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2018 Medical Marketing Outlook

2016 Medical Marketing Trends

OptiCall’s annual Medical Marketing Outlook analyzes data from over 1 million patient phone calls to determine the most effective methods for converting more calls to booked appointments. Our comprehensive report evaluates 10 different digital and traditional marketing tactics and compares them to performance in previous years to reveal key trends. The results help your practice build a marketing strategy for a successful year ahead. Without further ado, here are the latest insights.


When Patients Call, They’re Ready to Take Action


One of the most interesting insights from 2017 was 75% of prospective patients who spoke with an OptiCall patient counselor booked a consultation.

That’s an incredible number, and it goes to show when patients have made the decision to call your practice, they’re also ready to take that additional step of booking a consultation. All you have to do is ensure your staff is providing the customer service that makes them feel comfortable and confident in their decision to move forward.

If you’re finding you aren’t seeing the same success with booked consultations from calls, it might be time to re-think how your practice manages the phone:


  • Are you missing phone calls? Only about 15% of callers will leave a voicemail if unable to reach someone at the time of their call. If your practice is in the habit of missing calls, consider the missed opportunities at filling physician schedules. Make 2018 the year every call gets answered.
  • Are you providing an exceptional experience? The phone call is the first impression on your practice, and putting people on hold can also be a major turn off. A survey indicated about one third of people said they’re unwilling to wait on the line, and 27.6% said they would only hold for 1 minute. It is critical you have the available staff to answer the phones and the time for them to address questions and concerns.
  • Are you offering complimentary consultations? There are two key reasons you may not have many booked consults. One, they aren’t free, and two, you don’t ask for them. Our clients see the highest conversions when they eliminate the cost barrier by providing free consults. We also invite them – not with “Would you like to come in..” but “When would you like to come in for a free consultation?” For best phone management, staff must be proactive.


2017 Medical Industry Snapshot

How did you hear about us? % of all Booked
Change from 2016
Referrals 55.58% 0%
Internet 26.13% 2.28%
Radio 6.65% -1.75%
Signage & Billboard 2.26% -0.17%
TV 2.15% -2.52%
Print 2.06% 1.55%
Insurance 2.03% -0.01%
Event or Health Fair 0.42% -0.01%
Direct Mail 0.34% -0.01%


Referrals are Still King

Word-of-mouth referrals are still the single most powerful way to get qualified leads who end up booking a consult. Our data shows they’re not only holding strong, accounting for over half of booked appointments.

One of the best parts about word-of-mouth referrals? They’re essentially free marketing! Clients who have a great experience and love their results want to share their story. On the flip side, they’re even more likely to share negative experiences. That’s why it’s important your practice provides an exceptional patient experience from beginning to end.


Internet Searches Hold Strong

Internet searches are the strongest performers in our Internet category and were up a few percentages this year. With mobile on the rise, we’re likely to see Internet Searches grow even more.

Mobile’s Impact on Conversions is Growing

Mobile search is becoming so powerful that Google indicates 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results, without even visiting the website.

The ability to “click to call” so easily from a mobile device is an important, tech-savvy convenience that builds brand perception and facilitates a purchase. Nearly half of mobile searchers indicated not having a call option would cause them to be frustrated and likely to turn to a competitor.

We believe Google organic and paid search (PPC) on mobile could be the reason Web Booked Consults also took a major jump. Instead of having to navigate the practice website, search results go directly to a specific landing page with highly relevant information pertaining to that specific search.


Social Media: Facebook, Instagram & YouTube are Trending Up

Yelp, being a respected platform for reviews and commentary on personal experience, still heads the Social Media category in driving leads; however, it has been trending down in recent years. Facebook, while still a distant second, showed a notable jump. Instagram and YouTube also increased, proving practices need to cater to the growing trend among consumers for visual content.


While Marketing trends may go up and down, it’s clear the practices who focus on providing an exceptional experience will fare well on two powerful channels – Word-of-Mouth and Yelp.

It’s also imperative practices are optimizing their Internet Search efforts so prospective patients can not only find you in the research process; but when they’re ready to make the call, you are easily accessible from search results.

OptiCall’s core business model is focused on the client experience and ensuring every call gets answered. To learn more, and to request a free practice assessment to prepare for the year ahead, contact us.