When the Pew Research Center first surveyed mobile phone ownership in 2011, only 35% of Americans owned a smartphone. But in less than a decade, the share of Americans that own a smartphone has climbed to 77% — rivaling desktop or laptop computer ownership. Additionally, 53% also own tablet computers.
With all of that in mind, is your patient acquisition strategy built to reach today’s very mobile healthcare consumers?
Best Practices for Driving Digital Engagement
The ownership data above suggests that mobile device adoption now transcends what was once a generational divide between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers now spend about five hours a day on smartphones — only 30 minutes less than Millennials. One significant difference, however, is in how screen time is spent: Millennials spend 48 minutes a day texting, whereas Boomers spend nearly the same (43 minutes) reading email — which didn’t even make the list for Millennials, according to the research by Provision Living.
What should healthcare organizations incorporate into their mobile strategies to boost patient acquisition and engagement?
- Responsive websites — In the age of healthcare consumerism, patients start their healthcare experience long before they walk into a doctor’s office or hospital — on Google. And whether it’s to look up symptoms, read user reviews, get directions or make an appointment, odds are that a good number of those searches will begin on a smartphone. Your website needs to be optimized for equally-great user experiences on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
- Mobile apps — Patients may spend several hours on their smartphones every day, but talking on the phone only comprises a fraction of that time. The rest of the time is spent in a variety of apps, from Facebook to YouTube. The 2018 Statista Global Consumer Survey found that in the past 12 months, 19% of respondents reported using healthcare-related apps dedicated to fitness and nutrition, meditation and sleeping, medication reminders, symptom checkers and more.
- Text messaging — When it comes to mobile marketing for healthcare, text messaging is an unsung hero, enabling two-way communication between patients and providers for anything from symptom monitoring to wellness care reminders. Fierce Healthcare notes, “The secure communication platform should be SMS-based, considering 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind and text messages claim up to a 99% contact rate.”
- Videos and live-streaming — Video content emerged as a digital marketing trend several years ago, and consumer-centric brands have fueled its growth. Consumers routinely turn to mobile devices to search for medical information, so healthcare brands that deliver health and wellness advice on video can attract a wider audience.
- Email — Baby Boomers spend a good portion of their mobile screen-time reading email, so this ‘old-school’ marketing tool is still a viable option for reaching a key population of healthcare consumers.
Your existing marketing data can also answer important questions about your best acquisition channels and engagement patterns:
- Which channels perform best for acquisition?
- What devices are being used to connect with you?
- When is the best time to reach your audience?
But reaching healthcare consumers is only half the mobile marketing battle. A one-size-fits-all mobile strategy will lose traction pretty quickly because patients bring different attitudes to their healthcare experiences.
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations must deliver messages that motivate—whether it’s to choose a primary care provider, make healthy lifestyle changes or follow a post-operative care plan. Our proprietary psychographic segmentation model analyzes consumers’ beliefs about health and wellness, lifestyle characteristics and preferences and places them into one of five groups.
By understanding the differences between a goal-oriented Self Achiever and a live-in-the-moment Willful Endurer, healthcare providers can fine-tune messages to improve patient acquisition, activation and engagement with individual patients. And those mobile apps mentioned above? Balance Seekers and Priority Jugglers are the most likely users, so speaking to their particular needs and expectations can help drive adoption and usage.
With the right combination of mobile marketing strategies and messages aligned to different psychographic segments, digital engagement will climb—and so will acquisition and retention rates.
For more on psychographic segmentation and patient acquisition, download our whitepaper.