The Benefits of Connecting With Healthcare Consumers on an Emotional Level
Some of the most effective healthcare marketing campaigns use patient success stories as a centerpiece.
Testimonials from happy patients can make your facility relatable and help your advertising connect on an emotional level, an important aspect in reaching today’s healthcare consumer. Patient success stories can generate positive media publicity and social media buzz, and help forward a healthcare organization’s brand and values.
But, like any healthcare marketing campaign, launching a patient testimonial campaign requires forethought and coordination. Here are some practical tips to consider.
- Select the Right Patients
Work with physicians to identify patients with successful treatment outcomes. Look for positive feedback on social media pages. Patients who not only had a positive experience, but whose lives have changed for the better as a result of care they received, will make the most effective subjects.
Select patients who are relatable and engaging. Feature patients who have different perspectives and come from different demographics. This will add diversity and a personal touch to your testimonials.
- Ensure HIPAA Compliance
Avoid HIPAA violations by obtaining written consent from patients who will be providing testimonials. Consult your organization’s policy and procedures related to using patient testimonials, and have every patient in the campaign sign a detailed authorization form. Monitor timelines. Where there are expiration dates on usage, alert responsible parties to remove content that is no longer applicable for use. Then follow up to ensure it has been done – it is your ultimate responsibility.
- Establish Creative Direction Before Interviewing
Content and Messaging
What competitive points about your brand should the campaign highlight – an especially compassionate nursing staff; high-tech equipment; experienced physicians? While each patient will bring a unique, personal experience to the table, interviewers may want to guide them to touch on specific points.
Brush up on interviewing skills when it’s time to get details. Ask open-ended questions, e.g., “What was the best aspect of your experience here, and why?”
Think ahead of time about the various media channels you’ll be using, and be sure the photographer captures shots that will work across media ranging from, for example, a horizontal billboard to a small vertical digital ad. It’s best to take photos of the patient in both sitting and standing positions, as well as headshots. Will you include staff members the patient bonded with? Plan ahead of time so their schedules will allow them to be at the photo shoot.
A final note about creative execution: Proceed with care. You’re putting someone’s true, life-changing experience out there. Make sure the details are accurate and the portrayal is respectful.
- Go Multichannel for Best Results
An integrated approach maximizes the impact of a patient testimonial campaign. For example, a New York health system used a media mix for a bariatric campaign highlighting patient success stories.
With a combination of print, TV, online display, paid search, radio and outdoor ads that drove users to an optimized landing page, the health system saw a 400% increase in traffic to its online bariatric content and a 25% increase in seminar sign-ups.
(Note: Even if your budget doesn’t include professionally shot television ads, create videos of patient interviews and use snippets on your website and social media sites.)
- Think Beyond Single Campaign Use
Maximize your efforts by using testimonials beyond the construct of the campaign. Maintain a curated collection of patient testimonials on a dedicated page on your organization’s website. Pull out particularly powerful quotes and place them on landing pages developed for other campaigns, or print them on a future new mover direct mail.
Strata Company, a Greater Philadelphia area marketing and technology firm, specializes in multichannel marketing for healthcare organizations. We collaborate with our clients to deliver proven strategies and programs that drive new patients through the door, increase physician referrals and foster relationships that last a lifetime.
As Marketing Coordinator at Strata Company, Natalie is able to hone in on her skills specializing in healthcare marketing, millennial trends, social media and more. Natalie also plays a key role in planning and executing marketing campaigns. In her free time, she is an avid animal lover and loves the outdoors.