What makes your hospital or medical practice stand out from the crowd when it comes to patient acquisition? Given the rise of healthcare consumerism, traditional tactics — billboards, ads and direct mail campaigns — are falling short. And with innovative disruptors like CVS Health, Amazon, Google and Apple entering the fray, healthcare providers need to up their healthcare marketing game to attract new patients and retain existing ones.
In fact, according to the 2019 State of Consumerism in Healthcare study, 88 percent of surveyed healthcare providers admitted that “… hospitals and health systems are vulnerable to consumer-friendly offerings from non-hospital competitors.” How can you level the playing field?
Use psychographic segmentation to boost healthcare marketing relevance
Brands that consistently achieve top marks from consumers understand that experiences are personal — and what’s more personal than a person’s health? Yet, too often, hospitals and other healthcare providers default to generic marketing appeals and clinical messaging that leave potential patients feeling uninspired.
Managed Healthcare Executive notes that “For healthcare marketers this means knowing what’s important to people, what truly matters to them and why they do what they do.” The article goes on to note, “It’s about connecting across the customer lifecycle around personal, relevant motivations and deep, sometimes even unconscious desires, like freedom, happiness, personal goals, or the ability to be a better parent or partner.” But how do you figure out what makes healthcare consumers tick? The c2b solutions psychographic segmentation model offers valuable insights for five unique patient types:
With 12 simple questions, hospitals and other healthcare organizations can identify the motivations and communication preferences of consumers specifically related to health and wellness. In turn, they can use these insights to enhance effectiveness of patient acquisition campaigns, as well as ongoing patient loyalty and engagement efforts.
Balance Seekers, for example, are wellness-oriented, but they don’t see physicians as the only information source for managing their health. These independent-minded consumers will consider alternatives to traditional health recommendations and as such, appreciate healthcare providers that are candid and flexible in their approach to health and wellness.
At the other end of the spectrum, Direction Takers are, as the name suggests, more likely to accept physicians as experts and want clearly-defined goals to follow on their health and wellness journey.
With such diverse perspectives in play, a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare marketing won’t deliver the desired results. But with simple adjustments to marketing messages, hospitals, medical practices, and other healthcare-related organizations — even non-traditional ones — can give patient acquisition efforts a much-needed boost. What else can make a difference in attracting (and keeping) patients?
Think outside-the-box for improved patient acquisition
You don’t need to look further than your mailbox to know that many healthcare organizations still rely on an old-school marketing playbook. But glossy hospital newsletters or oversized postcards touting local healthcare facilities are likely to be relegated to the trash bin without a second glance. Instead, healthcare organizations need to deliver timely, personalized consumer experiences across a multitude of channels. Here are four more tactics that are proving effective — particularly when they also integrate psychographic segmentation to increase the relevance of the message.
1. Support self-education
The latest data from Pew Research found that 80 percent of Americans, roughly 93 million people, have searched for a health-related topic online. In fact, only two other searches — checking email and researching a product or service before a purchase — were more popular. That’s a big opportunity for healthcare organizations when 3.5 billion Google searches are made per day.
Commenting on the survey results, Pew Director of Research Susannah Fox notes, “It tells us that people are turning to the internet to make better decisions in their lives, whether buying a book or making a health decision.” Make sure your healthcare organization has a solid, mobile-friendly web presence offering easy-to-understand health tips and wellness education materials, including video.
2. Take advantage of geo-location
While we’re talking about the internet, take full advantage of location-based SEO search. When consumers search online for a healthcare provider, whether it’s an emergency or a regular visit, they usually include the phrase ‘near me.’ In fact, almost 46 percent of Google searches are local searches. If your hospital ER, urgent care or family practice isn’t building a keyword strategy that highlights the convenience of locations and lingo related to local micro markets, you will lose out on your most immediate opportunities for new patient acquisition.
3. Engage influencers and advocates
Much of the time that consumers spend online is used to look at reviews and testimonials. According to NRC Health research, six out of ten people have selected or rejected a doctor based on reviews. What’s more, the research found that 37 percent of people visited online reviews as their first foray in searching for a new doctor.
Quality of service and positive health outcomes are top priorities when consumers are choosing a hospital or healthcare provider. Current patients can be great advocates for healthcare organizations, so encourage patients to provide testimonials that speak to factors that matter to empowered healthcare consumers, such as convenience (i.e., locations/hours) or their care experiences to attract new patients.
4. Build a library of educational videos
Short, digestible videos on preventive care topics, as well as after care for hospitalizations or chronic disease management, position healthcare organizations as authorities for medical help. More critically, when it comes to patient acquisition, the reach of YouTube videos is profound. YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network in America in an average week — representing key segments of the population that are ripe for recruiting as new patients. Done well, YouTube videos are very effective for communicating health information, as the Mayo Clinic has proven with nearly 300,000 subscribers and more than 94 million video views.
Looking beyond traditional tactics, channels and messages — and aligning healthcare marketing messages to psychographic segments rather than demographics or diagnoses — can put your patient acquisition on a much healthier trajectory. What do you need to add to really take off?
For more on c2b’s proprietary psychographic segmentation model and tips for effective patient engagement, download our whitepaper.