As the healthcare landscape evolves, patients become increasingly proactive in seeking information and taking charge of their health. This shift has had a profound impact on the success of various healthcare marketing strategies. As a result, one of the most powerful, innovative tools is marketing automation.
Marketing automation is technology that manages engagement across various channels and automates marketing and sales processes to:
- Provide educational information
- Send appointment reminders or other personalized messages
- Attract patients
This software allows healthcare practices to automate repetitive and monotonous tasks so they can focus more on strategic initiatives.
Using Marketing Automation for the Patient Journey
The purpose of marketing automation is to anticipate the patient’s needs and guide their actions to the next step in their treatment journey. Healthcare practices can no longer rely on a one-size-fits-all marketing approach. Now, they must now take into account the different stages of the patient journey to create targeted and effective marketing campaigns.
How the patient journey progresses varies significantly based on the patient and what services they are seeking. For example, the timing of a patient journey seeking liposuction vs. a patient who needs a coronary artery bypass will be very different.
Once your practice has identified all potential patient journeys, you can more efficiently send patients to the next step using strategic touch-points during each stage of interaction. Let’s take a closer look at how marketing automation can be used to optimize the patient journey:
Step 1: Awareness and Research
In the early stages of the patient journey, prospects are typically just becoming aware of their condition that needs to be addressed, or they are now deciding to take action about an ongoing issue. At this stage, it’s crucial to provide them with helpful content that can educate them about their condition and the treatments available.
Marketing automation can be used to send targeted content based on their interests and condition to guide them towards the best solution. For example, a patient deciding on an elective procedure would benefit from learning more information about their procedure because they have lots of time to:
- Research if they are a candidate for the surgery
- Make a decision about the type of surgery
- Select who their surgeon will be
- Choose where the procedure will be performed
In contrast, a patient who has been recently diagnosed with cancer will benefit from more action-inducing content about finding a physician and a second opinion on treatment because time will be of the utmost importance to maximize their patient outcomes.
Step 2: Consultation and Decision-making
Once patients have completed their research, they will typically start evaluating different treatment options and consulting with physicians to make decisions about their care.
At this stage, marketing automation can help guide them through the decision-making process. For instance, if a patient is considering surgery, marketing automation can send them a checklist of questions to ask their physician so they can get all the information they need before confidently making a decision.
Marketing automation can also be used to encourage patients to take action. For example, your practice could send a series of emails that:
- Offer a free consultation or discount on services
- Compare different treatment options
- Provide information about the benefits of choosing your practice over another
This stage is when patients are most likely to be influenced by marketing messages, so it’s critical to ensure that your content is compelling and resonates with them.
Step 3: Treatment and Follow-up
Once a patient has selected their treatment, it’s essential to continue providing them with constructive content that will help support them through the entire process. This type of information could include tips on:
- Preparing for treatment
- What to expect during treatment
- How to manage common side effects
- The recovery process
- Living with a chronic condition
You can also send congratulatory content that celebrates milestones along their treatment journey, such as completing surgery or reaching a biomarker goal.
Step 4: Ongoing Care and Support
Once a patient has completed treatment, it’s crucial to maintain communication and engagement to support their ongoing care. This content may include information about:
- Managing their condition
- Addressing new symptoms
- Staying healthy
- Finding support groups
Your practice may also use this period to ask for feedback about the patient’s experience. This feedback can provide you with valuable insights into their satisfaction with your services and treatment, which can ultimately improve your practice.
Tips on Using Marketing Automation Effectively
One of the most important tips to keep in mind when using marketing automation is to ensure that all the members of your marketing team and providers are on the same page about what content is being utilized.
For instance, if your practice employs this software to send out automated appointment reminders, you want to make sure they don’t receive reminders from multiple sources. If patients get too many reminders, they may become irritated rather than relieved that their appointment is confirmed.
Remember, marketing automation should easily facilitate a patient’s next step in treatment. When patients are diagnosed with a condition or suddenly injured, they often feel overwhelmed and frightened. This is the moment when your healthcare practice steps in to provide guidance and comfort.
Streamline Your Marketing Efforts with Levo Health
By using marketing automation at every stage of the patient journey, your practice can create a more personalized experience, helping patients make the best decisions for their health. Relevant and accessible content can also help build trust and loyalty with patients, increasing engagement and retention.
Levo Health is a full-service healthcare marketing agency that will facilitate your marketing automation needs. As experts in marketing strategy tailored toward the healthcare industry, our team lets your physicians and staff do what they do best while we handle your branding, patient retention and acquisitions, social media, and more. Call (813) 235-0830 today to get started.