Podcast #28

Personalization in Healthcare Marketing

Personalization is the key to creating lasting relationships with patients. And while many were slow to adopt this mindset, most healthcare providers now know what they must do. Engaging today’s patients requires knowing and accommodating each patient’s communication preferences, personal needs, and healthcare-shopping habits. Providers who deliver personalized experiences are rewarded with more personal patient connections, longer relationships, and increased revenue.

Episode Highlights:

Lauren Leone

Lauren Leone: “If you’re a multi-location business and you’re serving up a landing page, when someone does a search, make sure that page is the one closest to where they’re located. You can look at IP address and understand where they are. That’s not going to violate anything related to their health information concerning HIPAA.”

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Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite podcast, the only Healthcare Marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week Cardinals experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex MembrilloWhat’s going on, everybody? I am Alex Membrillo, CEO of Cardinal. We’ve got Lauren Leone on the line with us. She’s our SVP of Healthcare Marketing and you’ve probably heard her on previous episodes. That’s why you’re back because she is so brilliant. You want to know more from her and I do too. That’s what we’re going to learn about today is personalization. We’re going to be talking personalization.

Our friends over at Salesforce, we love Salesforce, they say 99% of people say that personalization helps advance customer relationships. That applies to healthcare as well. Obviously, as advertising experiences get more evolved, we want it all to cater to us. Do you think healthcare consumers expect personalized experiences? Does it creep them out because we’re talking healthcare? What do you think?

Lauren LeoneYes, there’s a degree to which it’s acceptable. That line is crossed if you utilize personal health information to personalize the experience, but what the health care patient does expect is an experience that shows that you understand where they are in the journey, maybe where they are geographically, and ultimately, that you’re trying to make their life easier when it comes to finding the information that they need in booking an appointment.

Alex: They want to understand your journey, make sure that anything, any ads or experiences being served is based on where they are in their thought process in picking a new provider. Talking about HIPAA, what’s actually permissible in terms of personalization? What are some of the things that people can do, can’t do?

Lauren: Can do, understand where someone’s geographically located. If you’re a multi-location business and you’re going to serve up a landing page, when someone does a search, make sure that page is the one closest to where they’re located. You can look at IP address and understand where they are. That’s not going to violate anything related to their health information. What you can do as well is understand where they are in the research phase based on the intent of their keywords, or maybe what past interactions they’ve had with your website or your organization. What you cannot do is imply that you know their condition and then serve them specific ads or specific user experiences related to that condition. That’s a violation of HIPAA, just point blank cannot do it.

Alex: Absolutely. Don’t apply condition. You don’t want someone else jumping on that computer and you’re serving all kinds of spine surgery information to someone, or even worse, oncology-related cancer-specific stuff. That’s how you find out a loved one has cancer. Not fun, be careful with that. Let’s talk about geographic personalization. What does it mean? What are some of the things we can do to cater to people that are based on the right or left coast, et cetera?

Lauren: In all of our advertising for multi-location groups, what we’re essentially doing is running a script on the site, so that when we pick up the IP address of the user, we know and can quickly understand which location is most relevant to them and serve them that page without having to have a landing page for every office. In an ad, for example, I may click “Psychiatrists near me“. Because I’m located in the Brookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta, what I would expect that website to do is serve me the result of the Brookhaven office understanding that I’m looking for someone in proximity to where I live. You can insert location information, map directions, all of that can be dynamically inserted into the page based on IP.

Alex: Very cool. Do you see a lot of provider groups using that to where it’s centralized? How many- an example- [crosstalk]

Lauren: Not enough. Not enough.

Alex: Not enough. Are they not big enough? They’re basically only in Atlanta or something like that, is that what’s going on, or the big ones will have to take-

Lauren: Even if you’re multi-location in a specific city, you may have 10 offices, and what you’re doing is you’re putting the burden on the patient to use a location finder, put in a zip code. You know how those things are, they’re finicky, they don’t always provide the best results. Then if you’re nationwide, imagine that you have to first sift through state and then you have to sift through city and then get down to the zip. It’s not widely used, I think because there’s perhaps a misconception that it’s really hard to do or maybe really costly, but there’s a lot of tools out there. If you have a sharp team who understands how to implement it right, it’s something you can make part of your evergreen efforts.

Alex: We’re talking about one type of personalization where we figure out what they are, who they are, where they are, and we serve that. Is there a different type like Dragon’s Lair, I think back in the day, you got to choose your own adventure and determine which path you went down in a video game before you were born? Is there a different way to this?

Lauren: Yes, there is. One of the best examples in the healthcare space is A Place for Mom. When you go to their website, they’re essentially putting you through a quick questionnaire that’s helping you navigate to the most relevant content. Are you a loved one? Are you seeking care for yourself, for a spouse, for a child, for a parent? Then understanding what type of care do you want? Do you want that care to be at home? Are you looking for a residential solution? Really just helping you navigate to the most relevant content by asking you a series of really simple questions that you should be able to answer since you’re seeking a service.

Alex: Yes, and that way you self-identify A Place for Mom or clients bigger [unintelligible 00:05:45], maybe we’ll mention our clients.

Lauren: It’s a north star for organizations to look at and understand how they can succeed. It’s not the right model for everyone, A Place for Mom. What they’re essentially doing is helping– It’s essentially a directory, right? They’re helping you to find the right company. It’s a little bit of a different model, but it’s something that you could do as a practice providing care.

Alex: Patient portals are protected. Can we put a more personalized experience behind the portal for people?

Lauren: Yes, I mean, we think about it as consumers ourselves. When I log in, I want to see my past appointments, my past bills, my upcoming appointments, notes from the provider, as they’ve been input from that past interaction, and the patient portal is that opportunity where you can go beyond what you cannot do on the front end, and there’s a lot of really cool patient portal technologies out there, I see a lot of practices not really utilizing that because again, it seems daunting to integrate it with something like your website, but oftentimes, you really just need to be able to kind of provide a click to a really easy place on your website where I can just find my patient portal login, and I don’t have to really host all of that information on my own site.

Alex: It makes it a lot easier. It can be a lot more catered. What else? As it comes to personalization, anything else come to mind that- provider groups just getting started, what would you advise them, like, “This will make things feel a lot better to your potential patient, and it’s pretty easy to do to start”? What would that be?

Lauren: Think about the user journey. You’re going to have users that generally fall into about three stages. There’s the discovery phase, where they’re just researching, perhaps a condition based on a keyword, and they’re doing research to understand what their options are, who even provides care for this type of thing? Where do I start? Then you’re going to go all the way down to “I’m searching for this provider in this location with appointments this week,” right?

The intent behind those types of keywords is very different and what you shouldn’t do is drop every single one of those searches on the same homepage. That experience can be personalized. A search with a geo-modifier, you should work to rank your- or serve if you’re running an ad, your location page for that office for that result with the Near Me search. If I’m searching for, “What are my treatment options for a sprained wrist,” and I’m not sure if I need to go to an ER, I’m not sure if urgent care is a solution, or I can just go to my general practitioner, and I’m going to get an ad for that, what I expect to see when I click through is a landing page about different types of sprains and different treatment options, so that I can get educated and decide what I want to do as a patient. Those are two very different user experiences, and you’re taking the burden off the patient to figure out where to go.

Alex: You know what I’m hearing, Lauren? It’s not simple as just throwing up some a PPC ad and a landing page. You really need to consider, the landing page has to match the PPC keyword, or any kind of ad campaign based on the decision or what part of the funnel they’re at, and make sure that you’re talking about the right symptoms or where they are in the journey.

When groups start advertising and they come to you and they say, “Hey, we want to run paid search, let’s just run a keyword group with one landing page with maybe one paid social ad,” what’s your answer to them? “Sure, and it won’t work, and we’ll show you why,” or would you go in full bore, or do provider groups just need to focus on one thing if they want to get in advertising?

Lauren: Think about your budget. Just like you work your way through different mediums and different tactics, as your budget grows, you start at the bottom and work your way up. If you’re just in paid search, there’s still a full-funnel within that of intent based on the keyword. Maybe you’re starting out. You have a really small budget, and you absolutely have to drive patients to prove this out and make it part of your evergreen initiative, then start with the high intent bottom-funnel keywords, and don’t worry so much about the research-based keywords, but if you want to grow, you want to reach more people, you want to stop competing, where the click is the most expensive, then you’re going to have to get more sophisticated. Do what your budget allows you to do, and don’t spread it too thin.

Alex: Yes. Start really strong, get the most amount of impression share you can in one part. If you’re just starting to search, you would suggest start with the end part of the decision funnel and bid on something like “Orthopedic surgeon”, not “My knee hurts”, something like that. Start at the bottom, and then as you expand, start getting higher in the funnel, start running page social to make people aware of your brand, but start bottom, bottom, bottom with the most intended keywords. That is not a word I use, but that’s what you- [crosstalk]

Lauren: You got it.

Alex: All right. good.

Lauren: Highest intent.

Alex: Lauren, this was really good. Personalization can happen in many ways, and we can talk about sophisticated things like geolocation, personalization, and choose your own adventure, but sometimes it’s just as simple as making sure the experience matches the advertising, and that’s where we all can start. Lauren, thanks for joining me on Ignite.

Lauren: Thanks, Alex.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.

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