Over the last few years there has been several dynamic changes in the world of patient acquisition for orthopedic and spine practices. As 2018 approaches, here are 3 of the most important digital trends that practices should know about to continue to grow their patient volume:
1. The Shift to Smartphone Usage
For the first time in history, more internet traffic and usage has come from mobile devices than desktop computers. In fact, in 2016-2017 up to 60% of all internet usage was from a smartphone or tablet and the average American spent up to 5 hours per day on a mobile device.
As a result of the growing usage of smartphones over desktops, Google has been encouraging businesses to update their websites to mobile-responsive websites. A mobile-responsive site is one that automatically changes its layout and placements of certain menus and buttons automatically.
Over the last few years, Google has begun penalizing websites that do not make this upgrade by pushing them further down in organic Google search results (many times off the first page) if the search came from a mobile device..
What this means for your practice: If a potential patient in your area is looking for an orthopedic or spine specialist, or treatment for a specific condition, those practices with mobile responsive sites will outrank those that do not. Considering that 70% of patients use Google to search for a condition or a physician, if your website is not ranking on the first page because your site is outdated, you could be losing hundreds of patients per month to your competitors.
Many practices are often hesitant to update their websites because of the perceived cost. However, redesigning your website may not cost as much as you think. You should also consider how much new patient revenue you may be losing to your competitors by not doing so.
2. The Shift to Video Content
In 2017, 33% of all online activity was spent watching videos and 45% of people spend an hour or more each week watching videos on sites like YouTube and Facebook. YouTube is now the second most popular search engine in the world behind Google.
For orthopedic and spine practices, many patients are opting to watch videos of physicians explaining causes and treatments for conditions like sciatica or meniscus tears, instead of reading long form written content.
This speaks to the “modern patient” having less time to read content and wanting to get information easily and effectively. Patients who watch videos featuring a physician feel as if they get an insight into that physician’s personality and demeanor before even meeting them. In fact, 73% of people said that seeing a video influences their decisions.
What this means for your practice: Investing in high quality video content is imperative for your practices digital marketing strategy. Video content can include Q&A’s with physicians, patient testimonials and physician introduction videos. These videos can be used in multiple incarnations including as part of an effective social media marketing strategy and YouTube marketing strategy.
3. Social Media as a Primary News Source
According to a 2017 Pew Research Study, 67% of all Americans get at least their news from Social Media sites. This represents a significant shift from print and TV being the primary news sources, but does not seem all too surprising considering that the average American spends almost two hours per day on social media sites.
The likely reason for these shifts is that social media sites like Facebook serve as aggregate news sites where users can get information from all of their trusted news sources, from local newspapers to national TV networks, in one single place. Sites like Facebook recognized very early on how to monetize the time users spent on the site or app by allowing for highly targeted advertisement being shown to their over 1 billion users.
What this means for your practice: All of this time spent on social media each day is the perfect opportunity to highlight your services and expertise to potential patients.
When executed correctly, Facebook and Instagram ads can target users by their locations, behaviors, purchases, websites they have recently visited and their interests. Knowing the behaviors of those in need of orthopedic or spine care can allow you to target ads directly to those in your area and increase brand awareness as well as generate new patients. Imagine a newspaper ad or billboard that was shown only to those with an orthopedic injury or spine condition? That’s what social media marketing can do for your practice.
About the Author
Daniel Goldberg is the CEO and Creative Director of Gold Medical Marketing – the only firm in the country specializing exclusively in Orthopedic, Spine and Neurosurgery Practice Marketing. Daniel has lectured extensively on the topic of Orthopedic and Spine Practice Marketing at some of the most esteemed medical conferences across the country, including Becker’s Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management Conference.
Gold Medical Marketing works with practices across the country to create the most effective marketing strategies based on their location and patient demographics.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.