The healthcare market in India is growing at an unprecedented pace, valued at US $100 billion and is expected to reach US $280 billion by 2020. The expected increase is due to the increasing number of well-trained professionals as well as the cost-effectiveness of medicine in India. The cost of a surgery in India is 1/10th the cost of the same surgery conducted in the US or Western Europe.
Earlier, the healthcare sector depended on traditional marketing to convey their services. Simple newspaper and magazine articles were one way to communicate with the target audience. Other means of marketing like brochures, pamphlets and hoardings were also used. Even more personal methods were practiced like door-to-door marketing, where a salesperson would communicate a company’s objectives personally, was popular. The most used method of marketing in healthcarewas through word-of-mouth and recommendations given by family members or friends.
Health care marketing in the digital age is a relatively novel concept and has recently grown into a large base for consumers to converse with the healthcare sector. Interaction through various media such as social media, email marketing, search-engine optimization, influencer marketing, etc. has become more commonly used to reach out to people.
It’s seen that 1 out of 20 searches on Google are health related. This is because people are always searching for cures to ailments, reviews from people and other research. A staggering 83% of people view hospital websites before booking appointments, and 44% of them book appointments through mobile sites. These statistics itself make it apparent that digital marketing in healthcare is imperative.
Digital marketing in healthcare is developing for the following reasons –
- Changing patterns and preferences of the consumer – Today’s consumer is increasingly aware of everything happening around them and has the power to use online research to discover any gray area. To ensure smooth transactions, websites and information given should be accurate and reliable.
- The Ascent of social media – Social media has grown and established itself as a large foundation for interaction and information. It is easy to communicate with a larger group through social media, as the audience is immense.
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) – Building a good SEO through efficient content writing and marketing is important because consumers are more likely to choose links which are more prominently displayed due to their SEO. There are several ways to increase SEO, through numerous ways like writing blogs, video SEO, and multilingual SEOs.
- Other – Even more minute details like being available on WhatsApp can greatly affect a consumer’s decision as it makes a consumer feel that the person is more easily available. This is discussed in more detail on using WhatsApp to communicate in healthcare.
There are several benefits of digital media in healthcare. Having an engaging and responsive website is important. It illustrates a company’s interest in its employees. These are some digital strategies for healthcare, which can give organisations a huge competitive advantage. Some healthcare companies that have had major success in digital marketing are:
- Carilion Clinic – To encourage women to get checked early for cancer, the Carilion Clinic generated a hashtag “#yesmamm” to encourage women to go for a mammogram screening. This was a success as it drove traffic to their website.
- Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Centre – An online community called http://www.ourcircleofmoms.com was created for the purpose of bringing together mothers whose children are patients at the Floating Hospital. This gave the mothers the support they needed from people who understood and empathized with their plight
In this way, it is seen that the spread of digital marketing in the healthcare sector is a huge boon and has the potential to grow enormously in India, in the near future.