The integrative medicine market segment has been growing exponentially over the last decade. And for good reason!
Faith in mainstream medicine is lower than it probably ever has been, and with the rise of the internet and the new “self-educated” patient, natural cures combined with modern science is an attractive choice.
As more integrative (or CAM, “alternative,” holistic, or functional—whatever your preferred descriptor might be) organizations pop up, the competition grows stiffer by the week.
So, we did a deep dive into the latest marketing trends for our own integrative clients. And we decided to share what we learned!
1. Quality Over Quantity
The internet is a noisy place. It’s estimated that over 2 million new blogs are posted each day.
Meaning: It’s getting harder and harder to be found (literally) every day.
So, what’s the answer?
In the olden days, quantity was always the goal. In part, this was because the internet itself was pretty content-poor for a long time. Another reason this was the focus was because the search engine algorithms were set up to reward that metric.
Nowadays, though, the tables have decidedly turned.
Your blogging strategy should now focus more on great, long-form content.
Why? Because it’s more effective.
2. Social Messaging, All the Rage
People take their smartphones everywhere. And while you can’t safely walk and read, say, an article, you can still send quick messages back and forth.
Social messaging has blown up over the last year.
Check out these figures for total app users:
- Facebook Messenger: 900 million people and 50 million businesses
- Kik: 300 million people
- Line: 218.4 million people
- Snapchat: 100 million people
- Twitter Direct Message: 300 million people
- WeChat: 697 million people
More people use social messaging apps than social media in general as of the beginning of this year. Which is mind-boggling.
So, your organization should at least dip a toe into figuring out how to use these platforms to speak directly to your current and future clients. (Pro tip: If you’re over the age of 35, find a little kid and have her explain it to you.)
3. Video is King
The facts speak for themselves:
- 75% of online traffic is now video
- 55% of people watch online videos every day
- The second largest search engine is actually YouTube!
- 33% of all humans regularly frequent YouTube
- Putting a video on a landing page increases click through rate by 80%
- 400% of people will watch a video over reading something, if given the option
So… yeah. Video.
4. Live Video is Even Better
Over the last year, live video has become a massive draw for online audiences. In fact, 78% of online audiences are already watching video on Facebook.
The best part? It’s easy to do.
Facebook Live has exploded to the point that it’s almost become a channel in and of itself. There’s something about the immediacy of it that audiences—and YOUR audience—just can’t get enough of.
Schedule a Q&A. Give a virtual tour of your practice. Lead your Facebook fans in guided meditation. The options here are literally endless.
5. The Time/Convenience Shift
Gone are the days when clients were satisfied with sitting in a waiting area for even a half hour. As the world has sped up, buyers’ attention spans—and their patience—have decreased significantly.
Which means… your clients don’t give a darn about your schedule. They care about themselves. So, both your marketing and your office environment have to take this into consideration.
6. The Self-Educated Client
Part of the reason for the last trend is because of this one.
Basically, your potential clients are already 60% of the way through the decision to choose your practice over any other option. They’re impatient in part simply because they feel like they’re really deep into the process already. They almost know everything they think they need to know, and they’re just waiting for you to get in gear and make with the rest of the info quick-like.
7. Mobile First
Another trend in integrative medicine marketing is that mobile search is just continuing to get a larger share of the whole, year after year.
Which means that you need to focus on how your website, content, and every other digital part of your practice works on mobile devices.
Best practice: Focus on mobile first, and let those decisions cascade over into what you’re presenting on the desktop.
(I wrote a whole post on optimizing your mobile marketing here.)
8. Get Interactive
Interactive content has become a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Quizes, lists, questionnaires, interactive infographics… really, anything that requires the user to engage intentionally with your content is going to be a fantastic way to draw them further toward your core products and services.
9. The Digital Expectation
I very easily could have started with this one, but I saved it for last because, honestly, it’s the most important one.
If you don’t have a website, you are playing a losing game. As someone who is always looking for vegan recipes and the latest science on plant-based diets and new holistic medical breakthroughs, if I hear about your practice somewhere, get curious, look for your website, and then don’t find it?
You’re not credible. That’s the first thing I think. Every single time.
Even if you have a Facebook page, without a website, I’m not going to listen to anything else you say. It sounds harsh, but that’s how I think. And… I’m not the only one.
A step above—but not VERY far above—that level of suspicion-inducing no-website-ness, is if you DO have a website, but it looks like garbage.
There’s a cutoff somewhere where anything below a certain level of design quality is ruinous to your credibility.
I wish it weren’t that way. I really do. But, alas, this trend—along with all the others—speaks volumes about what you’re going to need to focus on to keep your mission of changing lives moving forward.