In the bustling delivery room of a Dallas hospital, a man stands bedside awaiting the birth of his first child. His wife in agony, he grips her hand in solidarity and support, offering what encouragement he can for hours, until the physician finally announces:
“Congratulations, it’s a beautiful baby girl!”
The husband—now father—races to the foot of the bed, anxious to lay eyes on his little girl for the first time. She is beautiful, with ten fingers, and ten…toes. The toes are there, but something isn’t right, and suddenly a single thought enters the father’s mind:
What’s wrong with my daughter?
Catching the attention of the obstetrician, the new father whispers:
“Did you see her feet?”
“Yes, it’s bilateral clubfoot,” replies the doctor, “It can be corrected.”
But all the new father hears is that something is wrong with his little girl. Something called ‘bilateral clubfoot.’ Something that could keep her from playing soccer, dancing at her senior prom, or walking down the aisle at her wedding. As the obstetrician and the nurses devote their attention to the baby and the new mother, the man doesn’t wait to ‘learn more’ or ‘discuss the options.’
He removes his smartphone from his pocket, opens Google, and types the phrase “bilateral clubfoot treatment” into the search bar.
The results he encounters will directly impact how, when, and—most importantly—where, his newborn daughter will receive corrective treatment.
The use of mobile to find the answers we want is reflexive. And the hospitals and healthcare organizations that tailor their websites and marketing to address this behavior will always win out among healthcare consumers.
And that’s why you should be thinking mobile-first in your healthcare marketing strategy.
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are no longer just additional devices for your prospective patients—they’re the primary way people are accessing the Internet the majority of the time. (Roughly 70% of the time people spend on the Internet is on a mobile device.)
So when your hospital, health system, or other healthcare organization isn’t prepared with a digital presence that is optimized for mobile devices, you’re giving your prospective patients a poor online experience. And in today’s digital age…
A poor online experience equates to a poor patient experience.
Especially considering that the Internet is the first place people go to ask a question about a symptom, research doctors and hospitals, check if a provider takes their insurance, and so on.
As healthcare consumers devote more of their time and attention to smartphones and tablets, your organization needs to be ready to deliver a digital presence that is fully optimized for mobile users. If you don’t, you risk losing visibility and giving potential patients a poor impression of your healthcare brand.
3 digital trends that make mobile marketing essential for healthcare providers
1. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans turn to the Internet for healthcare information.
The percentage of Americans who use the Internet to find healthcare information rose from 32% in 2003 to 60% in 2013, and based on this growth trajectory, it’s fair to assume this has grown to 72% today.
Whether a patient has pain in their side, a suspicious lump, or just a general question about how to lead a healthier lifestyle, odds are they’re going to turn to the Internet (likely a popular search engine like Google or Bing or another digital platform like YouTube) to look for answers concerning their health.
This is where the patient journey begins. (Research shows that almost as many American adults start their healthcare search online as engaging with healthcare practitioners in-person.) As a result, healthcare organizations need to be ready with a search engine-friendly, mobile-optimized digital presence.
To ensure they’re getting found by patients online, healthcare ensures their websites are:
Highly visible in search results.
Fast and easy to use across all devices, including smartphones and tablets.
Delivering valuable content that answers prospective patients’ questions and guiding them to the care they need.
2. Patients are demanding better online experiences.
Consumers are raising the bar when it comes to how healthcare brands engage with them online.
According to a recent survey, 90% of patients no longer feel the need to stay with healthcare providers that provide less-than-satisfactory digital experiences. And 80% of patients under the age of 40 will choose their next medical provider based on their online presence.
Meanwhile, another study found that 59% of US consumers expect their healthcare digital experience to be similar to the online experiences they get from the retail industry.
These findings show that healthcare organizations need to be ahead of the digital curve if they want to stay relevant to patients, and that includes having a solid mobile marketing strategy.
3. There are now more than 48,000 medical and healthcare apps available.
Between smartphones and wearable devices, people are using apps to monitor and track their health. They’re looking at things like their weight, BMI, blood pressure, blood sugar, and even anxiety levels. People also using apps to easily access information about their healthcare providers and manage various aspects of their care, like appointments, medical records, and billing.
Healthcare organizations all over the nation are using this growing trend as an opportunity to stay connected with patients and help them better manage their health. If your organization does not yet offer an app, you may want to consider building one. It will give your patients a better experience on mobile devices and show that your organization is ready to serve their needs.
Abandon the Single-Device Mentality and Think Mobile-First
If you want to boost your healthcare organization’s visibility and better serve current and prospective patients, you need to abandon the single-device mentality and realize that patients today are mobile. They’re moving fluidly from one device to the next, and they expect a seamless digital experience every time.
Make sure you’re delivering the best experience across ALL devices, and you’ll be on your way to growing your hospital, health system, or other healthcare organization.