How to Reach Your Target Audience
Getting your content in front of the right target audience is always top of mind for healthcare marketers. The challenge of the healthcare industry is its competitiveness, the fact that it’s highly regulated, and the range of medical information available online. To stand out, healthcare companies must be deliberate in targeting audiences and speaking to them in ways that encourage trust.
Access to health-related information online has given today’s patient a more powerful position as a decision-maker when it comes to their healthcare. That’s why educating patients has become a key marketing strategy for healthcare businesses.
The following are some suggestions and time-tested ways you can better reach your target audiences.
Defining Your Target Audience
It’s always tempting to say, “We want our marketing to reach everyone!” Wanting to do too much, too fast is a good way to overspend on resources without much to show for it. With your business’s goals and strengths in mind, define your target audiences as specifically as possible.
There are many ways to describe your target audience. Below are some of the most common categories to consider when thinking about who your target audience is:
- Geography — Where are they? Think about ZIP codes, distance from your location(s), and other barriers. Remember, distance is often a deal-breaking factor in people’s healthcare decisions.
- Demographics — Consider your target audience’s age, gender, family situation or size, occupation, income, and education level. These characteristics can drastically change your messaging toward those groups of people.
- Behavior — Look at your audience’s level of prior knowledge, sources, consumer patterns, and past responses to the services you offer. What do they want, and how do they usually go about getting it? Cater to them to position yourself as the go-to source for solutions. You may also want to consider personality traits, such as loyalty characteristics and whether they’re receptive to innovative technology.
There are plenty of helpful sources for finding data about your target audience. Use them as a foundation for your target audience description. The more specific, the better.
- Census Bureau data is online and free.
- American Factfinder (also from the Census Bureau) can help with population, housing, economic, and geographic data.
- Find Quick Facts with maps
- Search statistics about people, households, personal incomes, labor force, and housing (organized by ZIP code)
Messaging That Speaks to Your Target Audience
Once you have your target audience nailed down, you can create content with messaging geared toward the preferences of that audience. Position your brand as the best, most convenient choice to solve their problem.
When thinking about messaging or platform, here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- When you’re speaking to patients or end-customers, be less technical and avoid industry jargon.
- Patients are more likely to search for symptoms, not medications or services.
- You can reach certain demographics better through social media, and others may be more receptive to TV ads or printed materials.
- Remember to avoid ads that feature personalized medical information, like past services or conditions, as it is against the law to disclose patient information in that format.
- Social media platforms differ in what audiences they attract. For example, older people tend to use Facebook more than Instagram or TikTok.
- If your patients are elderly, the people deciding on their assisted living homes or medical care are most often their younger family members. Your target audience may be different from your end-consumer.
Optimizing Your Website for Your Target Audience
So, you’ve successfully driven traffic to your website! Now, you have to captivate and convert.
Your website might be someone’s first real impression of your business, so having a high-quality site is an investment worth making. In the US, 72% of internet users regularly search online for health-related information.
User-Friendly and High-Quality
If you’ve done great work for your social media and printed content but your website looks like it was made 10 years ago, you’ll lose credibility. On the other hand, when you have a nice-looking website that’s easy to navigate and fast, you’ll bring customers in and keep them.
Make it easy to find the material your target audience wants from the home page, whether that’s a popular service you’re promoting, insurance information, or what to expect during a visit.
Helpful Content and Features
Consider adding helpful features to your website that your target audience will value. People appreciate it when they have access to their patient records and billing information, for example.
Chatbots are another useful option, giving people the chance to ask questions or get in contact with someone who can help.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a long-term investment, but it’s one that will help generate large numbers of organic traffic as time goes on.
Search engines like Google prioritize websites that are user-friendly, relevant, and engaging. They scan your website and use metrics like clicks, backlinks, keyword density, and speed to rank it with other websites. Using appropriate SEO practices will help your website rank higher or more often in online searches.
Optimizing your website includes making sure the software is up to par, doing keyword research to determine what your target audience is asking, and creating content that people want to consume and share. Adding blog posts and making videos are great for SEO because people engage with them and it indicates to search engines that the website is relevant and up-to-date.