Marketing as a concept has always been a very distant relative for hospitals whether large or small. Till about a decade ago, the panel of doctors associated or ‘word of mouth’ were the two major factors determining the success or failure of a hospital. What is interesting to note here is; that the industry never gave much importance to marketing or branding. Handful of large or national players like – Apollo, Wockhardt and Fortis were seen making an effort but that was very ad-hoc.
But the industry is witnessing a change now. Healthcare is a booming business. And like any other industry in the 21st century, it is as heavily impacted by digital trends as any other industry. Although the phenomenon has experienced a slow start the trend is picking real fast. Now every healthcare provider is tapping the Marketing Mantra. It is the right time for Healthcare Industry to take the Business where Patients are – ONLINE!! More so, weightage is being given to organized marketing with a 360 degree strategy and plan.
Consequently, healthcare industry marketing trends have evolved into the digital sphere, and below are some of the top hospital marketing trends in India that healthcare providers should watch for:
Online Searches for Healthcare Related Information – Consumers today prefer to do online searches for basic queries even before consulting their friends or relatives. Search engines, medical websites (like WebMD), Wikipedia, or even social media sites are the most obvious choices for them to make. Hence, what a healthcare provider needs to do is ensure that their own website has a valid amount of information that will be useful to the end user, and also the website is SEO optimized so that the user will find the website through organic searches.
Mobile Friendly Apps & Features – Millennials are much more mobile friendly than Gen – x or their parent generation. And with the Millennials dominating the years to come it is important for healthcare brands to optimize their websites to mobile friendly features.
Active Social Media Handles – Social Media is where majority of the consumers are for any brand to reach to their target audience. It is on these platforms where people are usually seen spending their time. This, however, does not only mean that a hospital facility should have social media presence, but that they should also interact with potential customers via these social media handles regularly. Having medical-based question and answer sessions on these channels is an especially worthwhile marketing practice. This is not only a great way to make your presence felt but also form a valuable connect with the desired target audience.
Interactive Website – this is still an emerging trend in India. By being interactive refers to consumers being able to book appointments online, chat directly with certified healthcare professionals, and other similar features.
Customers Review – Reputation is of great importance in healthcare industry. It was, it is and it always will be. Currently, the main trend is that potential patients check the reviews of hospital facilities and healthcare clinics before taking a decision of using their services. And hence, having no online reputation can hamper the business gravely.
The hospitals in India are experiencing the initiation of a new era – the age of the empowered consumer. These consumers not only has access to a multitude of healthcare information, but is also well-informed about rights as consumers. With the right mix of messages, marketing campaigns and events targeted at various segments of the population, hospitals in India can gain more footfalls, stronger engagement with their patients, greater trust, and public goodwill.
If you were to receive a marketing flyer or email from a hospital, what sort of news and features would you be interested in reading?