Stop Marketing and Start Actually Engaging with Your Health Care Customers by Content Creation.
Updated: Mar 4
Photo credit and article first published Feb 28th via AMA's Health Care Newsletter.
How do you talk about your organization and the care you provide? Does your content use terms like “clinically integrated network,” “accountable care organization,” “population health” or “improved patient outcomes”?
There's a better approach to engaging your customer with content creation.
This language probably perplexed you the first time you heard it, and it could be preventing you from making a meaningful connection with your target audience.
As an Atlanta-based branding and market research firm focused on content creation for healthcare communications, we believe today’s healthcare systems and providers speak far too often in their unique lexicon or use industry jargon. There’s a better way to effectively communicate. Healthcare brands—hospitals and physicians, payers and plans, and medical device companies—that want to be understood and relevant to their target audience — whether it’s employers, patients, members or even healthcare professionals — must remember to position their communications as people speaking to people, rather than defaulting to the language of their business.
The nature of healthcare marketing demands a more personal approach to the content creation process. Speaking in everyday, conversational language has the power to warm up a brand and make it more approachable. It also allows for clarity with the message your organization wants to communicate.
Follow these tips for clear communication with your healthcare marketing and content creation.
Tip 1 Content Creation - Create Personas
Do you really understand who your organization is trying to reach and what that audience wants to hear from you? Do you have the data you need or is market research needed to create the right content? Before you can connect with them, you must understand them. Personas, informed by market research, allow you to develop the right messages for distinct audience segments and the different content needed across the customer buying journey.
Personas help you understand your customers as people — not demographic or psychographic profiles. They create a better understanding of each segment and make it easier for marketing, communications and sales to create content tailored to the specific needs, behaviors and concerns of each group. Developing and using these profiles leads to better experiences and brand connections through increased relevancy.
What should be included in your personas?
· Motivations for purchase/pain points.
· A description of the desired experience they seek.
· Current perceptions/potential obstacles.
· Where and when they interact with your brand and why.
Personas can be created in many ways; the most robust is by gathering insights through partnering with a market research firm to design a study to interact with your different customer segments. Companies with limited budgets may want to consider tapping into the sales team’s customer knowledge
Tip 2 Content Creation - Evaluate Your Brand’s Voice
Does your organization have a brand voice — the guidelines for the tone and style of communication? It's a critical input in the content creation process. Think of it as the way you express your brand’s personality. Is it friendly and approachable, yet caring, or is it corporate and transactional? Having a distinct brand voice creates consistency and clarity in your organization’s communication with internal and external stakeholders.
The tone should be appropriate for the company’s vision and match your understanding of the organization’s role in the world. The central tenants should be expressed, communicated and adapted across all communications. Though a press release will not be as casual as a blog or social media post, these different vehicles will share the same tone, always reflecting the company’s vision and values.
Tip 3 Content Creation - Use Everyday Language
So much of a company’s internal lexicon is just that — internal! Your target audience, particularly consumers or patients, don’t speak or think in jargon. Everyday language means translating technical or industry-specific expressions into common words. Imagine you are explaining a concept to a seventh grader. Would they understand it? Simplicity is always best.
In our market research for a health benefits provider, we asked their ideal customers — HR directors and C-suite executives — what different terms and expressions meant to them. We asked about “consumer-driven health plans,” “medical captive solution” and “population health.” Our market research firm's findings emphasized that while a few industry veterans knew, for example, what a clinically integrated network is, in general, most buyers didn’t understand it.
This underscores the importance of using everyday language and defining industry-specific terms with your healthcare marketing. When people have to work to understand what you are talking about, you lose your connection to them. Using simple words, descriptions and analogies creates greater engagement with a broader base of potential or existing customers. When that light bulb of understanding clicks on, it also deepens your relationships — which is key to build loyalty.
Tip 4 Content Creation - Tell Stories With Customer Testimonials
Another tip for connecting in a genuine and credible manner is by having people — buyers, members or patients — tell your stories and support your message. Is a CEO or HR Director extremely satisfied with how their employer benefits plan is working? Are members of the plan really enjoying their new wellness program?
To create content that is compelling ask your best customers to share heartfelt and authentic testimonials. Did a member just lose 65 pounds through the wellness program and lower their A1C score and cholesterol? Did an employer help their employees get moving with an internal fitness challenge and in the process help 25% of their employees complete their first 5K? If you need to start small, consider using a headshot accompanied by a clear and compelling quote for use online, in collateral materials or on social media. If you have more resources to invest, consider developing video testimonials to increase the engagement level.
Tip 5 Content Creation - Visually Engage
People remember images much better than words or statistics. This is one reason that more companies - B2C and B2B - are leveraging videos to showcase their brand and its story, offer demos or tours, or share patient stories. Infographics, social media and video all offer a more compelling and closer look at the customer experience, along with the opportunity to answer questions. You can address what to expect, showcase people who are happy with their experiences and offer glimpses of facilities and the culture.
Whether you use video or images, you are building deeper connections with your target audiences through engaging visual communication, which enables you to tell stories that touch the heart and portray empathy — important characteristics for health care brands. This helps move perceptions away from a nonpersonal entity and focus on what really matters to your target audience: how you help people.
About the Author | Carolyn Kopf
Carolyn Kopf is the founder and managing partner of C.E.K. & Partners, an Atlanta-based branding, market research and content creation agency focused on healthcare marketing and fintech/payments. The company offers a range of services including market research, brand strategy, content creation, and creative design services supporting digital marketing including website design.
Carolyn can be contacted at 404.345.6447 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article adapted from the one first published Feb 28th via AMA's Health Care Newsletter. https://medium.com/ama-marketing-news/stop-marketing-and-start-actually-engaging-with-your-health-care-customers-ab68e7f5aa7e