Health Care Marketing: Understanding the Consumer Journey & Patient Needs

| July 09, 2018

On average, 42 percent of Americans make the internet their first stop when they need medical information and resources. Understanding who these people are, and the journey they take on their way into diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, is critical to providing the best experience possible, which also includes marketing and the digital experience.

On average, 42 percent of Americans make the internet their first stop when they need medical information and resources. Understanding who these people are, and the journey they take on their way into diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, is critical to providing the best experience possible, which also includes marketing and the digital experience.

To help health care providers align a digital marketing strategy with patients needs, TENGA experts Paul Turk, Erin Schendle, and Jenn Wiles took an in-depth look in this month’s Digital Live Webinar, chock-full of insights for private practices to understand the consumer journey. They’ve identified the health care audience, the ways they interact with digital content, and which channels are most effective at reaching them.

1. Identify the audience 

For a typical private practice, the ideal target audience consists of five different segments.

  1. Those aged 65+. Healthcare spending for this age group is about three times more than the rest of the population and is expected to grow 35 percent from 2015 to 2025.
  2. College-educated Americans. They are 28 percent more likely to believe that the benefits of preventative medicine outweigh the risks.
  3. Households with income of $100k or more, households with moms and children, Gen X and Millennials. However, this is a challenging segment, because they are more likely to still drag themselves to work, instead of the doctor’s office when they are sick.
  4. The 24 percent of consumers who use social media for gathering health care information.
  5. Bilinguals. Those who speak both Spanish and English are 53 percent more likely to take counsel on health issues from their friends.

Opportunity for patient acquisition
There are lots of marketing opportunities for patient acquisition as many different health care verticals grow. For example, Urgent Care is growing dramatically with more than 10,000 clinics nationally and more than 15,000 visits each year per clinic. On top of that, one-third of dentists experienced an increase in patient volume in from 2016 to 2017, and 87 percent of people with vision insurance plan to get an eye exam within the next 12 months.

2. Understand the patient journey

For 48 percent of patients, two weeks of research time is needed before scheduling an appointment. This means they are consulting with a multitude of sources throughout their journey to wellness. It starts with symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. When they are ready to schedule an appointment, one in five will do so through a computer, mobile app, or a mobile browser.

Not every patient journey is the same, as there are multiple ways and platforms patients use to find health care services near them. That also means that there are multiple ways health care marketers can reach their target audience, as detailed in the infographic below. Keep in mind that marketers can use any and all of the channels detailed below, in any order, to reach their target audience and new patients.

–> To learn more about how OTT, Linear Broadcast and Local Broadcast Sites and Apps, Pre-Roll Video Ads, Native Content, Brand Building and SEO, Search, Social, and YouTube Advertising, Targeted Display, Targeted Email Marketing, can help your private practice, get in touch with a TEGNA Marketing expert today.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at the two most effective channels for healthcare marketing: PPC and Social Media Marketing.

About Search and Pay-Per-Click Ads

One in 10 Google searches are for health-related information, making the landscape very competitive, especially at a local level, as most health care providers treat patients within a 100-mile radius of their location. That means it’s critical to have a strong, local presence within search.

Also known as PPC, search ads are paid ads connect you to patients to strengthen web presence, build brand recognition, and generate new patient growth. Search drives nearly three times as many visitors to hospital sites, compared to non-search visitors. That’s because when patients see a paid search ad, they take action:

  • 29 percent begin the research process as a result of seeing a PPC ad.
  • 28 percent visit the website of the advertised hospital.
  • 35 percent conduct searches for more information.
  • 5 percent contact the hospital that was advertised.

About Social Media Advertising and Management

Nearly 24 percent of consumers use social media for gathering healthcare information. The information they’re accessing shows that patients are taking an active role in their health, including eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, eating healthier foods, and searching out information on food products. All these factors combined just go to show that a strong social presence with a good reputation is more important than ever.

Do you have the type of information these consumers are looking for? Social ads can bring them to your Facebook page, and social media management makes sure they like what they see when they’re there. Therefore, brand messages should highlight its reputation and encourage patients to leave positive reviews.

Other social insights from the webinar include:

  • 78 percent access social media on smartphones.
  • 52 percent say they talk about things they see on social media in face-to-face conversations.
  • 54 percent of social media users check social media at least 3 times per day.
  • 29 percent are more likely to have visited YouTube in the last 7 days.

About TEGNA

TEGNA wants your patients to be happy, healthy, and informed. Our team of experts takes the time to understand your unique marketing needs and goals to create a customized solution based on insights and industry expertise. From concept development to implementation and measurement, we offer the highest level of support as your marketing partner. Get in touch with one of our experts today.

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