In today’s market, it’s vital that hospitals and healthcare organizations optimize their mobile marketing strategy to reach desired audiences effectively.
Recent studies show that 52 percent of smartphone users gather health-related information on their smartphones, ranging from information around a specific medical procedure to diet and nutrition best practices.
The question is – how do hospital marketers create a mobile strategy that drives success?
Before diving in, make sure you’ve outlined specifically what you hope to achieve with mobile marketing. Perhaps your goal is to optimize the site for mobile searches, or perhaps it’s to create a mobile app that allows customers to schedule appointments.
Define goals that fit your budget, existing technology, and employee skill sets. Once you clearly understand and communicate this goal across your organization, you can start creating and implementing a strategy that appeals to mobile customers.
Let’s take a closer look at a few ways to optimize your marketing strategy for mobile:
Evaluate Your Website
A hospital’s website is the center of its digital marketing strategy; the goal of most outreach is to drive customers back to the website. With mobile overtaking desktop as customers’ primary website-viewing platform, it’s more important than ever to optimize your site for mobile, both in design and in function.
To engage mobile customers, your website should be mobile-friendly, which means the navigation should be large and easy to use, CTA buttons should be interactive and designed for touch-screen use, and content should work in fluid layouts, since mobile screens vary in size.
Below is an example of a healthcare website that has properly optimized its layout for mobile. Note how the image, text, and buttons are fit to the mobile screen size, and navigation is located in the top right corner.
Additionally, you need to be aware of Google’s mobile-first index, announced in 2016. This index will create and rank search listings based on the mobile version of content, even for desktop searches. If a hospital website has a responsive web design and mobile best practices are followed, Google has said there generally aren’t specific actions to take. However, a hospital’s digital strategy should reflect this changing search landscape and prioritize the mobile experience.
Another trend to consider is voice search, as it is growing in popularity— 20 percent of mobile Google search queries are now voice searches because it’s quick and hands-free. To optimize for voice search, include strategic keywords into your website content so that voice searches will trigger search engine recognition. You can also create web pages specifically designed to pull up in response to mobile searches, such as FAQ pages or pages including local information.
Utilize Mobile-Friendly Outreach
Digital outreach is best when integrated across multiple channels with the goal being a consistent engagement experience for customers. For mobile users, there are outreach platforms and strategies that will lead to greater engagement and conversion percentages:
Email marketing should be mobile-friendly since the majority of customers will open emails on mobile devices. Adapt your traditional email marketing strategy to include easily-clickable links that drive back to your website, maximize design quality, and are succinct and CTA-focused. Additionally, any linked forms and landing pages should be optimized for mobile users.
SMS & MMS Messages
Text messages can be a great addition to your mobile marketing strategy. Once patients opt-in, texts are an efficient way to deliver information and can be made more effective with personalization. For example, text messages are an excellent way to remind patients about upcoming clinical appointments — address them by name, state the physician they will be seeing and when, and include a link to the website.
When sending marketing texts, be clear about the purpose of your text and be concise. Customers are more likely to read shorter text messages than longer ones.
Cisco predicts that mobile video traffic will account for 75 percent of total mobile data traffic by 2020. Video advertisements attract and maintain customers’ attention by effectively sharing critical information about your healthcare organization, as well as telling engaging stories. Embed videos into emails, social media posts, and web pages to drive mobile traffic and boost engagement.
Social media should be an integral component of your mobile-focused hospital marketing strategy because it’s widely used and customers trust social information. Social media allows hospitals to engage in conversations with customers, share content, and boost customers’ awareness of your organization in real-time.
Ensure your social media posts contain CTAs to make it easy for customers to engage with your health system.
Mobile applications present a major market opportunity in healthcare; 19 percent of smartphone owners report having at least one health app on their phone, and 26 percent of consumers start mobile research with a branded app.
In particular, healthcare apps are a great way to connect with millennial patients, since they prioritize convenience and offer a streamlined way to book appointments, share health data, and manage preventive care. Consider partnering with and supporting certain health-related mobile apps. For instance, you can create accounts and engage with customers on popular healthcare apps like Microsoft HealthVault and PingMD, or develop a proprietary app.
If you choose to create your own mobile healthcare app, make sure you’ve done your research about target users and have carefully planned out your budget. Prioritize speed, user experience, promotional support, and regular updates.
An important piece of mobile optimization is keeping tabs on your KPIs, analytics, and conversions to understand what mobile marketing efforts are resonating with your target audiences. Since mobile technology evolves over time, especially pay attention to how key metrics change in response to external factors. Keeping up with changing market factors that affect customer preferences will help ensure your strategy remains successful over time.