Skip to main content

Customer Experience and Design

Converting Unknown Consumers into Loyal Patients

I’m looking for a new primary care physician. Let’s refer back to my earlier post on how enabled patients pick a healthcare provider. Then, let’s go a step further. Yes, it’s important to have a real and authentic voice and to provide trusted healthcare content. However, we are still left with an all important marketing question. How are we converting these unknown folks into patients?

To attract unknown consumers a healthcare organization needs a strategic digital presence that first attracts these unknown consumers.Woman Using Laptop This is done through investing in key areas of excellence, based on the target markets in question, to create a digital front door step with a path towards conversion. One strategic area, for example, could be women’s health since women are oftentimes the healthcare decision makers in the family. This requires demonstrating a trusted and authentic voice using many-to-many digital communication mechanisms like a website, microsites, landing pages, mobile tools, and social media. All of these methods of digital experience should contain content built specifically for the target market in question. These are the hooks out to the unknown consumer to create awareness. There are a number of options to achieve these ends:

  • Integrating healthcare information from a third party data broker like Krames Staywell or WebMD
  • Supplementing third party healthcare information with a library of unique healthcare content including online health chats, ask a doctor Q&A, podcasts, tools & quizzes, research, comprehensive guides on conditions, lifestyle tips by topic, health wizards, symptom trackers, and blogs equipped with RSS feeds.
  • Integrating all of the information for a certain area of excellence to its own landing page or microsite. For example, in our women’s health example, a healthcare organization could have a microsite or landing page devoted to mothers.
  • Classes on a number of health topics that serve as a way to increase healthfulness within the patient population while also creating awareness of available services.

Now that the healthcare organization has gained the attention of their target markets, it’s now time to convert these unknown consumers into a patients. This is done with a few very important web tools, including:

  • Register for Classes: In addition to the wealth of print, audio, and video health information found on the site, users can attend health seminars either in person or online. Many class registration tools include a Google Calendar display, the ability to research the event calendar, or register by “adding to your cart”. While completing these tasks, our unknown consumers are learning more about the healthcare providers. From this gateway, a user can be linked directly to the provider’s bio and the ability to search for other physicians and locations.
  • Find a Provider or Location: It can be argued that the provider and location tools are the most important components of any healthcare provider website. Many healthcare organizations optimize search results for their organization to land on their Find a Provider page as opposed to the home page. While going to that extreme is optional, it is very important to have these tools located prominently in the global utility navigation throughout site. Good tools allow users to search by last name, specialty, disease, or condition. While most provider directories give consumers minimal information, this is a mistake. These tools should provide more than standard industry jargon to include a short explanation of the physician’s specialty and a short bio written by the provider explaining their interests and why they chose to practice medicine. Some organizations also allow physicians to upload videos to their profile. It is also important to have a Find a Provider and Find a Location tool set that are integrated. The reason being that location is the most important factor for patients when choosing a healthcare provider.
  • Schedule an Appointment: After our unknown consumer finds a provider that meets their preferences, we need to make it very easy for them to set an appointment. Once they arrive for that appointment, the conversion is complete. Many sites require authentication in order to schedule an appointment online. Others find it important to present as few barriers as possible during the conversion process.

The key to all of these tools is that during the conversion process a web user will reveal their identity through providing their name, email address, phone number, etc. Using advanced web/social analytics and CRM, the marketing team can then associate this individual’s digital travels throughout the site with their specific identity. A comprehensive patient profile, with personalized outreach, can then be included in future campaigns. Even more, consumers can continue to convert themselves using these digital tools while a healthcare organization’s staff are busy providing care to their patients.

Okay, now I’ll go back to my own search for a new physician. Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Melody Smith Jones

More from this Author

Follow Us