Personalizing Your Healthcare Marketing Without Making Patients Uneasy

A TV commercial which airs during a football game is made to reach as many people as possible in the hopes that a small percentage of those watching are also going to be the ones buying. But today, trying to reach the many with a message meant for the few has proven to be ineffective. A healthcare brand with a specific audience in mind, like women with breast cancer, does not mean its message to reach the masses, just the specific category of women it is best suited to help.

Online marketing has made it increasingly possible to give more efficient, personalized marketing to target audiences. By homing in on specific audience and reaching them with a message directly relevant to their needs, you could build a more meaningful connection.

Personalized marketing is powerful. A 2013 study of email marketing results found that personalized promotional emails produce six times the revenue as well as the transaction rates of those that were not personalized. Another study found that personalized ads get 10 times as many clicks as non-personalized ones. These are impressive numbers.

Personalization works for a reason. Based on psychological research, we are all struggling with information overload, and encountering content which is relevant to your specific needs and interests helps us feel less overwhelmed and more in control. When you can cut through the noise to give your prospects the specific information they need, it makes a positive connection with your brand.

There is a tricky balance between privacy and personalization however. All industries need to worry about potentially crossing the line where personalization begins to make prospects uncomfortable, but in healthcare marketing where privacy is a very important concern, the line is even trickier. Yes, people want to find information that is relevant to them as well as their specific healthcare needs, but not at the cost of feeling like a faceless stranger knows all about their private health issues.

A 2015 survey found that 96 percent of consumers in the United States report that they are concerned about how companies use their data. Those same consumers who respond to personalized messages  as well as ads in droves are uneasy at the idea that businesses and organizations know the information needed to give personalized ads.

There are some tips on how to excel at personalization. If the results and research seem conflicting, they do not need to be so. While consumers say they are concerned, a lot also say that they are open to a tradeoff. According to a survey that helps clarify things, 49 percent of consumers say that they are OK with businesses that have a certain amount of information in exchange for messaging and offers that are more relevant.

The two things you need to be sure to do to stay on the right side of the line is to use personalization effectively and to only use information that falls into that category of data consumers that are willing to give up for the tradeoff. The three ways you can do this is to create personas, keep the doctor’s office separate from your marketing data and to follow data.

Marketing personalization relies on developing buyer personas. You cannot know what marketing to create until you have taken the time to identify and understand the people you are creating for. Most hospital and healthcare practices are going to need to create more than one persona to better clarify the different audiences you serve.

For healthcare marketers, keeping the doctor’s office separate from your marketing data probably goes without saying. Personalization does not mean a patient gets content tailored to what they just learned during the visit of their private doctors. This would be crossing a big line. The data you use to give personalized information will not come from their visits.

Lastly, you should follow the data. Customer relationship management databases CRM could help you keep track of an individual’s online relationship with your hospital. A good CRM is going to provide data on what content visitors view and where they are in their buyer’s journey. This gives you an opportunity to be more strategic in the content and offers you provide. A first time visitor is going to need different information than someone already on your email list.