Posted: February 13, 2018

Savvy healthcare marketers understand the challenges facing today's industry. Your healthcare consumer base is increasingly technology reliant but, depending on their specific demographic, has varied access to messaging, and covers a diverse range of people.

In short, as a healthcare marketer, your job is to appeal and connect with both a specific audience and also with virtually any potential or current healthcare consumer in your market.

Sure, that task seems overwhelming, but if you and your team can segment your audience using data to discover preferences, you can find new approaches to engage your consumers effectively.

The right approach is key
With so many different audience segments, a one-size-fits-all approach won't work. If you want to reach your entire base, you have to mix up how you present information. And with a base that includes virtually all ages, with drastically different technological capabilities and access, varied socio-economic households, including a variety of cultural groups and traditions, deciphering the best approach is tricky — but not impossible.

Here are four approaches to consider in order to broaden your reach across your base.

1. Use Data to Understand Your Consumers
Start by familiarizing yourself and your team with the different ways the consumer base aligns with, uses, and digests information. Shape campaigns to mirror what you find. Do a little investigating, and find out the specific breakdown of your consumer base. Do they use technology and have reliable access to it? They might respond best to calls to action on your home page. Will they appreciate personalized emails about their own healthcare or will they find that intrusive? You can modify your approach based on your research. Do your healthcare consumers deplete the stack of print material in your office or does it just languish? Determine what information your consumers are taking with them and use that as a springboard for additional, directed materials.

2. Focus on Relevance
Make sure your information is relevant. Quick calls to action, how-to lists, and quizzes (print or online) can alert healthcare consumers to health conditions that need attention, can provide basic information, or can discuss the specialists they might see before directing them to your organization. Engage consumers with social media posts based on trending topics. For instance, there are months devoted to health awareness (Crohn's and colitis in January; heart health in February) that are prime times for launching awareness with a campaign.

3. Put Your Message in the Right Channel
Get the information in front of your consumer. Tech savvy healthcare consumers who read up on specific topics while waiting in line, on a long commute, or with a quick cup of morning coffee are natural audiences for short blogs, email newsletters, Q&As, longer form articles, infographics, and social media campaigns. Marketers can help by making sure the information is in a place easily found by consumers by optimizing keywords for high visibility in search and social channels. Hospital websites can offer a "topic of the month" column or a Q&A with a specialist physician. From a home page, a physician's office or service line page can link to blogs about issues most important to those groups of patients. For example, a GI office might offer flyers or printed infographics about common foods that contribute to reflux or an online blog about symptom management.

4. Test and Measure to See What Works
Try a few approaches and reassess what works. Web-based approaches can help your audience reach out to you with a simple click on a “Watch the Video," “Sign Up Now,” or "Click to Call" button. This path can also generate important social media shares and likes on sites like Facebook or Instagram that raise your visibility. Including a simple one-click option on your home page or campaign page gives your consumer an easy way to get in touch (and helps you capture user information). Drive your audience to your web pages with short urls that aren't cumbersome and are on target.

For print, you can try a mix of leave-behinds and direct mail campaigns to use as a launching point for consumer engagement. Be sure to make the visuals clean and appealing, include how you can help them, and provide information on how they can get in touch.

Keep track of the clicks, calls to campaign-specific phone numbers, web traffic, form fills, etc. along the way so you can assess which tactics are most successful and thus most repeatable.

Mixing up your marketing approach — whether it is social media, print, web pages, or email — brings in a broader range of your audience, builds their trust with accurate information, and will keep consumers engaged and coming back.

Want more insight into how a balanced marketing strategy can help your organization be more effective? Request a free healthcare marketing assessment.