Many people vow to improve their health in the early months of a new year, which health systems can capitalize on by engaging current and prospective patients in a meaningful way.
In order to drive patient engagement, marketing teams should strategically plan, execute and measure digital health and wellness campaigns.
End-to-end campaign planning helps ensure the success of such “get healthy” marketing efforts—that they will reach the optimal consumers and effectively encourage action. Campaign planning involves defining audiences, selecting campaign types and deployment channels — think organic search, paid search, email, social, display and more—and determining calls to action.
Let’s take a closer look at campaign planning tactics that drive success.
Having clear campaign audiences is imperative, as success relies on reaching the right targets, at the right time, in the right way. Consider defining campaign audiences using propensity modeling, first-party research, existing market data and historical campaign insights. Additionally, creating ideal customer personas and evaluating clinical data about existing patients can be helpful.
When defining campaign audiences, put the most focus on influencers and caretakers—as those are the most engaged audiences—by including content that is easily shareable and relatable.
Another important part of defining audiences is considering the influence of peripheral groups. For example, if the target audience is mothers of young children, possible peripheral audiences are grandparents and spouses, as they have influence over how mothers make healthcare decisions for their children.
Choose Campaign Types
There are two types of health and wellness campaigns: awareness and direct response.
Awareness campaigns focus on educating the audience and tend to contain a soft call to action, like a whitepaper download. For this type, patient engagement is measured through brand lift, landing page engagement and content efficiency.
Direct response campaigns, on the other hand, aim to convince consumers to act and feature revenue-driving CTAs such as appointment scheduling. Direct response campaign engagement is measured with touch points, form submissions, new leads and numbers of newly scheduled appointments.
It’s important to determine which campaign type and channel will best reach target audiences and contribute to engagement goals.
Determine Campaign Timing
Patient engagement depends on when health and wellness campaigns are deployed; certain service lines have campaign “sweet spots” due to seasonality. Campaigns are aimed at seasonal service lines’ optimal audiences during peak times have the best chance at driving the most engagement.
For example, campaigns around weight management tend to elicit the most engagement, due to the popularity of New Year’s resolutions. Campaigns deployed from November through the end of January with exercise and healthy eating messaging target patients who made weight-loss resolutions.
Nurture Post-Campaign Launch
Not everyone will schedule an appointment or reach the threshold of a marketing qualified lead to trigger an outbound call. Once health and wellness campaigns are deployed, it’s essential to nurture target consumers. This involves creating multi-channel campaigns through emails, social media, outbound calls, direct mail (brochures or pamphlets) and more to connect campaign efforts with further engagement opportunities.
For successful lead nurturing that improves patient engagement, ensure that follow-up efforts include content that supports and complements the previously seen content, as well as strategic CTAs. All campaign content, no matter the channel, should have cohesive branding for a unified message and brand presence.
Timing of nurturing is also imperative—follow-ups sent too soon or too long after campaigns can hinder engagement. Spreading follow-up over a two-week period is a general best practice.
Consider building nurture workflows that lay out engagement journeys. Patient engagement journeys outline ideal pathways, from the point a patient initially sees a campaign to when they become a lifelong member of the healthcare organization’s community. Nurturing is a key component of patient engagement journeys because it helps keep patients involved with health systems over time.
Health and wellness marketing campaigns can boost patient engagement by inspiring consumers to visit health systems’ websites, interact on social media, call engagement centers, ask questions and go to clinical appointments. Patient engagement is a central component of acquiring and retaining patients; effective engagement helps health systems gain new patients and retain existing ones, driving revenue and increasing patient bases.
When it comes to patient engagement, strategic planning, thoughtful implementation and consistent follow-up on health and wellness campaigns are the keys to success. This is imperative not only for patient experience and satisfaction, but for the financial success of healthcare organizations.
About the Author | Chris Girardi
Chris Girardi oversees all staff and functions of the Evariant multi-channel digital media offerings including planning, analysis, management, execution and analytics. He has more than eight years of experience in digital media and direct response marketing.