With growing internet users in India, patients are now more educated than ever before. They want every possible details about the hospital before taking any treatment. The digital transformation of India has already affected their decision-making which will rapidly grow in the days to come.
With this digital transformation technology in India now medical marketing strategy has to be stronger than ever before. This is important for the health care center to be present at the top of all the digital platforms while the patients are looking for their treatment. They act like a trusted partner who never leaves a hospital in their medical journey. Patients want to learn everything about the facilities during the phase of their treatment.
A study conducted by Google on patient’s journey during a hospital selection process shows that there are multiple factors which influence the patient’s decision which is as below:
- Search and Web Content
- Friends and Family
- Mobile and Tablet Devices
- Online Videos and Social Channels
Out of these six influencing factors, Google found that Search, web content, mobile/tablet devices, and online videos play as digital sources of information. The study further states that Search is a vital element during the journey. As they learn more about a particular hospital or facility it becomes a brand for them. Mobile phone is now a companion and it’s taking over the desktop devices as a medium of information. Social networking sites are, these days, visited often by users and they are a great source of knowledge. They are helpful to connect directly with hospitals during their journey. Video materials tell stories and increase conversion.
What are the actions for a hospital:
We now understand that digitisation plays a major role during hospital selection. But what is the true meaning of being digital? What are the steps which can be taken to educate a prospect so that chances of conversion can be higher? Who are ready to convert and how can we target them?
Before that, the brand is a much important aspect.
What is a brand?
According to Wikipedia
“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising.”
It’s clear that to be a brand there are some features that need to be present in any organization. Your name should be known to people in a way which can be recognized by its color, symbol, and logo etc. These features can be further used during marketing and advertising. The brand is one of most important aspect of a hospital. With low branding, material prospects will not convert even if a hospital has world class facility. The reputation of the hospital is chosen over any healthcare plan or recommendations by doctors.
Now, as we have understood the importance of branding, let’s move on to the digital presence of a hospital.
Digital content is most influential key to decision making while selecting a hospital. There are top six resources where a patient looks for information.
- Hospital sites
- Health insurance company sites
- Health information sites
- Consumer generated reviews
- Social Networking Sites
- Video Sites
1. Hospital sites
It is unquestionably understood that digital content of any hospital should start from its own website. The information provided on the websites are the most trusted source of information. Patients want to know about the hospital, services, doctors, procedures, facilities and even the technologies used. After getting the adequate information they contact the hospital with the given form or the phone numbers.
A patient’s journey, most of the time, begins with Search Engines. To get the desired traffic to hospital website through search engines the hospital should be at the top of search results. Search Engines are the top most traffic source for any website. There are two most important ways of getting on top of a search engine :
- Search Engine Optimization-SEO
- Search Engine Marketing- SEM
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the art of getting desired ranks of a website for a given query by making changes on the website, putting informative content and building quality links. There are more than 200 factors of Google to get rank at the top results. This is the most common way to start sending traffic to any website.
Search Engine Marketing:
Google and other search engines provide facility to get top rank very quickly. Search engines are paid to get the website on its first page with Pay Per Click(PPC) model. The website can be targeted for any region, any time and for any search term. This is most helpful to target patients who are ready to convert.
2- Health insurance company sites:
Recently, India has been flooded with health insurance companies. Now almost all reputed hospitals are partnered with health insurance companies. In India, people are more concerned about their health. They are prepared for any health conditions and cover themselves under any circumstances. During the journey of hospital selection patients look for hospitals where health expenses can be covered. So they look for websites for the information if he can get the needed benefit or not.
3- Health information sites:
The internet has given opportunities to grow various business online and with such rapid growth of online business in India there are many websites which provide detailed information about a hospital. Generally, these websites are in the form of a directory which categorizes the hospital under multiple divisions. The digital information for a hospital includes information about the hospital, address, working hours, working doctor’s information, photos, services, reviews and much more. These sites even provide the facility of booking an appointment directly or consulting the doctors online. Some of the well known Indian websites dealing with health information are Practo, Credihealth, Lybrate etc.
These websites generate thousands of traffic daily and are considered as some of the leading trusted sources of information. All the information provided on these websites are verified. With such great facilities on these websites, this is important for hospitals to present themselves on these platforms and maintain their needed information updated. The patient will have a negative impact if he does not get the needed information from these sites and he will move on to another brand.
4- Consumers generated reviews-
The Indian consumers are now in the habit of reading reviews before making the purchase. Indian health sector can not be untouched. Patients want to be well informed with the feedbacks of the hospital. They want to know the real-life experiences of previous patients who got treatment from a hospital. A negative review for a hospital can have a negative impact on the prospect which is not good for the reputation of a hospital.
Reviews can influence a patient very positively if marketed properly. Patients share their experience after the treatment. A study conducted by Google shows the after treatment information below :
50% of patients share information directly with friends, family, and colleagues.
12% post reviews on social networking sites.
6% post reviews on a website.
With the above information, a hospital can make use of social networking sites and review websites as digital content platforms. A constant review marketing should be conducted to eliminate any bad footprints.
5- Social Networking Sites
According to Wearesocial.com, there were 462 million active internet users in Sep 2016 in India and out of which 153 million users are on the Social Media platforms. Surprisingly out of these 153 million active users 130 million users were accessing social sites on mobile devices. People now spend hours on social media sites for information, product knowledge, video surfing and much more.
A hospital has the opportunity to fill the social sites with digital content and establish themselves as an active brand. These social platforms could be used to connect directly, advertising, video reviews, images and facility information with a prospect.
6- Video Sites:
With the growth of 3G and 4G connections, videos nowadays run faster than before. Patients want to see video reviews and testimonials to learn about the hospitals and treatment. Most of the patient want to see patient-generated content like testimonials. Most of the time they watch these videos to get information about the hospitals and learn about the treatment procedures. Soon after watching these videos they generally talk to friends and families, discuss on social media sites or contact the hospital for an appointment. These videos drive traffic to the hospital sites where they are most likely to convert.
The study conducted by Google shows below behavior of patients:
1 in 8 patients watched an online video on:
- Hospital Sites (42%)
- Health Insurance Information Sites (31%)
- Health Information Sites (30%)
- YouTube (29%)
- Health Insurance Company Sites (20%)
India is digitising rapidly and patients’ journey to hospital selection is changing as well. Patients look for information before taking any kind of treatment from a hospital. This makes it even more important for a hospital to present them on all digital platforms. A hospital should walk along with the patient during their journey and offer them all valuable information. This will increase conversion, credibility, and the trust of a hospital in India.
*Data Source: Think with Google