Written By David M. Williams | Chief Strategy Officer | LEVO Health
One of the most challenging aspects of direct to patient marketing is making sure your advertising dollars and messaging are reaching the right types of patients at the right time. If only there was a way to ensure your ideal patient receives a targeted message that will encourage, nurture and convert them… Luckily there is, it’s called patient personas.
The practice of creating buyer personas is nothing new. Other consumer-driven industries have been using this methodology for years to create personalized online experiences for their consumers. The first step is to ask yourself a few questions:
- Why should your targeted audience care about what you’re saying?
- How is the marketing message going to be delivered to them?
If you’ve haven’t asked yourself, who is my ideal patient, and what do they look like, chances are you or your marketing company are wasting money.
Prior to launching any paid marketing campaigns, you should know as much about your current patients as possible. Understanding your current patient population will help you formulate your patient personas prior to launching your campaigns, which will save you time and money. So, what are patient personas?
What are Patient Personas?
To tailor your messaging to your ideal patient(s), at the right time, with the most relevant messaging to their condition or needs, you’re first going to have to identify who the right patient(s) is. So what exactly is a patient persona? A persona is defined as: “a synopsis of the demographics, needs, motivations, and environment of a specific type of website user.“
Consumers spend more time online today than ever before. All of these interactions provide advertisers with tons of data that can be used to help understand what your patients are searching for online, their relationship status, the area they live in, what types of products they purchase, lifestyle preferences, and even the type of device and operating system they’re using to browse the internet.
How do you create Patient Personas?
This whole exercise can be fun and profitable as the goal is to attract higher quality patients as opposed to generating a large volume of patients seeking care for unprofitable or monotonous treatments or surgeries. By understanding the “right” patients for your practice you’ll be able to focus your time, effort and advertising dollars on the most profitable or personally rewarding cases. The following outlines a simple exercise for creating your own patient personas.
Start by making broad generalizations of the type of patient requiring your most profitable or enjoyable cases, treatments, or surgeries. What types of common traits do they all share?
- Income Level
- Type of Insurance
- What Motivates Them to seek Care
- Personal Interests & Hobbies
Name and segment these types of patients into clearly defined patient personas.
Take these newly formed ideal patient personas and try to understand what it is that would motivate them to seek care. Take a step back and attempt to view the process from their perspective. Ask yourself the following questions and try to answer them through the patient persona lense:
- What is their biggest concern a doctor could address?
- What pain points keep them up at night?
- What do they value the most when seeking out a new doctor?
- What is most important to them?
- What would limit them from seeking the care of a doctor?
Aggregate the answers to each of the newly created patient personas and list the core commonalities under each segment. These answers serve as the foundation that will be used when developing the direct to patient marketing strategies used to reach each specific patient persona.
Now that you’ve created Patient Personas, what do you do with them?
With your newly created patient personas, you can now begin to craft specific ad messaging that will resonate with their individual concerns, pain points, values, and needs in order to increase the odds of converting the “ideal prospective patient” into the “ideal patient”.
In the next blog post of the series, we’ll address how to craft specific ad messaging for different patient personas, what types of pitfalls to avoid and review different examples of ad messaging and creative.