How well do you know your ideal patient? That may seem like a crazy question—after all, you serve people of all ages and walks of life, right? But the people who walk through your door share many common characteristics, and those characteristics should shape your content marketing efforts.
Because you can’t create content people want to read if you don’t know who your readers are. That’s like trying to sell a romance novel to someone who only reads sports magazines. You’re marketing to the wrong audience. But when you know details about interests, habits, and online behavior traits, you can reach your ideal patients more effectively, because you’ll know what kind of content speaks to them.
That’s why you need to identify your buyer personas.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Buyer personas represent specific customers, or in the healthcare industry, specific patients. They’re fictional representations, but as you develop them, you’ll use real life details to create a fully fleshed out personality, complete with hobbies, interests and family members. Personas give you deeper insight into the people you want to reach and help you relate to your patients as real humans.
The marketing world uses the term buyer persona to describe these tools, but you can think of them as patient personas for your healthcare practice. Ideally, you’ll have 3-4 personas, each one representing a different kind of patient. Once you have fleshed them out with plenty of details, you can use them to drive more traffic to your healthcare website and increase your total number of patients.
How Do I Create Buyer Personas for My Healthcare Website?
If you’ve done some target market research, you probably already know surface level information like age, gender, and income level for most of your patients. That’s a great start!
But buyer personas delve much deeper than that. Let’s take a look at three steps to developing yours:
Start With What You Know
Take the demographic information you already have and use it to construct the bones of your persona. If you haven’t put this information together yet, don’t worry. Start by looking through your contacts database and talking to the people who interact with patients on a daily basis. With a little digging you should have the information you need to get started.
At this stage, your persona might look like this
- Name: Mama Margaret
- Gender: Female
- Age: 25-45
- Income: $30 – 60k
- Family: Married with 1-3 kids
Incorporate Market Research
Next, you’ll want to dig deeper to discover identifying details about your ideal patients. Look for behavioral patterns as visitors interact with your healthcare website or social media content. You can also use forms to capture basic data.
With this information, your persona begins to look a little more like a real human being:
- Works full-time at a job with healthcare benefits
- Invests more in her children’s health than her own
- Prefers to schedule appointments online
- Looks for health recommendations from friends on Facebook or Twitter
- Wants to stay on top of current health trends or patterns
- Generally a frugal spender, but enjoys a splurge now and then
- Likes to shop on the weekends
Use Patient Surveys to Fill In the Blanks
The final step is to flesh out your persona with information you gather from actual patients. Use surveys, interviews, and feedback from referrals or prospects to find out more about the needs of your market. For example:
- Needs flexible scheduling to accommodate school and work schedules
- Wants options for getting information after hours
- Places high value on preventative health
- Wants to know more about nutrition, vaccination schedules, and alternative health options
- Frustrated by long wait times that make her late for work
- Sometimes needs to reschedule a wellness visit at the last minute if a work problem comes up
- Hates having to leave a message and waiting to be called back
- Sometimes neglects her own health
- Has a child with allergies
How Do I Use Buyer Personas to Drive Traffic To My Healthcare Website?
Once you have your buyer personas fleshed out, use them to tailor messaging according to the needs of your audience:
- Think of keywords your personas would be searching for.
- Develop website content that speaks to the needs of each persona.
- Craft social media and email messages for different personas.
- Create lead nurturing campaigns for each persona.
Buyer personas work hand-in-hand with the buyer’s journey. Remember that not every person is at the same place in the buyer’s journey even within the same persona, so be sure to write for all stages.
If you need help creating your buyer’s persona, our inbound marketing experts are ready to answer your questions! Call us to find out more about how buyer personas can revitalize your healthcare marketing strategy.