Posted: October 5, 2017

Not to get all marketing nerd on you, but checking out the latest trends and statistics in the industry makes me excited like it's the first day of school. Understanding what's working makes me feel smarter. And watching for the next big thing (is it AR? VR? Little robots that do my job for me?) keeps life interesting, even if I still haven't figured out a way to make Instagram a selling tool for healthcare technology.

The thing about horizontal marketing trends, however, is that some will never apply to healthcare marketing. Either they're not a good fit for patient and consumer privacy, or it's flashy tech that will die out before we figure out how to apply it to healthcare's specific needs and regulations. But a girl can dream!

With this in mind, we've scoured Hubspot's 2017 Marketing Statistics Report to bring you the marketing trends and statistics most relevant to healthcare, ideas that could help improve your healthcare marketing efforts now and into the future.

Conversion Rate Optimization
Turning prospects into paying customers can be difficult, no matter what industry you're in. Only 22% of businesses say they're satisfied with their conversion rates, according to a 2016 survey from Econsultancy, which leaves a lot of room for improvement.

To address conversion concerns, most businesses spend significant time jockeying for position at the top of Google's search rankings. A 2015 report from Advanced Web Ranking found that click-through rates for the top search spot on desktop and mobile garnered 34.36% and 31.35% of total clicks, respectively.

For healthcare organizations, this trend is even more important to conversion success. Healthcare consumers often search for providers and facilities "near me," and when your website and provider directories are optimized for these kinds of searches, your chances at ranking first, second, or third increase. When your ranking goes up, your conversions go up as well.

Social Media Engagement Still Dominates
The writing is on the (Facebook) wall — social media is effective in driving conversions. With 1.13 daily active users, according to a 2016 Statista report, Facebook is one of the best places to engage prospects and existing patients alike. In fact, the Pew Research Center says 43% of Facebook's total user base logs on multiple times a day, making it an excellent platform for reaching consumers.

One way to improve healthcare consumer engagement goals through social media platforms is by posting blog-style content multiple times a month. Research shows that the more you post, the more it drives engagement — Hubspot reports that business-to-consumer companies that posted 11 or more blogs a month saw four times as many leads generated by blogging than businesses that blogged only four to five times a month. Consumers, even healthcare consumers, are hungry for your content.

Once you have a well of on-site content like blog posts and infographics, leverage its merit for further engagement by sharing across your social channels. Healthcare organizations can easily harness such a social media strategy to bolster and retain their patient population at better rates than traditional search engine ranking alone.

Minimal Time and Energy
Creating and maintaining a social media presence for a healthcare organization might seem like a big job, but the truth is you can see improvement with minimal effort. According to a 2015 Social Media Examiner report, 66% of marketing managers said that all it takes is six hours a week to see results. Think engaging in conversations after a positive review, addressing any negative feedback as directly as possible without violating privacy, and sharing your own or other relevant content with your audience. Add paid social ads or campaigns to drive things like health risk assessments to your organic presence for even more impact.

Not only will maintaining your social media presence translate to higher levels of social media engagement, there are bonus effects as well: 61% of marketers who did invest at least six hours of activity a week into social media marketing saw upticks in their search engine rankings... and so, the circle continues.

The Takeaway
Healthcare marketing may have more nuance than marketing for other industries, but we can still learn from the larger market -- their consumers are our consumers. All marketers have the same challenges with conversion, search ranking, and lean teams that need to accomplish more. So, keeping an eye on the world outside our normally narrow scope can and will help us grow. After all, our healthcare consumers are also the ones helping create the statistics that marketers in other industries base their efforts on.

Want to learn more about Healthcare Consumer Experience in 2017? Read our white paper.