April 28, 2022

The Prescription for Healthcare Marketing Success: Creating Audience Personas

Lisa Bowen

Before launching any marketing campaign, it’s important to know your target audiences. Specifically, in healthcare, you should learn as much as possible about your current patients to help you attract new ones. Knowing your target audience helps you attract the right patients – the ones that are a good fit for your practice or your hospital. And while this is extra work, it will save you time, money, and improve your results in the long run.

Sounds easy enough, right? But even if you think you know your target patients, there are some simple, important steps you can take to solidify those audiences. These steps will develop into audience personas, which have been used in consumer-driven industries for years to create more personalized experiences for consumers. But they’re just as important in healthcare.

How to Create an Audience Persona

To begin, you’ll first want to make some broad generalizations about the types of patients you currently see. In healthcare, we often target women (and specifically mothers), because they’re typically the ones making decisions about health. But we need to know more if we want to craft targeted campaigns that resonate with them.

For example, an OB-GYN practice that wanted to launch a general campaign to acquire new patients might begin by identifying some patient groups like: 

  • Young women looking for their first OB-GYN
  • Women of child-bearing years who want to start or grow their family
  • Women who don’t want to or can’t have children
  • Women who are done having children, and have concerns about menopause and health issues that come later in life
  • Post-menopausal women who want their general health needs taken care of

Each group has different needs and circumstances relative to their life stages, so it’s easy to understand why sharing the right information at the right time is so important. The last thing you’d want to do is send a postcard with a mom and a baby on it to a patient that can’t have children. But by tailoring your messaging to your audiences, you can show potential and current patients that you know and care about them. 

In order to do that, you’ll need to capture all the data you have about your patients. Ask yourself what you already know, and what you want to know about your audience, and fill out the information you have according to each section below.

1. Who They Are

Often referred to as the “about section,” this is the demographic and lifestyle information about a patient. Consider things like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income level 
  • Where they live
  • Type of insurance
  • Occupation
  • Personal interests and hobbies

2. Pain Points & Concerns 

Find out why patients are coming to you for their care and what their specific medical needs are, especially their pain points (i.e., specific problems) and concerns. 

3. Motivations

Some patients are motivated by convenience, like walk-in appointments, extended hours, or locations close to their home or work. Others are looking for expertise and want only the best of the best. For many, cost is an important consideration, and they may make decisions based on whether you are in network for their insurance.

4. Psychological Drivers

Consider what life situations or future aspirations might be driving your patients. This may be a desire to grow their family, fear of a health condition that runs in their family, or even a sense of duty to their own health needs.

5. Name Your Persona

Using all the information from above, now you can bring your persona to life. Give the persona a name and an image. The picture should represent the audience or group typical of that persona. This allows you to keep them front and center when planning campaigns or working on branding efforts, but it also makes it easier for others to understand who they are and how that group uses your services.

To make the most of your personas once the work has been done to create them, you must put yourself in their shoes when making decisions about how you need to connect with them. This will help ensure they are getting the right message at the right time through the best channel to reach them. Healthcare marketing is all about trust and building relationships. Sending messaging that makes patients feel like you know and understand them, and can help them overcome their pain points is a huge win that will pay off with big results. 

Want more information? Visit our healthcare marketing hub to find a variety of case studies, helpful blog posts and Agency for Change podcast episodes featuring other business leaders in the field of healthcare.

KidGlov is a content marketing agency and certified B Corp with offices in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, specializing in nonprofit marketing, healthcare marketing, financial marketing, social impact marketing, and purpose-driven businesses.