After its steady upward trend, telemedicine has become a welcome inevitability. The recent pandemic has exposed the convenience and availability of virtual access to medical expertise as a viable option for an entire nation of patients.
With the ability to accommodate both necessity and convenience, telemedicine will continue to see innovations that bring it to new heights. Over half of the hospitals in the US already offer some form of virtual medicine both within and outside their walls. As the market crowds to rural and specialized options, it will be all the more important to effectively position these services to display their value and capabilities. As another intangible, digital product, the marketing will have a direct impact on perception. Customers need to see the human side of working with a doctor through a screen.
Healthcare providers, insurers, and employers are working to incorporate telemedicine across their practices and plans. But benefits to the industry aside, we know that patient adoption is what makes or breaks success. With this in mind, gaining traction in the hearts and minds of consumer means marketing needs to touch on their base needs and offer immediate solutions. To do so, here are a few tips to drive trial of new telemedicine programs.
- Know your audience intimately. Build a new patient journey analysis to refresh your marketing touchpoints. Developing personas based on geographical and demographic data helps put a face and a name to your audience. It allows you to craft work that speaks to a person, not a crowd. You can target audiences more effectively with tailored messaging. Execute work to meet them at those touchpoints with benefits-focused content.
- Make the service user-friendly and easy to access. As a digital product, your marketing will primarily live online. Broadcast the availability of the service through display ads and through owned channels. Your website should have a two-click maximum to an appointment scheduler while also directing questions to a digital repository with guides and FAQs before requiring employee intervention. Your patients can only troubleshoot to a point and may want to simply talk to someone about this new virtual approach. Try to always have a human on the other line available to chat.
- Indoctrinate staff through internal promotion. Educate and train your staff, doctors, providers, and volunteers on the service offerings and benefits of your program. Give them the tools they need to understand and communicate the innovations your brand is making to enhance patient experience. As the front lines of promotion, these folks can deliver patients to your services with a friendly face and a helping hand.
- Integrate reviews and ratings. integrating reviews into marketing gives customers access to honest, unbiased, peer-to-peer insights on your telemedicine capabilities. It also allows for quick upfront evaluation of your services and promotes the type of transparency that builds consumer trust and loyalty. It can give your patients peace-of-mind that they’ll be working with skilled experts that will make the telemedicine experience seamless and convenient while also providing relevant feedback to help better the practice.
- Take a human approach. A major barrier for virtual medicine is it can often feel impersonal. People, rightfully so, have concerns about privacy and security when discussing their health over the internet. They also need the assurance that the person on the other end has their full attention and interest. There are inherent trust issues with misdiagnosis. Your marketing needs to lead with the safety and effectiveness of your telemedicine services. Advertise how comfortable your staff is working virtually using testimonials and interviews from doctors and patients. Make sure your audience knows there’s a human on the other side.
Growth and innovation will continue to enrich telemedicine. Accessibility and integration will become even more seamless. In the end, the convenience of clicking a button needs to be met with a human “touch” to allow patients to put their trust in your brand. This personalized approach will be critical to its evolution and it’s something we’re looking forward to continue to explore with our partners.