Growing importance of Healthcare in India
Shift in Indian family culture from joint to nuclear setup has increased dependency on medical care for elderly parents and family. Rising income level, greater health awareness, increased incidences of lifestyle diseases and access to insurance contribute towards growth of healthcare industry. The phenomenon of family doctor is also fading away with urbanization. This, along with digital marketing has stirred a revolution posting challenges and opportunities for indian healthcare industries.
Facts on Indian Healthcare & Connecting with Digital Patient
The Indian healthcare industry is expected to grow at CAGR of 22.9% during 2015-20 to US$ 280 billion. Healthcare delivery, includes hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostics centres, and pharmaceuticals, constitutes 65 per cent of the overall market. Today, the consumers are no longer satisfied to blindly accept what a doctor tells them. They prefer doing homework before visiting a doctor. This means that the doctor no longer has the only say on medications, hospitals, treatment, and more. Healthcare is more like the collaboration between the doctors and consumers, thus catering to the needs of digital marketing for hospitals.
Understanding Diseases, Diagnosis & Treatments:
The consumers of healthcare in the internet age want to be better informed before making any decision and hence, have a pro-active approach to resolving any medical condition. There are many online resources, particularly international web portals such as WebMD, Medicinenet, Mayo Clinic, right diagnosis, etc., provide a plethora of other health related information in areas of disease research, drugs, treatments and healthy living etc.
Searching Doctors/ Hospitals:
People are increasingly searching for doctors across locations. Platforms like Practo and Medindia facilitate online search of doctors across such parameters.
Waiting on a call to speak to a doctor or in a queue outside the doctor’s clinic is soon becoming history.
Availing healthcare online is an emerging trend which provides instant preliminary medical consultation/assistance, irrespective of patient’s location.
Booking Nurses/ Caretakers online:
Given the growing aging population and the emergence of nuclear families in India, the need for homecare to monitor the heath of the elderly / sick remotely, or to arrange for paid assistance at doorstep when required is increasing.
How Healthcare Industry can leverage Digital Marketing?
The key challenge for doctors and service providers in this industry is to gain visibility in light of massive competition and create differentiation in consumers’ minds. It has thus become imperative to deploy modern marketing channels of digital marketing for gaining patient leads, building brand presence , maintaining reputation both offline and online, and proactively keeping in touch with the existing patient base in the most cost efficient way.
Why Digital Marketing is a Gold Mine?
Digital marketing channels to be leveraged include :
2)Search engine marketing
3)Social media marketing
4)Mobile marketing and
Digital Marketing can bring value to a clinical practice by the following ways:
Values to a Clinic
1) Increasing Patient Base
•Design user friendly website
•Make the website SEO friendly so that the audience/patients can find it easily
•Direct traffic to website using Digital/ Online Ads
2) Reputation and Brand Building
•Maintain Social Media Presence on various platforms and engage proactively with audience
•Create easy brand recall through blogs and by posting relevant literature to gain customer’s mindshare
3) Streamlining Appointments and Reducing Patient Waiting time
•Limit waiting time by enabling appointment booking on Website and following it up with SMS/ Email
4) Relationship Building
•Stay in touch with both old and new patients through Email Marketing, sending regular e-newsletters/ Updates/ offers.
How Digital Marketing fits the patient life cycle?
Consumers hit the search engine as soon as they need any medical service or information.
The patient is diagnosed with a condition and searches about the illness from traditional and online sources Digital strategies: Web Content Management – The content must be enticing enough to capture consumers interest and attention. Relevant content about illness to be published by healthcare experts. Digital Ads & Campaigns – This targets relevant consumers based on their requirements by creating awareness and assisting in decision making.
Customer has decided medical treatment and is weighing options of cost and quality. Customers start searching hospitals, seek references, take peer reviews and opinions before enquiring with the shortlisted hospital. Digital strategies: Search Engine Marketing – This allows products and services searched to be highlighted and ranked high during web searches. Ensure positive reviews; get experts to talk about brand.
The customer is undergoing treatment and is associating the experience with his perception. Digital strategies: Listen to customers feedback and take immediate actions to rectify the image.
Once the patient is discharged, he is looking to share his experience, who is seeking advice. Digital strategies: Social Media – Sharing experience on Facebook, Twitter, Blogging. Leverage brand influencers and convert them into advocates.
Digital Marketing in Healthcare
Example – How Apollo Hospitals utilizes Digital Marketing platform effectively
Apollo’s Digital Strategy
Apollo’s domain is about 18 years old . Their page ranks 5/10 and their global Alexa score is 57938. Apollo has more than 62000 backlinks from 1500 reference domains which provides huge advantage to their search engine rankings. Apollo is optimized many keywords and tops the list for having the best healthcare associated words.
Apollo has a spectacular Social Media presence with about 2 Million Fans on Facebook. Brand posts about 6 updates per day to educate people and respond to queries and comments received. On an average, they get about 200 people engaging to their posts. Also on Twitter, the brand has 69800 followers. Its tweets per day is 10 which is very active. Also, the hospital conducts campaigns/contests regularly. On LinkedIn, it has 22817 followers. It also stands tall on Google+ with 42000 followers. The brand has 921 subscribers on YouTube.
The Way Forward
Clearly, a host of opportunities exist for the Healthcare companies along with challenges. However, the use of right digital strategy will be differentiate the grain from the chaff.
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