Millennial patients are very different from previous generations in a number of ways. Marketing strategies that work for other generations aren’t always effective for millennials.
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are typically categorized as individuals born between 1982 and 2000. They are often known for being very savvy on internet and technology. Traditional marketing methods aren’t going to cut it with this group. As a recent Forbes article noted, millennials are likely to take control and shape the future of healthcare. The article also notes that currently, one-fourth of all Americans are millennials, so this is definitely a group healthcare practices should be paying attention to.
You have to take a different approach to marketing if you want to catch the attention of this group. Millennials approach healthcare differently than previous generations. They have different needs and concerns. If your practice wants to attract millennial patients, you have to adjust your strategy.
What Millennials Want
Millennials are more accustomed to using the internet and apps to accomplish things in their everyday lives. They are always on the go, and are looking for easily-accessible information and tools to help them accomplish what they need. Millennials have come to expect this same type of ease and accessibility with healthcare and health information.
Millennials are more likely to turn to online sources to get information about health or healthcare providers than other age groups, according to statistics from Pew Research Center. Millennials are also the most likely to want mobile-friendly solutions for health-related matters; of all age groups, they were the most likely to use their cell phones to look up health-related information. Additionally, a VisionCritical study found that 58% of millennials search on Google for information about health and nutrition, and 29% look for this information on social media.
Another challenge with millennials is that they go to the doctor much less frequently. A national survey by inVentiv Health and Harris Poll found that 62% of millennials only see a healthcare professional reactively, rather than for preventive measures. Convincing millennials that they need regular doctor visits is more of a challenge than it is for other age groups.
Additionally, millennials are now old enough to be parents, with the majority of the people in this age group being in their 20s and 30s. Millennials that have children are just as likely to look up information online about their child’s health. If they are first-time parents, they are likely to have a lot of questions, just as all new parents do. As you are likely well-aware, there are several parenting blogs and websites out there that will give parents incorrect information about how to handle their childrens’ health issues, so you also have to address that in your marketing.
With all that said, marketing to millennials will require a much different approach than marketing to older patients. Millennials have different wants, needs, and concerns, and you have to address all of that if you want to catch their attention.
Marketing Strategies to Appeal to Millennials
If you want to market your practice to millennial patients, convenience and mobile-friendly options have to be a priority. Because millennials are also more likely to seek health-related information online, you have to make it easy for them to find good, accurate information.
If you want to attract more millennials to your practice, you need to focus on these things first.
Mobile-friendliness needs to be the baseline for your marketing efforts if you want to attract millennial patients. They are more likely than any other group to browse the internet on their mobile phones. If your website content isn’t accessible on mobile or is difficult to navigate, they likely won’t bother with it and will move on to another practice. Millennials are used to using mobile devices for internet browsing, so they’ve come to expect that functionality from all businesses that they deal with, including medical practices.
Online Appointment Scheduling/Contact Options
Millennials like options, and many don’t want to wait on the phone to schedule an appointment or get an answer to a question. In fact, a Pew Research Center study found that younger people tend to send text messages and browse the internet more frequently than than they make voice calls on their mobile devices. For this group, it’s really important to give them the option to contact you online or via text message. These statistics indicate that millennials just don’t make voice calls as often as other generations, and giving them other options to contact you could be a way to make your practice stand out.
Based on the statistics and studies mentioned above, we know that millennials are more likely to seek health information online than other age groups. The problem is, online health information is not regulated–anyone can go online and post anything, and patients can be misled by that content. It can be difficult to tell whether or not information is accurate. Your practice can help combat this uncertainty by creating your own content to help inform millennial patients so that they make the right decisions for your health. Informative content also helps with your ranking in search engines, so millennials searching online are more likely to find information about your practice.
When Dr. Justin Smith was a guest on our Paradigm Shift of Healthcare podcast, he explained how a good content strategy helps the doctors at his practice have better conversations during office visits. Dr. Smith is a pediatrician at Cook Children’s, and a lot of the parents he interacts with are millennials. Dr. Smith knew that those parents would be looking for information on search engines and social media, so he regularly develops and posts content on the Cook Children’s website and social media to help answer common questions and give parents an idea of what to expect.
At first, Dr. Smith was the only one at his practice creating this type of content. His colleagues didn’t think it would be beneficial until they saw how Dr. Smith was having more productive conversations with the parents of his patients. Now, his entire practice participates, because Dr. Smith’s content strategy keeps these parents engaged and satisfied with the care their children receive.
Online Appointment Scheduling/Contact Options
Millennials like options, and many don’t want to wait on the phone to schedule an appointment or get an answer to a question. In fact, a Pew Research Center study found that younger people tend to send text messages and browse the internet more frequently than than they make voice calls on their mobile devices. Additionally, a 2017 report from Salesforce found that 58% of millennials would like their healthcare providers to offer tools like digital assistants to help them book appointments.
For this group, it’s really important to give them the option to contact you online or via text message. These statistics indicate that millennials just don’t make voice calls as often as other generations, and giving them other options to contact you could be a way to make your practice stand out.
Even if your practice currently doesn’t treat many millennial patients, keep in mind that this kind of patient behavior will eventually become the norm as each age group gets older. Stay ahead of the curve now, and you’ll be in better shape for the future.