We’ve talked a lot about the consumer journey, how incorporating ongoing clinical data allows healthcare marketers to map the consumer journey to further drive engagement beyond initial engagement and scheduling. You can promote ongoing health for patients and keep them informed of health trends, upcoming events, and potential crises. (For a refresher, read more here, here, and here.) The consumer journey offers insights into what calls to action to offer prospective and current patients, so they can take the next step.

But knowing that journey and the ways you can engage prospective and current patients isn’t enough. You also need to know how to talk to the consumer to create effective interactions. Language is key.

If you met the consumer on the street, what would you say to them?

When creating a consumer persona, always remember that a consumer is a person. Get to know that person. The illness or issue a consumer is dealing with is just one part of their lives. They have a job, a family, other concerns and joys. Consider that when creating a consumer persona to talk to. When you’re drafting content, consider:

• The risk factors for the condition your product or service treats
• Factors like gender, age range, ethnicity, and lifestyle
• Likely socio-economic status
• Home life (Does the consumer likely have children? Are they at that age where they might be caring for their parents?)
• Life outside the home (What is their work life like? What might their leisure time activities be?)

Hubspot has a user guide for creating personas that might be helpful in addition to our library of information.

Acknowledge the differences between generations, but be careful not to stereotype. Researching the characteristics of the age of your audience will help there. For example, researching will debunk the stereotype that older Americans don’t get online; in fact, according to Pew Research, 64% of Americans 65 and over use the Internet, and 87% of American 50-64 years old use it.

Don’t forget about caregivers. Forty million Americans provide care and support to another adult. Their influence shouldn’t be ignored in healthcare marketing.

Too often, patient education materials suffer from a lack of readability, making them difficult for patients to comprehend. So your challenge is to translate the scientific and technical nature of healthcare into everyday language easily understood by anybody who doesn’t have a medical background. The old “Write at a sixth-grade level” advice holds especially true in healthcare marketing. Use plain language even when packing your content with great information and recommendations (and, of course, a call to action).

• It helps to talk about benefits, not features. Rather than talking about what a machine does in detail, keep it general and talk about how the procedure or treatment helps your consumer—helps locate the growth, or scopes out the root of a problem, for example.

Speaking of calls to action, make it easy for the reader to take the next step. At each point on the journey, the consumer has different needs. Make their options for the next step clear and easy to take. Link to patient stories and third-party reviews. Include contact information. Offer them access to make an appointment right now.

Talk to the consumer, not at him
Understanding the consumer experience and who your consumers are in each phase of their journey will allow you to craft engaging content that speaks to them in their everyday language with topics that are important to them and show the value of certain procedures or services to their life. Speaking in this personalized way helps you attract more prospects and actively give your patients the tools they need for better health.

Want more insight into personalized healthcare marketing? Read our guide, The Healthcare Marketer’s Guide to Driving Growth with Personalized Web Content.