Building a good relationship with healthcare consumers on your healthcare or hospital website starts with taking the time to know how you can solve their problems. As a healthcare marketer, do you know what problems your consumers want solved?

With so many data sources available today, you don't lack for choices when it comes to finding out about your audience, their needs, and their interests. A/B testing can show how consumers interact with nearly endless elements on a web page — everything from the headline to banner images to the layout of key elements like directions, physician locators, and more. Analytics can help you gather incredible amounts of data about consumer habits on your website, what pages they're visiting, which pages they spend most time on, whether they're bouncing before hitting your physician profile page or signing up for an upcoming seminar on diabetes management, and more. It's what you do with this data that helps you create content to build loyal, long-term relationships.

Know Your Audience
You need to separate your team's assumptions about your consumers' needs with data about their particular pain points. This can help you avoid setbacks. For instance, your loyal consumer base might want an easier online option to make appointments, but if you spend time and money to deliver a fantastic website that buries the online appointment button, you risk losing long-time consumers and failing to attract new consumers.

Getting started is as easy as thinking about what kind of personas your consumers have. A persona is like a character based on your logical consumer base, a character with distinct demographics and needs from other consumers. Start by developing as many personas as you think you need for your consumers and your different service lines. Create a robust sketch of various consumers and how they make healthcare decisions, then back them up with interviews and information from your real consumers. At that point you'll be able to begin meeting your actual consumers' needs, as well as begin anticipating what information or services your consumers will want or need and providing it seamlessly through personalized web content.

What are personas based on? Data including background identifiers (education, income, leisure activities), demographics (age, gender, place of residence), and other details (preferred information sources, types of chronic illness, potential challenges for accessing your site) will give you enough information to get a good picture of who your consumer base is and the kinds of web experiences that engage them.

For instance, a young, female Millennial might want fast, mobile-friendly medical record access. An elderly couple might want information about specific conditions like heart disease or joint replacement. A dad of a small, low-income family will have different needs than a mom of an affluent, large, inter-generational family. An urban consumer might have a greater need for public transportation instructions than a rural consumer. Maybe the rural consumer wants greater access to telehealth or email options. Depending on the persona, you'll use different messaging, approaches, and more to personalize their time on your website.

Success, in the end, comes down to having a plan at the beginning. In healthcare marketing, it's essential to map out exactly what you want from your efforts — are you looking for more visitors to your new surgical center or to drive growth for your cardiology service line or a new physician group, for example. Let this strategy inform the steps you take to personalize your website experiences and which elements you focus on first.

The effort you put into defining a strategy and understanding the differences in your consumers is worthwhile. When your content hits the right mark, your organization gains credibility, boosts its value, and becomes relevant and essential to consumers.

Want to learn more about personalization on the web that drives growth for your organization? Download our white paper.