Why Healthcare Patient Personas Matter for Digital Marketing

Are you marketing your healthcare practice or services to the wrong patients? If you don’t know your patient personas, all those blogs, social media posts, and PPC ads could be for naught!

A patient persona (also known as a “buyer persona” in the marketing world) is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal patient, based on market research and real data about existing patients. Patient personas draw on demographics, behavior patterns, goals, and motivations. Creating accurate patient personas is key to healthcare digital marketing success. The more accurate your patient personas are, the better you’ll understand the needs and concerns of prospective patients, what motivates them to act the way that they do, and how you can structure your digital marketing to best meet their needs. Developing patient personas makes it easier for your healthcare practice to understand the buying cycle, every stakeholder that’s involved in the process, and how to create the right content to meet each stakeholder’s needs.

Common Healthcare Patient Personas

iStock_000089455547_LargeEvery healthcare practice has multiple patient personas. Let’s say you run an urgent care walk-in clinic. Your patient personas could include the parents of young children who need care for an accident fall or suspicious high fever, young adults who are in-between jobs and don’t have health insurance, and individuals who are traveling and need urgent care for a sudden sickness or health emergency. Each of these individuals will benefit from the services your practice provides; however, they will all have different motivating factors when deciding to pick your practice over another. These factors influence everything from the Google search terms they use to whether they read online reviews, visit your blog, or need to schedule their appointment online. Developing healthcare patient personas will help you better understand these motivating factors.

Don’t Miss “Hidden” Patient Personas

When it comes to developing patient personas for your healthcare practice, think beyond your typical target personas, and outside your usual stakeholders. For example, a health insurance company may be targeting an HR Benefits Director, the final decision making power actually lies with the CFO. In this case, you’ll need to provide your “champion” (the benefits director) with information that will motivate the CFO to decide in your favor. To do so, you’ll need a clear understanding of both the HR Benefits Director’s challenges and the CFO’s challenges, so you’ll need to create two target personas. The same goes for an elderly patient and the patient’s caretaker. Your practice will need to create information that targets the elderly patient, as well as the caretaker, and any of the patient’s adult children who may be involved in the decision making process.

The decision to choose one healthcare practice over another is highly personal and complex. By creating detailed patient personas you will be able to better understand the different factors involved in your target patient’s decision-making process, including the value propositions that matter most and tailor your marketing accordingly.