The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing Healthcare to Women

by Tiffany Parnell, Senior Copywriter - 05/16/16


Women make about 80 percent of healthcare decisions for their families, according to the United States Department of Labor. Find out how to craft content that connects with these key decision-makers.

Gender-based advertising has traditionally walked a thin line between successful and stereotypical—and results haven’t always been positive. The majority of women feel misunderstood by marketers in all industries, including health care. This may be because gender is often the only demographic considered when crafting messages for women. But a woman’s socioeconomic status, age and life stage, and occupation all play roles in her decision-making.

To reach female audiences, marketers need to look beyond gender when identifying their target audience. They also need to consider how women share and consume content when developing messages. Here are four do’s and don’ts to help organizations better market their brands to women.

1. Do make use of social media.

While the overall numbers of men and women using social media have become comparable in recent years, women still reign supreme on several sites, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. They not only use these sites to stay in touch with family and friends, but also to find information. Most women research brands and products online, and 70 percent of women make purchasing decisions based on stories and recommendations found on social media sites, according to an infographic by Cox Business.

Make sure your organization has a solid social media presence, and don’t be afraid to move beyond text to create Instagram- and Pinterest-friendly images, infographics, and videos.

2. Do incorporate women’s voices into your content.

Women crave authenticity and want to hear from other women who can relate to the challenges and experiences they encounter on a daily basis. Quote female sources about topics pertaining to women’s health and wellness. Female nurses, physicians, nutritionists, and other professionals can often provide tips that reflect the daily realities of preparing healthy meals, staying active, and putting their health first.

When possible, also incorporate a patient voice into your content. Women want to hear firsthand how a healthcare organization benefitted other women, children, and families, and patient stories lend both credibility and authenticity.

3. Don’t rely on the ‘mom’ stereotype.

Sure, women may overlook pages splashed with pink or images of harried moms in minivans rushing to drop their children off at school. But in worst-case scenarios, these tactics may be deemed condescending, making any message that follows fall on deaf ears. Even if you’re marketing to moms, remember that they have interests beyond minivans, strollers, and carpooling. Empower the woman first. Make her role as “mom” secondary.

4. Do employ the principles of audience segmentation.

Women play many roles—they’re moms, sisters, wives, friends, daughters, and coworkers. Not all women can identify with each role. Find out the demographics of your target audience. Are they young, single women interested in the latest diet and fitness trends? Are they older women who are searching for tips to safeguard their health, as well as the health of their spouses, children, and grandchildren? Are they financially stable, or have they just landed their first job? All of these factors influence purchasing decisions and the types of content women embrace.

Learn more about how your peers are using email and other marketing channels to engage specific audiences in the State of Healthcare Content Marketing Report 2016.

Download Your Free Copy 

Topics: Audience Segmentation & Targeting, Content Strategy

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