Optimizing marketing for mobile devices – particularly smartphones – and devising an associated strategy is something that if hospitals haven’t embraced already, should have at the top of the to-do list for 2017. Smartphones have become like body parts for the majority of the nation to the extent that if they’re not bolted-on at all times, it’s hard for many to fight the feeling that there’s something missing.
Smartphones are increasingly becoming a health necessity and this is something that is very much shaping the future of healthcare marketing, as these key stats reveal:
- There are more than 97,000 health and fitness apps
- There are 4 million free and 300,000 paid downloads of health-related content per day
- By the end of this year, the mobile health market revenue will reach $26bn
However, smartphones have more uses than just searching for health information; healthcare professionals are increasingly using mobile technology for mobile health, or mHealth, services too. In essence, there is a world of health-related content and information at the fingertips of consumers today and consequently, the pressure is on hospitals to actively participate in this sector with effective mobile marketing.
Here are 5 persuasive reasons why mobile marketing in healthcare is the central nervous system of any hospital’s digital strategy:
#1 Smartphone Adoption is Continually Increasing Where Other Digital Tech is Stagnant
Research shows that desktop and laptop computer ownership has declined with 68% of American adults owning a smartphone and 45% a tablet. Around 62% of people use their smartphones to search for health information and so it’s a given that content generation is a key driver of any successful digital marketing strategy. When creating content, it’s more important than ever to bear in mind how it looks and reads to viewers using a smartphone. Optimizing all content so that it stands out to search engines is crucial and attention needs to be paid to SEO to ensure good positioning on results pages as they’re displayed on smartphones.
#2 Optimizing for Smartphones is the New Universal Standard
The numbers boil down to the simple fact that four out of five Americans own and regularly use a smartphone. Although laptops, desktops, and tablets are far from obsolete they are more commonly used for work-related tasks than at a personal level. There’s something intimate about a small hand-held device that lends itself well to the healthcare industry as it conveys a sense of confidentiality. For that reason, all online content should be optimized for smartphones to ensure the best delivery of information with easy navigation and fast loading times.
#3 Smartphones Allow for More Effective Location-Marketing
Geo-targeting or location-marketing is the relatively new practice of delivering content to a consumer, often via their smartphone, using geographic location information about that individual. Smartphone technology is incredibly powerful and gives hospitals the ability to target and reach niche patient audiences according to where they are. There are creative marketing mechanisms that use the location of individual devices to send alerts about nearby hospitals and clinics. Location-marketing also allows relevant content to be distributed to a finely targeted audience based on the social and personal preference of respective audiences.
#4 Smartphones Make for More Effective Email Marketing
Research shows that more than 54% of Americans use their smartphones to access email which is why email marketing is crucial for a hospital’s digital strategy. Newsletters are one of the best vehicles for marketing messages in healthcare and people are more inclined to buy-into the services of a hospital when they’ve subscribed to its newsletter. When an email is received on a smartphone, it’s the most direct form of communication a hospital has with existing and prospective patients at a personal level. By not having a responsive website or generating content that is easily digestible and visually appealing for a smartphone screen, it’s tantamount to having no online presence at all.
#5 Mobile Marketing has the Best Patient-Conversion Rates
Around 88% of consumers searching for a local service or business on a smartphone will call or make a visit within 24-hours. The implication of this stat is that when someone needs a hospital, they’re likely to be searching for it with every intention of taking action within a short period of time. Such search inquiries require instant gratification with clear information that’s relevant to the inquiry displayed quickly on a smartphone screen. Research shows that 55% of smartphone owners access hospital content with the main purpose of looking up physicians, 47% to access general hospital information, 43% to locate a facility and 41% to schedule an appointment.
It’s safe to assume that if someone has internet access they almost certainly have a smartphone and that they prefer to read their emails and view other online content using them. In fact, it’s probably rarer for someone to make a voice call with their smartphone than it is to communicate person-to-person via the internet in some way such as email or instant messaging.
The fact that smartphone ownership is on the increase shows that it is an established form of communication that is a firm fixture in modern society. Furthermore, with the volume of cellphone service providers giving smartphones away with contracts, this number is going to keep increasing, which is excellent news for hospitals with an effective marketing strategy.
Smartphones provide the most direct route to target healthcare audiences and for that reason, the highest patient conversion rate. Therefore, an investment in responsive website design and smartphone-friendly content can yield a significant marketing ROI.