Why Intent Marketing Matters in Healthcare

Intent marketing in healthcare

Today’s patient journey starts with a question, and patients expect answers. Succeeding in this new era of search depends on meeting them wherever they’re searching — giving them access to all the answers about your organization exactly when they need information.

This is the idea behind intent marketing, the practice of marketing your health system based on a patient’s intent to seek out your services, as demonstrated by their actions.

How do you determine patient intent? Well, your patients are expressing intent in their search behavior billions of times each day — particularly in the highly specific, multidimensional queries they’re now making more often. Did you know that an estimated 50% of searches contain four or more words? People are being retrained to ask search engines for exactly what they want, and while these natural language phrases have a lower search volume, they express strong intent to transact — and they convert at 2.5x the rate of single keywords

Drive revenue with intent marketing.

In building an intent marketing strategy to meet patients where they are, your healthcare organization should focus on ranking for two types of high-intent queries. The first is the classic high-intent search for terms like “find,” “book,” or “visit.” The second is ensuring that you can provide answers for those natural language, multi-dimensional patient queries that are most likely to convert. 

Let’s use an example of each: A customer is searching for “book appt throat doctor near me.” They’re likely looking to book an appointment in the near term, while a user searching for “what does an otolaryngologist do?” is likely less likely to book an appointment in the same session, and will probably need to do a bit more research before booking an appointment.

Similarly, a search for “best dermatologist near me who takes Blue Cross” is customized to a highly specific, near-term need — making it a much stronger predictor of intent than a general search for the keyword “dermatologist.” The idea behind intent marketing is that this very specific search is a better predictor of an intent to seek healthcare services than a general search. 

Understanding when someone is taking an action that expresses a strong intent to work with your organization is key. It empowers you to focus on the right patients, and reach them at the right moment. Intent marketing helps you maximize your marketing budget by driving more conversions than you would with more general tactics like demographic-based targeting alone.

If your organization can incorporate data to better understand patient intent and then align your marketing to specific outcomes, you can reach patients in the moments that matter, generate a more efficient media spend, and drive more revenue as a result.

According to Think With Google, “people now expect to be assisted everywhere, and that means it’s critical that you’re measuring and understanding the impact of your media touchpoints on the consumer journey.” Success today means, “helping your marketing team understand the intent, interactions, and signals that are driving long-term growth.”

Download our white paper The New Patient Journey to learn more about how to meet your patients everywhere they’re searching.

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