These telehealth marketing strategies will ensure you’re engaging with the right audiences when they need help the most.
Among other paradigm shifts accelerated by the pandemic: Consumers adopted telehealth services at a level entirely unexpected by healthcare providers. Use of virtual care options will continue for the foreseeable future, especially as telehealth reimbursement is likely to expand. The challenge is create a telehealth marketing plan that delivers the right message to the right consumers to grow your business—without cannibalizing performance of your primary care, urgent care and ER service lines.
As you work to define your telehealth marketing strategy, answer a few key questions first:
- What conditions do you want consumers to use telehealth options for?
- Specifically, what are you offering? This varies depending on the organization and tends to include scheduled primary and specialty care visits, on demand visits for urgent situations and more.
- Who is providing care? Is it your own medical group providers? The same primary care provider a patient is used to? Alternatively, are you partnering with a third party to deliver services with providers who may or may not be familiar to your community?
- How do patients access the services? This also has variety and can include downloading and registering for an app based service, scheduling through MyChart or similar tools, and other custom solutions your health system or telehealth partner may have developed.
These are all key questions that will shape the message strategy of your telehealth marketing plan.
How to Market Telehealth
At a high level, marketing telehealth is not fundamentally different from your other service lines. The core goal is to connect with the right consumers, through the right channels, and with the right message to drive an appropriate next best action. Your foundational channels like paid search, social media, display and email marketing will be effective, but consider these tips as you build your media plan and campaign assets:
Leverage Email Marketing and Text Messaging Capability
Email and text messaging are two cost effective channels that marketers should be working to optimize to their fullest potential. For telehealth specifically, we recommend leveraging data on existing patients to set up email campaigns and text message reminders about seasonally relevant services for which they should consider telehealth.
An example could include an email campaign at the beginning of flu season both promoting the importance of getting a flu shot, and educating consumers on when and how to seek care for flu like symptoms. Similarly, allergy outreach in the spring, campaigns centered on bites, rashes, health safety, swimming safety and more ahead of summer months can be a great way to keep in touch with patients with relevant information. Bonus: These are great ways to support patient retention goals.
Fine Tune Paid Search Strategies
Once you know what services your providers want consumers to utilize telehealth for, structure your paid search bid strategies around those specific and high intent terms and phrases. Marketing telehealth can sometimes come at the expense of service lines that generate more revenue, so honing in on specific condition- and symptom-related terms will help align marketing goals with business goals. We also recommend using ad extension links to promote nearby urgent care facilities and primary care, in case someone is looking for a higher acuity resource.
Promote the Service through Social Media and Display
As with any service line, paid social and display will build brand awareness and educate consumers on when to leverage your telehealth options. Make sure this campaign doesn’t cannibalize primary care and urgent care campaigns by building a thoughtful media plan, but do leverage Facebook, Instagram and display as a way to grow your audience and drive new patient volume.
Optimize SEO Performance
Optimizing SEO to support telehealth involves two key components. First, ensure your website content is optimized for search and designed to help consumers through the digital journey. Second, incorporate topics on conditions and symptoms that someone should use telehealth for into your blog strategy.
Developing content on allergies, the flu and more that promote telehealth as the appropriate access point can drive organic performance and build brand relationships. This content can also be used in your email and social media plans throughout the year.
Align Your Content with Audience Needs
As you build your telehealth marketing strategies, ensure each asset you leverage is uniquely designed to engage with your target audience. Often, moms are going to be the core focus of strategies to promote telehealth services, but be mindful of the ads, blog posts, emails and texts that might reach audiences like seniors or weekend warriors, too, and align your message with their unique needs.
A strategy for marketing telehealth services is a must-have in the post-pandemic environment, so we hope these tips help as you integrate the service line into your marketing plans.