In modern society, we’re absolutely bombarded by content; the internet grows by over 2 million new blog posts, 864,000 hours of video content, and 294 billion sent emails every single day!
Multiply that by a lifetime, and it’s staggering to think about the level of competition there is for a person’s attention.
The question marketers must now ask themselves is, how do I create content that will not only grab a consumer’s attention, but inspire them to purchase? In the healthcare space, where consumers have an ever-growing abundance of choices, marketers must focus on crafting strategic content that will uniquely resonate with audiences and create patients for life.
Let’s take a look at three key methods you should leverage to ensure your healthcare marketing content supports the journey from lead to new patient:
1. Define Your Value Proposition
Before you begin creating content, consider your value proposition. This is a clear articulation of why patients should choose your health system over one of your competitors. Value propositions are not high-level mission statements; instead, they go deep into how your organization provides solutions for patients.
So, what makes a good value proposition? Be sure to include the following elements:
- Clarity: It should be easy for patients to understand— wording should be direct, to-the-point, and digestible in a few seconds or less.
- Relevance & Specificity: You can have more than one value proposition, depending on who your content’s target audience is. Make sure each defines the unique benefits you offer for that specific audience or buyer persona.
- Data: Including metrics like industry statistics help you paint a clear picture of your value; instead of vaguely saying “we provide better care”, it’s much more powerful to say, “our readmission rate is 25 percent lower than the national average”. Concrete metrics are an excellent way to concisely drive home your distinct value.
An effective value proposition can be a key differentiator when it comes to conversions— analysis of top brands over a ten-year period showed that those with strong propositions achieved an average growth of 168 percent, compared to 27 percent for brands with weak propositions.
2. Personalize as Much as Possible
It’s no secret that personalization is a key factor for success in healthcare marketing— patients now expect health systems to anticipate their needs and address them effectively. Additionally, personalization creates an emotional connection between organizations and patients, which can positively influence purchasing behavior.
When it comes to marketing content that converts, personalization is essential; 65 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that sends them relevant, tailored content.
A key tool to support this effort is a healthcare CRM (HCRM). This technology platform gathers patient data from various sources— demographic, psychographic, behavioral, financial, and more— and compiles it into holistic, 360-degree patient views. With access to HCRM data, you can fully understand individual patients’ needs, including how they are most likely to convert.
Using HCRM data, personalize healthcare content by:
Including Localized Details
It typically doesn’t do a patient who lives in San Diego any good to hear about services in New York— they are extremely unlikely to convert from across the country, making mass outreach a waste of marketing spend for you.
So, tailor marketing content for each location/region using demographic data from your HCRM. You can also go a level deeper by integrating geo-fencing campaigns, which can target individuals within 20 meters of your location. As with any type of personalization, location-based personalization ensures your content is relevant to the consumer and can help drive conversions.
Targeting by Need
Use HCRM data to create propensity models, which are predictive models created using a number of variables, that identify the best prospects for targeted marketing efforts. Creating propensity models helps you segment patients into groups based on what they need from health systems— like those likely to develop Type II diabetes or require hip replacement surgery.
You can then use this information to create strategic marketing campaigns that are related to the target audiences’ needs. For example, campaign content for likely hip replacement candidates in a certain geographical area could include information about an upcoming seminar one of your physicians is giving on bone health. Customers want products and services specialized to them, so deliver using propensity modeling and targeted content.
Using Multiple Channels
The majority of consumers now prefer to interact with businesses across multiple channels. If marketers meet this customer preference by providing multi-channel marketing content, they see enormous benefits; 90 percent of marketers report higher profits and sales when marketing across channels, and 52 percent say multi-channel tactics cause them to “usually” or “always” hit their financial targets.
While the overall messaging of your content should be consistent across channels to create a harmonious experience for patients, there are key content marketing tactics to keep in mind, depending on the platform of delivery:
- Email: Subject lines are crucial in email marketing— they are the first thing recipients see and are often the difference between them opening or marking as spam. In subject lines, keep length to maximum 10 words, use patients’ names, clearly state your value proposition, and include action verbs. Within emails, include clear call-to-actions (CTAs), use imagery with alt-text, and be clear and concise with your text, aiming for 200 words or less for nurturing emails— when it comes to email content, less is more.
- Social Media: While some social media content best practices can vary by platform, general best practices are: be succinct, incorporate images and videos, include a link to a target landing page, and use any available tagging methods such as hashtags.
- Website: Across your web pages, make sure each page has a clear heading that both intrigues patients and tells them what the rest of the page will be about. Your page headings are essential, since 73 percent of buying decisions are made when customers come in contact with headlines. Your web pages should also include prominently-placed CTAs, specifically prior to the scroll.
As you deploy content across channels, continually use A/B testing and performance measurement to determine what is performing well and how you can optimize to increase conversions.
3. Tailor to the Patient Journey
Throughout the phases of the patient engagement journey, content should vary to meet patients’ needs, mindsets, and what they require to convert at each step. Consider the stages of the patient engagement journey and what marketing content should look like during each:
During the awareness stage, the consumer recognizes there is a medical issue they must address and performs self-guided research, typically online. Marketing content designed for patients at the awareness stage should be educational in nature; the goal is to give patients information about their condition, rather than be outwardly promotional.
Consider the common queries patients may be researching— “nearby flu shot clinics”, “ACL surgery options”, or “migraine treatments”— and create content that addresses them.
At the help phase, consumers are now aware of what kind of treatments or services they need to solve their problem and go about finding them. This stage also typically includes the patient’s first contact with your health system, whether it’s via call center, online form submission, or another method.
Here, content marketing efforts should be specific and designed to spur action. For example, you could email a patient a comprehensive guide called “What to Expect at Your ACL Reconstruction Consultation”, which not only helps the patient feel confident scheduling an appointment, but makes it easy to do so by including a direct CTA.
The care stage is the clinical appointment, where the patient meets with providers. It’s important to send patients pre-clinical content like appointment reminders or driving directions to ensure complete conversions and reduce no-show rates.
The treatment phase includes post-clinical follow-up care such as medications and physical therapy. Healthcare marketers can provide content aimed at helping patients adhere to their specific treatments, such as instructional pamphlets.
When a patient is discharged, care doesn’t stop; during this phase, it’s your job to help patients make changes to reduce readmissions and practice proactive health. Marketing collateral during this stage should encourage patients to follow post-clinical care instructions, such as scheduling regular screenings or meeting with a dietician, that will positively affect their treatment outcome.
Ongoing Care/Proactive Health
The key initiative at this stage, which occurs between clinical visits, is to foster ongoing engagement between patients and health systems. Content marketing at this stage should focus on retention, which extends patient lifetime value while promoting overall health. Tailor communication to each patient’s unique long-term health goals, while also keeping your organization top-of-mind so that patients will return to you if they need care in future.
No matter the phase of the patient journey, the overarching goal of content marketing is the same: encourage patient acquisition and retention.
When creating your healthcare content marketing strategy, keep this in mind: every touchpoint is an opportunity for you to introduce or reinforce your value to patients, so place a high degree of importance on each piece of content they come into contact with.
Treat each patient as an individual and focus on meeting their unique needs, depending on where they are along the patient journey, which content channels they prefer, and what types of services they’re looking for from a health system. This type of patient-first approach not only increases conversions in the short-term, but lays the groundwork for lifelong relationships and long-term success.