Playing the Numbers: 20 Reasons You Need a First Class Internet Plan for 2014

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Animated laptop handing out a first aid kitCuriously, the vast majority of all US hospitals do not participate in social media. We can’t help but wonder (and worry) if this at all reflects how some healthcare marketing pros are planning for the New Year. Having anything less than a first class Internet and social media strategy would be a large and painful shortfall.

It’s not just hospitals. Every stop on the medical provider spectrum—from health system to provider—should be gearing up for a greater emphasis on digital media. If you’re not doing so, you’ll likely be out-distanced by your competition in the months ahead.

And—just in case your need some persuasive ammunition—here are some key data points to help shape your plan for reaching your target audiences, increasing awareness, extending your branding messages, and protecting and extending your professional reputation.

Why you need nothing less than a first-class Internet and Social Media Marketing Strategy:

80: percent of Internet users (59 percent of US adults) seek online health information [Pew]

48: percent search for information on behalf of someone else [Pew]

36: percent search for information for themselves [Pew]

55: percent of Internet users search for medical treatment or procedure information [Pew]

47: percent of Internet users look online for information about doctors or other health professionals [Pew]

38: percent of Internet users look online for information about hospitals or other medical facilities [Pew]

77: percent of patients used search prior to booking an appointment [Google]

Ages 30-49: group most likely to search online for health topics [Pew]

Ages 50-64: second most likely group to search for health information online  [Pew]

41: percent of people said social media would affect healthcare provider selection [Pew]

Why you need original (and authoritative) online content:

77: percent of Internet users read blogs [HubSpot]

60: percent of people who feel more positive about a company or health system after reading custom content [ContentPlus]

70: percent of customers who prefer getting to know company from articles rather than ads  [ContentPlus]

 Why you need a marketing-smart mobile strategy:

34: average number of times per day people check their Smartphone [Personal and Ubiquitous Computing]

64: percent of decision-makers access email via mobile devices [TopRankBlog]

40: average number of daily text messages among Smartphone users [Pew]

30: percent of patients using tablets or mobile devices for research and/or appointments [Google]

Why you need digital video in your marketing mix:

1 billion: YouTube unique user visits per month [YouTube]

Ages 18-34: US adults reaches more adults in this group than any cable network [YouTube]

87: percent of US Internet audience—188 million US Internet users—watched 37.7 billion online videos in August 2012 [comScore]

You may be familiar with some of these numbers, so feel free to send them along to others in your organization or administration (where some doubt may linger.)

More importantly, take another look at your upcoming marketing plan. How are you meeting the demand for online search? Have you bolstered your creative content and digital/video tools? Are you prepared for an even bigger trend to mobile devices? Don’t let the competition have a running start.

RELATED: And for additional reading (and more persuasive numbers) on this vital topic, see: Your Hospital Digital Doorway is Bigger Than You Think and 13 Reasons to Write Your 2014 Marketing Plan in Pencil.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA


Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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