Consumers want to know more about their health. Whether it's questions about their latest symptom, or information about a loved one they're caring for, they're always looking for quality information to answer their questions. Increasingly, the Internet is where they're turning to find it.
With the ability to search millions of sources of information in a few seconds, the Internet has drastically changed how people interact with information, and health care is no different. Increasingly, the Internet is where people turn to arm themselves with information before they consult with their health care professional.
80% have looked online for information related to specific conditions and treatments
34% have read about someone else's health experience through online commentary such as a blog
25% have watched an online video about health or medical issues
24% have consulted online reviews of a particular drug or procedure
16% have consulted online rankings of doctors and other providers
Simply put, health care consumers crave the latest and best information they can find about health care, from information about procedures to support articles that help to keep them on track with their exercise or weight loss program.
This is a huge opportunity for health care providers to use Inbound Marketing to make sure those consumers are getting the information they need by producing and promoting informative content that will help consumers educate themselves about their health concerns. It's also an opportunity to make sure they are getting the right information, which will make conversations with health care providers a lot easier and more productive.
How To Get Started
It starts with creating great content that meets the information needs of consumers who are searching for health care information. Maybe it's a tip sheet on "A Parent's Guide to Having a Child Infected With Chickenpox", or a blog that focuses on the challenges of eating gluten-free or perhaps an app that can help manage a weight loss program.
Most health care providers are already producing - have produced - this information for brochures and fliers in the past, so repurposing to get it online is the most likely order of the day. There are dozens of great content opportunities for health care providers.
Once that great content is in place, the next step is promotion so consumers know the answers to their questions are out there and can find it. This is where social media comes into play. Recent studies have shown that 42% of consumers have used social media to access health-related consumer reviews, and 20% percent have joined a health forum or community.
Social media is particularly popular among younger consumers, who tend to trust it more as a credible source of information. Studies also show nearly 90 percent of young adults 18-24 would trust health information from social media.
What would this look like? The Content Marketing Institute featured a couple of great examples in a recent blog that are great examples and inspiration. The first example they featured was the Cleveland Clinic's Health Hub, a online portal for health tips and news, videos, physician blogs, etc. Launched in May, the site is drawing more than 100,000 visitors per month.
Another great example, the MyWay app from Children’s Hospital in Boston, which combines great content with an online tool help visiting families manage their visit. It helps patients navigate the hospital and satellite locations, find local restaurants and hotels, and even locate activities to entertain siblings during a child’s hospital stay. The hospital also has a powerful Facebook presence, boasting a primary page with more than 700,000 “likes,” as well as disease- and disorder-specific pages and online support groups.
By instituting Inbound Marketing, health care providers will not only be helping consumers, but they will be helping themselves through:
Better informed patients who have access to correct information they can use to help themselves and better understand basic health issues
More constructive patient-provider conversations because of that greater understanding
Greater trust developed between the patient and the provider, an important plus for providers who are building and maintaining a patient base
Given consumer demand for health care information, and the vast amounts of information health care providers already produce, Inbound Marketing seems a natural fit and a great opportunity for health care providers to better engage and attract prospective patients.