Let’s imagine a situation where all marketing efforts of a healthcare provider are aimed at reaching everyone and everywhere. Or maybe you have already made this mistake?
You lose the budget, and your marketing campaign is doomed to failure.
The only workable way out and a key to success in medical branding is to accurately determine your target audience of patients. Believe us, you know who you need, where these people live, what they need, and how you can communicate with them directly.
The process of delivering a marketing message includes many components. In order for your brand to be heard and effective, it is extremely helpful to know exactly who you want to contact. This is who you want to see on the threshold of your clinic.
The exact target audience is also important for advertising. This will allow you to create an interesting and attractive message that will resonate with your patients by using the right advertising channels.
Your task is to visualize your healthcare audience as if it were someone you know. This applies to medical institutions of any type from multidisciplinary clinics, doctors and surgeons to dentists and pharmaceutical companies. The more accurately you define your specific audience, the more opportunities you will have to get a positive response and keep high retention.
And we are happy to provide you with some tips about targeted marketing strategies we have personally used. Let’s get started!
Stages Of Determining The Target Audience
First, you need to make sure you know where to start. The wisest thing to do is to follow these 4 stages.
#1. Initial analysis
At this stage, it is necessary to determine:
- Product or service properties
- The pros and cons of a service or product.
#2. Survey of existing customers
You can make up a short questionnaire about your services and products for existing customers and send them the questionnaire via email, SMS, or just simply call them. If you use practice management software and CRM systems, you can collect all the necessary metrics with the help of the built-in analytics module.
#3. Comprehensive analysis of all services
This involves identifying both internal and external factors of the organization, such as strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and risks.
#4. Study of the target audience
Finally, you can turn to healthcare marketing itself. You need to perform the market segmentation according to common characteristics. For example, you are engaged in nephrology, therefore, the most advantageous areas will be urology and nephrosurgery.
4 Ways To Identify Your Target Audience
There are several ways to describe the target patients. Most likely, you will use the following four main categories.
In short, you need to answer the question "where"?
Which specific territory would you like to occupy?
Usually it is a metro station, a city district or several residential complexes that are adjacent to your clinic. When defining geography, do not forget psychological and physical barriers.
These include age, gender, family size, occupation, education and income.
There is no doubt that teenagers and elderly people use different channels to receive medical information, or book an appointment. Pediatric marketing differs greatly from gerontologist medical marketing. Don’t mix all genders and ages in one campaign.
Medesk allows you to set arbitrary parameters in your reports and get filtered data. For example, you can create a report on a specific group of patients, on a selected employee, his position, department, as well as by any tags.Learn more >>
Here, personality traits in general, behavior, and lifestyle are of top importance.
What are the ongoing needs of your patients? What are their loyalty characteristics?
Are brand-new ideas and innovative technologies easily perceived?
Social status can be called a psychographic characteristic as it combines education, level of income, religious views and occupation. Market segmentation by psychographic features is the process of dividing all market buyers into homogeneous groups according to criteria such as:
- Motivation to purchase goods
- Personality type.
Your existing and potential customers require varying levels of healthcare services, and the quality of your marketing campaigns will vary as well. They have multiple problems that you must examine.
The target audience can include not only direct consumers, but also those who make purchase decisions or influence them. Such people are called decision makers, or reference groups. For example, doctors are reference groups for patients when buying medicines. Housewives are a reference group for the whole family when buying food. You must consider these factors.
Taking into account these factors, we have created an example of a target audience description:
Married couples living in a particular area (at a metro station) aged 22 to 35 years. They have at least one child and live in a separate apartment. They have a higher education. Their joint income is £2000 and above. These are busy young couples who believe that time is a valuable and limited resource. They are physically active and have a positive outlook on life. Having studied the information on the Internet, they make their own purchase decisions.
The more accurately you can describe your patient, the more effectively you will be able to develop your brand and reach your audience.
Types Of Target Audience Research
Now we are about to shed some light on the most powerful directions for collecting information about your patient experience. Here you will receive information directly from people who are representatives of your potential audience.
Qualitative research relies on interviews to gain insights. With its help, you can learn about the motives and problems of the target audience. You can ask people who have already purchased the product why they bought it.
Interviews can be conducted in various ways:
- In person
- By phone
- Via a referral program
- Through messages on social media.
If you need to personally communicate with each respondent for an interview, then online survey tools allow you to create a questionnaire and send it to. You can quickly interview a large number of people, though this method has some disadvantages. You cannot ask clarifying questions and will not be able to give explanations if the person does not understand the question.
Here are some ways to organize an online survey:
- Using the survey service on the website
- Google surveys and e-mail newsletters
- Through targeting social networks.
Open sources of research data
Various companies conduct market research. Some of these studies are closed, but some can be found through search engines.
For example, using Google trends, you can learn about trends for certain queries. It helps to understand whether the audience's interest in a particular product is growing or falling.
Reviews and opinions in thematic communities
For example, there is a huge forum for patients where they communicate on various topics like bipolar disorder, dementia, anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health problems. This is an excellent testing ground for studying the target audience for clinics that provide mental health treatment. After reading the relevant topics for a couple of hours, you can make an approximate portrait of the client.
Places where you can find discussions and reviews are:
- Social networks
- Review sites
- Patient aggregators.
Customer data from CRM and databases
If a healthcare organization is serious about collecting information about clients, then most likely they have a high-quality CRM and a website database where information about customers and their orders is accumulated. With this information, you can get a lot of insights into patients’ preferences.
Medesk helps to manage the work with patients. The platform tracks the entire history of interaction with them: from the attraction channel to the profit received.Learn more >>
In order to understand the target audience through competitor analysis, it is pertinent to ask yourself the question:
Why did competitors do this?
Observe other healthcare professionals: how they work, what methods they use when working with clients, what are their sales results for a month, for a year.
But it is also crucial to understand that competitors may have made mistakes in their decisions and this may lead you to false insights. You must think critically and question the information collected.
The methods described above will help you get the most useful information about the consumer, and explore the range of services that are in demand.
It is important to understand that clients are heterogeneous. It cannot be covered with one tool. In such a situation, it is necessary to segment consumers into primary and secondary.
- Attract primary patients to the clinic by offering affordable services.
- Reduce the time between visits to the clinic.
- Increase the average check at any stage of treatment at the medical center.
The channel that gives fast and effective results is contextual advertising. With the help of search engine optimization data, queries can be segmented properly for good results.
Displaying campaigns that cover a huge audience of different sites and applications will complement contextual advertising very effectively.
It is not so difficult to turn customers into regular ones. Use personalized offers like e-mail and SMS digital marketing including:
- An appointment reminder
- A message about the results of tests.
Important! Contextual advertising is only possible if there is a site that is fully ready and works correctly. The selling qualities of a medical institution's website directly affect the number of conversions from advertising.
Healthcare Marketing Strategy On Social Media
Understanding the audience and the specifics of the main sites allows you to determine the positioning of the community on social networks. The key point for clinics is the emphasis on a positive tone, from which all communication must flow. This is how it manifests itself in various aspects of running a community.
Content marketing is the best solution here.
Avoid the official tone and negativity that is associated with diseases and medical procedures in your writing. Instead, the main focus is on staying healthy.
The topic of diseases should be raised carefully. This is because negative emotions are always associated with the fear of getting sick, or with the illness of loved ones and their own suffering.
Visual design and branding of content is another weakness of groups and clinic pages on social media.
The decision to join the group is based mainly on two things: the name and the avatar. The avatar must be vertical. An image of a smiling doctor and a happy family is the visual solution. At the top is the company logo.
We also recommend adding a navigation menu to the group. The sections can be as follows:
- "About us"
- "Contact us".
In the "Photo Albums" section, you can post photos of the clinic, awards, and reports from events. For example, participation of doctors in symposiums, visits to the clinic by high-ranking persons. Discussions should have a fixed post with community rules, as well as topics: question-answer, reviews.
One More Word About Content
Published content can be divided into two parts. The first is promotional content, i.e. everything related to the brand, services, doctors, clinics. The second category is neutral, informational and educational publications.
In our experience, the optimal combination of neutral and promotional posts is 70% and 30%, respectively.
Within each direction, it is necessary to approve the headings for which you will create content. In the case of promo posts, this is:
Medical center in person
An introduction to the doctors and nurses of the clinic, with photos, a biography and motivational statements about their work and patients. This category helps to build a personal perception of the clinic and increases the level of trust in it.
Recovery stories of patients with photos
It is important to focus on the positive aspects of the clinic.
A story about the clinic's services and about modern methods/equipment that are used in the clinic. The goal is to emphasize the advantages of the clinic.
Educational materials that debunk myths and provide practical information: how to choose a clinic, how they differ, what prices.
Information about the achievements of doctors, speeches at specialized events, new services and promotions.
“The power of getting to know one another is so immense, eclipsed only by first getting to know ourselves.” ― Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason
Social media can be a helpful source of understanding your target audience. However, to make this process more fruitful, you must always be in touch with your patients, answer their questions, and make comments. This is the only way to get the most out of social media target marketing.