to gather and evaluate valuable data to take action qualified leads and personalize the content each patient receives.
2. Personalized and Patient-Centered Content is Non-Negotiable
More and more patients are taking control of their health journey and don’t want to be just another number. Each healthcare journey is unique, so it makes sense that each receives personalized messaging and patient-centered content.
A personalized marketing approach is not simply ensuring communications address each person by name–though that’s a start. Data must drive your marketing strategy to meet these expectations and more.
To personalize your marketing efforts effectively using data to target specific groups, you need to:
- Clearly understand each person’s individual needs.
- Create content that answers patients' questions at each step of the patient journey.
- Allow patients to designate their preferred contact method: phone, SMS messaging, online chat, or email.
- Provide personalized health recommendations and alternative appointment opportunities
- Include clear and helpful options to empower the patient to choose their next step.
Creating a more personalized experience for patients increases engagement and patient outcomes. A tool like Wellsource HRAs assists in determining what data to collect, streamlines the data collection process, and allows for evaluation of that data to improve personalized messaging and patient-centered content to reach your 2023 marketing goals.
3. Website User Experience Remains a Top Priority
When it comes to website functionality and performance, people have little time and tolerance for inefficiency. Patients do research on mobile devices between meetings, on their ride to work, or standing in the lunch line. They’re short on time and want high-quality content that’s easy to find, understand, and is pertinent to them—and they want simplified options to move forward.
Website and app design are still vital to the success of your site, but a pretty homepage isn't enough. To keep your audience engaged and your website ranking well, it needs to feature up-to-date, patient-centered content that applies to the reader. A Pew Research Center study cited that 62% of smartphone users have used their devices to gather health-related information. Therefore, it's vital that your website has a responsive design that displays accurately on all device types—and remember to test site speed regularly.
Your website is your digital front door. Using geo-based personalization and data, you can create unique landing pages based on HRA-acquired health information and/or the geographical location of the patient. This is especially beneficial for companies with multiple locations so that they can provide personalized content and service locations near the patient.
A Better Experience for Healthcare Consumers
High expectations have patients seeking a personalized experience from healthcare providers. Keeping these trends in mind will assist in meeting those expectations and address the whole patient experience. In 2023, healthcare marketers who implement data-driven strategies to enhance the patient experience will have better outcomes and stay more relevant in an increasingly competitive market.
Take the next step to develop meaningful messaging and CTAs: Dive into nudge theory.