Marketing Automation & Healthcare: Building Stronger Patient Engagements

December 8, 2020 Sofia Gil

When people seek out a new healthcare provider, no matter what their specific criteria might be, central to their decision is the need to find an organization they can trust. As people go through this search, their actions are similar to what they’d do when shopping online: They conduct their research, accessing reviews and web content, and then make an informed decision.  

According to Binary Fountain’s 2020 Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement Survey, a person will read an average of nine doctor reviews before making a choice. The survey also found that over the last three years online reviews have played an increased role in how people choose a doctor, growing by over 107%.  

To stay in step with people’s online behavior, it's crucial that healthcare providers offer compelling content at each touchpoint. This requires a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to communicating with both current and potential patients.  

By taking some fundamental steps and implementing the right tech tools, hospitals and clinics can know how to attract new patients, maintain their connections with current ones, and lay the groundwork for more personalized relationships. 

The three key goals of building patient relationships 

In personal relationships, certain actions will ensure those relationships stay strong. When we develop a thorough understanding of someone, keep up good communication habits, and be there for them at significant moments, we’ll have a solid foundation for a long-lasting connection with that person.  

These same tactics can generally be applied in the relationships between healthcare groups and their patients: 

  • Understand patient needs: Knowing your patients’ needs and concerns is not only vital to delivering the right care, but also to effective engagements. This requires looking at all the facets of their healthcare, their online communication preferences, and what their future concerns will likely be. It’s also important to know the kinds of questions potential patients are asking as they seek a provider and create content that offers answers and inspires people to learn more about your organization.  
  • Communicate on a personalized level: Once you know your patients’ range of needs and preferences, you can use this information to develop the personalized engagements they expect to receive. As retail businesses can tell you, one-size-fits-all approaches won’t work, so it’s crucial to build personalized connections.  
  • Provide support during the big moments: When major events occur in a patient’s life, personalized communications, follow-ups, and appointments will be vitally important. When someone is making adjustments due to an illness or, more happily, from the birth of a new baby, a provider can guide patients through this stage and provide helpful guidance. 

With these three goals, a healthcare organization can create a foundation for patient satisfaction and trust, yet making this happen depends on implementing a tech platform that will put these goals in reach. 

Building stronger connections using marketing automation 

Since today’s healthcare patient is an omnichannel user, engaging with them requires being active on the variety of channels that patients use. Yet using these channels effectively all comes down to taking a personalized approach.  

An effective platform for making those connections is marketing automation. The benefits it can provide go well beyond automating repetitive tasks, although that by itself is a valuable time-saving capability. By gathering patient data from a variety of channels within a single resource, marketing automation enables healthcare organizations to gain insights into patient needs and develop strategies for making personalized connections.  

Marketing automation itself is inherently an omnichannel tool that enables you to manage your engagement campaigns from a single platform. Your team can tailor content to your patients’ needs, deliver it on their preferred channels, and measure how well it’s received. Then using the data you gather, you can fine-tune your campaigns and ensure you’re providing relevant content.  

Real-world marketing automation operations 

To put all this in context, let’s explore an example of how marketing automation can benefit both healthcare teams and patients. Let’s say your office has over 350 appointments booked for a specific day. With a marketing automation tool, you can accomplish the following tasks for each patient: 

  • Send an automatic email and text message confirming the appointment. 
  • Remind the patient the day before the appointment with an email that includes directions to your office.  
  • Send a text message an hour before the appointment explaining where to park and how to locate the office. 
  • Deliver a welcome notification to those patients who have your app. 

For patients who are scheduled for surgery or an exam, you can send information on how to prepare a few days before the procedure. Afterwards you can send a link to further information on recovery methods and request a follow-up appointment.  

Using the platform’s range of capabilities, you can provide a seamless digital experience and reduce the stress of a challenging time for your patients.  

Creating relationships with the right tools and insights 

The more your healthcare organization can do to give patients the sense that the content they receive has been customized for them, the greater your chance at retaining them and creating future opportunities. By developing a clear understanding of who your patients are, delivering personalized engagements, and being there for them when they need support. You can stay in step with all your patients’ needs, provide the personalized engagements they expect, and build trust. 

Appirio can partner with your organization to implement marketing automation and ensure you’re getting the most from the tool. As our series of marketing automation ebooks covers, we can guide you through the primary challenges of onboarding the platform, from full-funnel tech integration to user adoption to measuring ROI

To learn more about how our marketing automation team can help you personalize your healthcare marketing efforts, contact us today.  

About the Author

Sofia Gil

Sofia Gil is a Senior Marketing Automation Consultant at Appirio, specializing in Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Salesforce Pardot. With 15 years of experience in digital marketing, she is passionate about digital strategies, customer experiences, and multi-cloud solutions. Throughout her career, she has helped B2C and B2B brands create truly seamless customer experiences.

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