In the last 10 years, the health care industry has seen the rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing. Health care professionals are shifting to a DTC model in response to the growing trend of patients-as-consumers.
With the rising cost of health care, patients have become more cost-conscious and are taking more control over their health care. Since 2007, reports MedPage Today, deductibles have risen from 14.8% to 43.4%—an almost 200% increase.
Furthermore, patients’ shrewd consumerist habits are forcing health care marketers to respond in kind.
To attract patients to your health care business, you’ll need to build a lead generation strategy that reflects the decision-making process of today’s new patient-consumers.
In this article, we’ve outlined five key lead generation strategies you must begin to implement if you want to grow your direct-to-consumer health care brand.
1. Keep Your Calls to Action Simple and Familiar
No matter the campaign you’re designing, the key is simplicity. Offer too many options, or options that sound too similar, and you’re going to confuse and run patients off.
The psychological notion of “cognitive fluency” is a human preference for things that are simple to understand and familiar. We tend to prefer things that are less cognitively demanding and that don’t feel foreign to us. In short, we don’t like to think too much about things we’re not experts in.
Bearing all of this in mind, when it comes to your health care campaigns, keep your calls to action short and simple. Don’t overcomplicate the message with too many nonessential details.
Finally, remember to make the offers as familiar as possible. Analogies and comparisons are useful for concepts that are new and novel.
2. Use Landing Pages for Direct Response Campaigns
According to the Pew Research Center, 66% of Internet users search online for information and education around their specific medical problems. When a patient is ready to connect with a health care provider, they either want to schedule an appointment online or call directly. Regardless, your job is to make the experience as simple and intuitive as possible. Landing pages are a great way to get you there.
Landing pages, unlike web pages, focus a user’s attention on a single idea and call to action. Top performing pages remove all unnecessary information that could distract from the page’s purpose. Often, this includes removing the site’s navigation menu, and in some cases, limiting colors, photography, and clickable buttons.
The goal of any good direct response landing page is to provide the exact tool so that your targeted audience can successfully act.
A great example of this is the work we do for our client, Direct Orthopedic Care. We build monthly landing pages to market specific services and capture new patients:
3. Meet Patients Where They Are Through Facebook and YouTube Lead Forms
When you’re browsing Facebook or watching videos on YouTube, you’re not eager to be swept away by a business’s ad campaign. Fortunately for direct-to-consumer health care providers, these social network behemoths have the tools in place to capture potential patients with ease.
For more than a year, Facebook has allowed advertisers to use Lead Ads as part of their advertising mix. With Lead Ads, you can serve targeted audiences with a conversion form that is displayed within the Facebook mobile app. Users don’t have to leave the app and visit your site to submit the form. What’s more, because Facebook knows who its users are, much of the form is pre-filled, making it easier for users to complete and submit the form.
YouTube is also rolling out a similar feature on its platform. As of this writing, the tool is still in beta; however, we expect it to be available for all advertisers within the year.
4. Develop Mobile-optimized Experiences
With 2019 already underway, the move toward a mobile-dominated world inches faster still. Statista reports that 52.2% of global website traffic in 2018 took place on mobile devices.
For health care marketers looking to increase leads, creating mobile-optimized experiences is at this point simply table stakes. An Accenture Health survey found that 42% of patients prefer to schedule appointments through their mobile phones but their providers don’t have that capability.
When hailing a cab, ordering take-out, and shopping for shoes can all be done from a mobile app, consumers will desperately seek out health care providers who cater to their mobile preferences—and avoid those who don’t.
5. Capture Upper-funnel Patients With Beneficial Content
The journey from prospect to patient is not always a short line from a Google search to a scheduled appointment. Nearly half (49%) of patients begin their search for a health care provider by researching conditions and diseases, according to Google. This same study found that 48% of patients take more than two weeks of online research before finally booking an appointment.
During that period, the patient will require several touchpoints as they narrow down their selection. At any point during this journey, direct-to-consumer health care marketers can insert their brand into the conversation through upper-funnel, beneficial content.
When patients are in the early stages of research (i.e., the upper part of the patient funnel), they are receptive to downloading or accessing content that will in turn make them a more informed patient. Depending on the quality of this content, patients may be willing to trade their contact information for the content, thus giving you the chance to make an early-stage connection.
The content you create may include:
- White papers around new and innovative medical solutions offered by your brand.
- Webinars where prospective patients can ask physicians direct questions.
- Interactive tools, such as calculators, quizzes, surveys, etc., that entice prospects to exchange their email address for interesting results and information.
- Newsletters that deliver exclusive content relevant to prospects through personalization.
It’s Time to Go Direct
We’ll continue this topic in future posts; however, you should now have a firm grasp on getting started with your lead generation strategies for your direct-to-consumer health care business. By creating focused calls to action, developing strong landing pages, and leveraging social media, mobile, and content marketing, you’ll develop a comprehensive marketing program that increases your inbound patients.
At GWL Advertising, we’re always happy to discuss your current marketing and advertising needs. Connect with us today about your own health care marketing questions.