Guest Column | January 10, 2019

A Guide To Attracting And Engaging Patients With Mobile Tactics

By Chris Girardi, Evariant

Patient At Doctor

Recent studies show that 52 percent of smartphone users gather health-related information on their phones. This rise in mobile health activity echoes the widespread change in user behavior; 52 percent of global online traffic is now generated through mobile phones.

Consider also that the majority of emails are now read on mobile devices and 61 percent of people have downloaded an mHealth app— it’s clear that health systems should be altering their strategies for attracting and engaging patients to be successful in this new world of widespread mobile use.

Let’s take a look at actionable ways healthcare marketers can acquire and engage patients more effectively using mobile marketing.

Optimize Your Website For Mobile Search

In response to the growth of mobile, search engines are fundamentally changing how they operate: In 2016, Google announced they’d begun experimenting with mobile-first indexing, meaning they would adjust their crawling algorithm to focus primarily on-sites’ mobile versions. The goal was to capitalize on the increasing popularity of mobile and make web content easier to view on mobile devices.

Now, as we head into 2019, Google’s mobile-first index is fully operational. To create excellent patient experiences on mobile, as well as to take advantage of the mobile-first index—from both technical and user perspectives—use the following strategies:

  • Focus On Page Load Time

Page load time is essential for keeping visitors on your site; if your site takes longer than three seconds to load, you are likely losing over half of your visitors. This is also crucial for your bottom line, since a one second delay in page response time results in a 7 percent reduction in conversions.

However, average mobile site load time is a , meaning that many sites are losing substantial numbers of visitors and conversions because of mobile page speed.

Large files and images, which may not affect page speed on the desktop version of your site, can severely due to hardware and connectivity issues. To combat this, minify any CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files larger than 150 bytes. You also can increase your page speed by reducing the number of redirects and unblocking JavaScript.

  • Modify Some Aspects Of UX

Certain elements of your desktop site that intend to improve the user experience don’t translate to mobile. For example, pop-ups can lead to a high bounce rate on mobile. To ensure you aren’t frustrating users, disable pop-ups for mobile visitors.

Another example is the Flash plugin, which may not be available on all users’ phones, causing them to miss engagement opportunities. Combat this by using HTML5 to create UX-focused effects instead.

These types of simple modifications improve patient experiences, boosting your acquisition and engagement rates.

  • Adjust Site Design For The Mobile User

While your site’s navigation and other clickable content can be any size on a desktop site, mobile users interact with your site with their fingers. Ensure your mobile site has buttons fit for fingertips so users can navigate the site and engaging with content easily.

Additionally, to create responsively-designed mobile sites. This means your mobile site will serve users the same content as your desktop site, but with a fluid grid and flexible design that automatically adapts to the size of mobile screens.

Create Mobile-Friendly Content

In order to attract and engage the 77 percent of U.S. adults who use smartphones, your content and communication should be easy to view and engage with on mobile. Consider the following platforms:

  • Email

Keep designs clean and simple to reduce load time, use a responsive template that will adjust automatically to users’ email service providers, make subject lines short—iPhones only display the first 30 characters of an email subject line—and include touchable buttons to drive back to your website.

  • Text Messages

Opt-in text messages can be a great platform for delivering patients like appointment reminders. Make sure your texts are short and to the point, include personal details like patient names and appointment times, and include a shortened, clickable link back to your website.

  • Social Video

By 2020, experts predict video views will account for of all mobile traffic, with close to taking place on YouTube. By including video in your social media posts and mobile-friendly webpages, you will help increase overall mobile traffic and engagement in the form of shares, as social video generates a staggering more shares than text and images combined.

  • Apps

As health apps continue to grow in popularity, mobile is a key platform on which to connect with large numbers of patients. to

You also can leverage your app through location-based marketing, serving patients advertisements and reminders specific to their local branch of your health system. Take the CVS Health app, for example – their app uses geolocation data to ping users with coupons or prescription refill reminders when they pass close to a CVS location. This level of hyper-convenience and personalization has resulted in numerous branding and financial wins for the company.  

Final Thoughts

Consumers now demand a higher level of service and convenience across their healthcare journey, forcing marketers to home in on the patient experience. By optimizing for mobile, you appeal to modern patient preferences, increasing your acquisition, engagement, and retention numbers.    

Remember: there is no one-size-fits-all mobile healthcare marketing strategy; yours should be unique based on your own goals, budget, technology, and resources. The first step is to create a detailed plan that outlines the actions you need to take to achieve your mobile goals. Also keep in mind that mobile is changing at lightning speed, so keep up with trends and technological developments so that you can adjust your marketing strategy to current markets.

About The Author

Chris Girardi oversees all staff and functions of Evariant’s multi-channel digital media offerings including planning, analysis, management, execution and analytics. He has over eight years of experience in digital media and direct response marketing.