In Healthcare Marketing, Don't Fear "Fear"

There's value in talking about the scary stuff. Just ask Amy Gulden, Digital Marketing Manager at Center for Diagnostic Imaging. Her medical imaging marketing team (along with us here at Idea Decanter) have been talking about patient fears and working those worries into CDI's healthcare marketing strategy. And it's paying off (with impressive audience growth). Here's how:

 

Patients are searching online

It may seem counter-intuitive to talk about what your patients fear. Traditional marketing strategy would have you avoiding the negative and focusing the message on the positives. But online search has changed all that. Patients aren't looking online to see that YOU are great. They are searching for answers to things that concern them.

According to the annual MARS study, 75% of adults search online to find health and wellness information. How often? Of the respondents, 22% turn to internet sources at least once a week. In fact, an estimated 42% of Americans turn to the Internet first to find out information about a specific condition, to compare doctors or health care facilities, or to get tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Proven tips from healthcare marketers

When we asked Amy Gulden of CDI if it was scary to talk about what scared patients, she said, "Sure! It felt like a little bit of a risk to talk about fears in our marketing." Talking about services or the expertise of the team is a safe bet in any marketing play book. But Amy's team was finding that patients weren't coming to their website through organic search for that kind of content.

The team knew without a doubt that one of the biggest obstacles for patients needing an MRI is claustrophobia. When CDI posted interviews with real patients talking about those fears and provided ways to tackle them, they saw immediate results. Now, CDI has built a digital content strategy around identifying the questions patients have and then providing answers. Keep in mind, Amy says, the strategy didn't appear overnight. It took some testing and experience.

 
CDI has built a digital content strategy around identifying the questions patients have and then providing answers.

You don't have to be scanning claustrophobic patients in small spaces for the "fear" factor to be an effective marketing strategy. Think of what problems your patients have and how you can answer them authentically. For Jessica Diaz, Sr. Director of Brand & Marketing at Landmark, one of those problems was miles. Many of Landmark's patients had a loved one at a distance who was trying to make care decisions. Anyone who has been in that position can tell you it's a helpless feeling. There's only so much you can do from several states away when your mom or grandma needs ongoing medical care. Landmark (with some help from us) introduced their audience to Anne and her niece. The two had an 1,800 mile divide and Landmark caregivers were there to bridge the gap.

 
Think of what problems your patients have and how you can answer them authentically.

If you think about it, talking about fear in an open an honest way is really just confronting pain points. And that's marketing 101. So when the discussion comes up around the conference table about whether your digital strategy should get that real, consider the success stories above and make your case.

 

>>>Want to read our most popular Healthcare Marketing Blog? Here's a case study of how to use video marketing to connect patients + doctors.

 

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Laura Garfield