Creative Marketing | 25/08/2022

Humanising healthcare: the key to successful marketing strategies

Posted by James Dempster

Let’s face it, you got into healthcare to help people and not because you love marketing. There are a number of reasons we love the healthcare sector including a renewed pride in our NHS. At a time when they are bursting at the seams, private healthcare has a huge role to play. Every patient that can afford to go private (or has medical insurance) means one more patient goes up the waiting list for an NHS procedure, which can only be a good thing.

So how can healthcare companies ensure that they are making their marketing efforts timely, targeted and most importantly; human?

Be authentic

People care about what you stand for. People also know when you’re not being true to your values. Whatever CSR angle you take, ensure that it is relevant to your brand and not shoehorned in.

For example, if you’re an aesthetic clinic you may wish to focus on ethical outcomes. Take before and after shots that aren’t doctored. There could be an angle here in making sure that your social media feeds are not promoting procedures for young women that add to unrealistic and potentially damaging societal beauty expectations. Equally, you may decide that you need beautiful imagery to sell your services but you particularly care about the environment. Is there a stand here that you could take? Could you ensure that you only buy locally? Could you ensure that all of your suppliers are carbon neutral? Be clear with what you genuinely care about and your messaging will be easier to promote.

Be data-driven

Once you know which angle you want to lead with, you need to know who’s going to care enough to engage with your services and what your competitors are doing. If you’re an SME engaging with market research then data insight companies will be expensive but luckily completing your own desk research is free and often gives enough data to make considered decisions.

Using Google’s keyword planner gives great insight into what your prospective patients are searching (for example, there may be a trend in searching “carbon-neutral aesthetic procedures”). It will also give you an idea of how competitive these searches are. The sweet spot is having enough search volume to justify your effort with lower competition from rival businesses. Also explore hashtags, Google trends, social media reports and use your social “stalking” tactics to find out what’s working for your competitors.

Choose channels wisely

I tend to promote a ‘channel agnostic’ approach. Often businesses come to us and say “I need an Instagram campaign” and our first question is always “Why?” This might be the right angle but don’t start with the channel, start your overall goal. Do you want more patients? Do you want to change the demographic of people using your services? Do you want to promote a particular service? Start by answering this. Once you’re clear with what ‘good’ looks like, ensure that you have clear messaging and have completed your research effectively. This will help you to choose the channels that are most effective.

A Google search campaign often brings the quickest results as these patients are actively searching for your services but it comes at a cost. Instagram is great for clinics as patients enjoy engaging imagery but will take longer to build trust and turn engagement into an enquiry. A good rule of thumb is to start small, prove ROI and expand. Be effective on one or two channels before adding TikTok, Reddit or any other channel that you think you should be using.

Always keep in mind these thoughts:

  • People need to feel an emotional tie to your brand but can smell inauthenticity easily
  • You need to ensure that your targeting is accurate to get the most out of your budget
  • As a species, humans don’t change much. We want to feel special and ‘seen’ so make sure every piece of marketing is going to make your target audience feel cared for

Questions? Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! Please email me directly