The telemedicine market is booming, but the key to success lies in how you market your service to patients and consumers
The health care industry is morphing to be more and more consumer-centric, and health care providers are becoming increasingly focused on delivering positive patient experiences across the board. The telemedicine market is a prime example of this shift, and it is growing at an incredible rate. Advances in this space are giving patients access to critical health care support anywhere, anytime, through face-to-face interactions or digital tools at significantly lower costs.
The telemedicine market, which is expected to top $35 billion by 2020, started garnering a lot of attention in 2018 when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed compensating doctors for seeing patients virtually. But even though the CMS has since dropped some of the barriers to telemedicine reimbursement, the industry as a whole is still not being used to its fullest potential.
There is consumer allure associated with telehealth and telemedicine—almost 80 percent of all patients are interested in trying it—but doctors, specifically those in smaller or independent practices, continue to fall behind consumer demand.
The key to widespread telemedicine adoption lies in how providers promote and market their service. Here are a few tips to help you market your telehealth or telemedicine service.
1. Know your audience
Before any provider can market its telehealth service, it must understand the people it’s hoping to reach. For most, their audience is composed of people from a diverse set of demographics with varying needs, wants, communication styles, and priorities. Therefore, it’s best to segment the list and map out the characteristics of each group, or even build a patient journey analysis, to help tailor the message and speak directly to the audiences’ specific needs and wants.
2. Target your content
Now that you’ve segmented your list and created various journey analyses, it’s time to customize messages and marketing efforts to the demands of your audiences. Providers should ask themselves why these groups of people would choose their telehealth service over others in the market. Targeting your content will help create messages that resonate with each segment, and although it does take more time than sending generic marketing messages out to everyone, it is well worth it.
3. Develop marketing materials
When creating a marketing strategy and developing marketing materials, remember that each of your segments will prefer something different. Revisit your audiences’ needs and priorities to guide the development of materials that relay the benefit of your service in their preferred language and medium.
Here are a few ways to distribute materials once they are created:
- Email blasts with service details
- In-office collateral and brochures
- With billing statement announcements
- Include the service on your website
- Use social media to share the details and perks of the service
4. Direct mail
Direct mail is an excellent channel for reaching both existing and prospective patients due to its high response rate and ability to authentically connect with the recipients. And, when used as part of a multichannel marketing strategy, response rates have been known to increase by upwards of 200 percent.
Try creating a campaign-specific telehealth landing page and include the URL on your direct mail piece. You can drive traffic to your landing page by offering a time-sensitive offer or coupon to try your services. This will not only boost traffic to your site but also allow you to capture leads for use in a nurturing campaign later.
5. Word of mouth
Communicating with consumers and patients via marketing mediums is important, but practitioners should make sure all of their staff and volunteers are educated as well. Not only are they able to share the details of the service, but they can also emphasize the innovation that the organization is demonstrating by offering a telehealth option.
6. Content marketing
The one thing all patients have in common is their need for answers to their health concerns. Content marketing is an excellent way to provide answers to those questions while also positioning yourself as an industry expert. Just don’t forget to use your telehealth service as the call-to-action to drive traffic, enrollment, and visibility.
7. Ratings and reviews
Ratings and reviews speak volumes to patients looking for health care solutions, especially since we rely so heavily on the testimonials of others to help evaluate and choose care providers. Therefore, solicit ratings and reviews from current patients and include them on marketing materials, your website, social media channels, etc.
Also, make sure to really evaluate each review that you receive. They can give valuable insight into the patients’ experience, provide an inroad for conversations with your brand champions, and create valuable opportunities for growth and improvement.
If you are a health care provider or work in the health care field, telehealth and telemedicine should be a significant piece of your strategy to keep up with the demands of patient consumerism. Investments today will safeguard your bottom line later, and marketing will be a key component to your overall success.
Need help marketing your telemedicine service? Drop us a line.