Amazon does it by curating product recommendations. Nike has taken it to another level with its SNKRS and NikeID apps. And Coke celebrated it for years by replacing its own brand name with people’s first names.
What’s worked for all kinds of companies — personalization — is the key to creating lasting relationships with consumers. And while many were slow to adopt this mindset, most healthcare providers now know what they must do. The challenge lies in the execution.
Engaging today’s patients — savvy healthcare consumers — requires knowing and accommodating each patient’s communication preferences, personal needs and healthcare-shopping habits. Providers who deliver are rewarded with more personal patient connections, longer relationships and increased revenue.
Here are seven strategies for personalizing your patients’ healthcare experience:
1. Turn your patient portal into a personal engagement tool.
One of the keys to a strong patient-provider relationship is accessibility. Providing anytime access from multiple devices, a dedicated patient portal enables patients to view test results, get answers to questions, request prescriptions and more.
Wondering what patients want from a patient portal? This 2019 survey can help. Having this always-open communication channel can foster a sense of loyalty — a cornerstone of any healthy relationship — between both parties.
2. Use a CRM to warehouse your learning about patients’ needs.
The foundation of every lasting patient-provider relationship is trust, which is formed by understanding and addressing your patients’ needs and concerns. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help your healthcare organization learn what's important to your patients by tracking every interaction they have with your team. By pulling data from several sources, a CRM can create holistic, 360-degree views of your patients.
Equipped with these insights, you can engage them with targeted content between visits, from appointment reminders to personalized emails with links to information about their specific interests.
3. Understand the journey.
Today’s healthcare consumers have more tools than ever to help them choose and manage their own care. To better understand a patient’s healthcare journey, providers are turning to journey mapping.
Journey mapping is a strategic exercise used to evaluate every touch point a patient has with a healthcare provider, from initial research to follow-up care. Guided by these maps, healthcare marketers can improve patient engagement — including providing more personalized communication — every step of the way.
4. Deliver content that matters — to your patients.
Patient-centric content, not surprisingly, begins with an understanding of the patient. And this kind of insight is rooted in data. That’s where patient surveys, pay-per-click ads, and engagement with your website, blog and social media pages come into play. With the help of a CRM and journey mapping, you can engage your patients with targeted content in the form of blog posts, treatment guides, email nurture campaigns, social media posts, e-books and more.
5. Empower with email.
Ideal for nurturing relationships, email enables providers to build upon existing relationships by sending relevant, timely information straight to their patients’ inboxes. And while this marketing channel has been around for decades, it still does the job — and then some. According to a multi-industry study, the average open rate for healthcare emails is more than 23%, with an impressive 3.62% click-through rate. What’s more, personalized emails are six times more likely to drive a conversion.
There are all sorts of marketing automation tools — from list-builders to tracking, monitoring and testing tools — designed to make launching a personalized email campaign efficient and stress-free. Your agency partner can help recommend and implement one that’s right for you.
6. Be social.
In addition to connecting with and engaging current and prospective patients through fresh content, social media platforms can also be a vehicle for personalization. Retargeting ad campaigns allow you to place the most relevant content in front of your audience based on their prior activity. Social chatbots can take personalization to new levels thanks to ever-improving AI. And social quizzes and assessments can both build your email lists and become highly sharable.
Another great way to build your email marketing lists is by incentivizing your social media visitors through chats or giveaways — or by adding a link to follow.
7. Create an omnichannel experience.
Giving your patients access to relevant information when and where they want it is a critical part of patient engagement. Today, it’s also table stakes. To give patients a truly personalized experience, omnichannel marketing integrates multiple, cohesive touch points throughout the patient journey — from content interactions through email subscriptions and mobile apps to appointment scheduling.
Whether it’s finding a treatment guide, scanning social media or taking a survey on your website, patients want to feel personally addressed by and connected to the content and services you present them. An omnichannel marketing strategy can give them that experience.
Of course, this strategy requires both the right tools (like journey mapping, CRM and marketing automation) and the right team to support it.
Conclusion: Tap Into the Power of Personalization
Nurturing long-term relationships with your patients begins with adopting a patient-centric approach — both to care delivery and to marketing. Personalization is a critical part of this process, but if it’s done right, all of the pieces fit together.
Need help personalizing your healthcare marketing experience? Hileman Group has the expertise and tools to help you form lasting relationships with your patients. To discover how we can help, contact us.