To effectively market services, it is crucial to understand what drives a patient to need those services. This is the case no matter the industry. It is especially important in healthcare due to the complexity of the industry, the length of the patient journey, and the implications on the health of real people. By developing a better understanding of the patient journey and assessing the best places in the journey to bring awareness to your practice, health systems can expect an increase in return on ad spend (ROAS), an increase in revenue, and a more seamless process of acquiring a new patient.
Awareness is the first stage of any health journey. This is where a patient assesses their symptoms and decides whether or not medical intervention is required. This process may take the form of search inquiries, online research, or reaching out to peers on social media. This is also a health system’s widest part of the patient acquisition funnel and the first opportunity to put their brand in front of potential patients. At this stage, consumers are looking for answers, and health systems can strategically position their marketing campaigns to bring maximum awareness to their locations and services.
Help is the first point of direct contact between the patient and a health system and can take place through a phone call, form submission, email, etc. This is where a clear understanding of health system’s key performance indicators (KPIs) becomes vital. Landing pages and calls-to-action on ads can be designed to directly encourage these kinds of interactions and bring more patients into a location’s doors.
Treatment is the point where a potential patient transitions into an actual patient. Although the patient has moved down the funnel, this is not a reason for a health system to quit its marketing efforts. At this step, a physician is providing on-site care and potentially suggesting follow-up care or assessment. If a health system is seeing large trends in certain searches in the awareness phase, it is smart to enhance its campaigns for follow-up services. This will ensure the brand continues to be relevant at each step of this journey.
Behavior Change and Proactive Health is the set of steps taken after diagnosis and treatment to limit readmissions and ease symptoms. This should ultimately be the goal of any healthcare provider. Granted that the quality of care is high, an ongoing relationship can be built between the patient and practice. At this point, emphasis on brand awareness has been converted to care and a solid dialogue between all parties.
Patients want their healthcare journey to be as easy as possible, and with such easy access to information, this is more possible than ever. By deliberately designing brand and service awareness efforts to be an easy solution for potential patients’ healthcare needs, marketing campaigns become a convenient tool for making healthcare decisions and a reliable operation for health systems to bring in new patients.