Let’s be honest. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. Conversion rates, patient volume, revenue, et cetera, et cetera. And when those are the highest priority, it shows in your marketing, leaving your patients thinking things like, “I’m sick of these emails clogging my inbox,” or, “Is this really about keeping me healthy?”
There’s a simple solution to this: Put the patient at the core of everything you do.
We know that’s easier said than done when you have budgets, timelines, and goals to meet. But trust us when we say that operating for the patient’s benefit will benefit you, too.
Patient-first communication strategies discuss the stuff that matters
As with all great work, you’ve got to start with a strategy. Take stock of your resources — what’s truly valuable to a patient that they’d want to know about? The same goes for news updates. Communication about the goings-on within your organization should be relevant. New treatment options available to them are good to know about, but internal staffing updates are probably less interesting to a patient.
This isn’t to say reaching out is a bad or pointless thing. Quite the opposite, actually! Communicating consistently helps you stay top of mind, meaning you’re more likely to be one of the first places someone turns to when they’re looking for care.
It’s not just how you talk, but where you talk
What you say to your audience also depends on where they are in the patient funnel. Are they looking for specific information about a service line? Looking up more information about your brand? Trying to make an appointment?
Each of these needs can be answered best through different forms of content. Here’s how you can match the type of content with the type of information your patients are looking to find:
What the user wants:
- Informational: user wants to find an answer
- Navigational: user wants to find a specific page or location
- Commercial (Validation): user wants to investigate a brand
- Transactional: user wants to complete an action
Where they can find it best:
- Informational: Blog, Condition & Service Pages
- Navigational: Location, Provider & Service Pages
- Commercial (Validation): Awards, Reviews & Patient Stories
- Transactional: Hospital Pages, Provider Pages, Scheduling
By choosing the right medium for the right message, you can make sure your patients are getting exactly what they’re looking for (and nothing else).
Communicating is good. Communicating strategically is better.
Consistent communication lives alongside a long-term strategy, which you can begin creating in three steps:
- Audit your current communication strategy. When was the last time you spoke with your patients and what about? Most importantly… how did you speak to them?
- Plan ahead. Priority number one is making sure your content is patient-centric. You want to talk to them, not at them. Additionally, cross-organization understanding creates a two-way street of understanding and allows all the service lines to talk to patients together.
- Know how to talk the talk. Part of relevancy is accessibility, which includes using terminology that everyone can understand. In other words: Ditch the medical jargon.
So there you have it. Three steps for a long-term, patient-centric communication strategy. Patience is a virtue, but if waiting to watch the long-term results come to life is a struggle for you, don’t worry. There are ways to generate a quick win right out of the gate. Namely, auditing your patients’ inboxes. Look at how many emails you’re sending them in a month and determine if you need to increase your input or take it down a notch. Boom. Information acquired, decision made, quick win achieved.
Are you ready to evaluate your current strategy and put the patient at the center? We want to talk.