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Developing a Successful Telehealth Marketing Strategy

by | Sep 14, 2020

Telehealth is nothing new. Hospitals and clinics have had the capability to use digital information and technology to provide remote healthcare services for years. However,  telehealth marketing strategies have been lagging behind the technology, leaving many people unaware of the benefits telehealth offers.

What is new is the seemingly quick adaption by patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak. People who never considered telehealth appointments have been forced to give the technology a try during isolation and distancing requirements.

Eventually, the pandemic will lessen. People will once again have the CHOICE to use telehealth. So the question becomes,

“How can healthcare facilities develop a winning telehealth marketing strategy that convinces people to continue to use the technology?”

Telehealth is Here to Stay

The first step to developing a successful telehealth marketing strategy is to realize that it is not going away. Or at least that’s the hope of most medical professionals and the majority of healthcare marketers. In fact, researchers are predicting a seven-fold growth in telehealth by 2025.

According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than half of all US hospitals have already invested in a telemedicine program. Large investments in hardware, software and services provide an incentive to make sure telehealth programs succeed.

Telehealth is also effective.

Once telehealth systems were employed by the Veterans Health Administration, post-cardiac arrest care program, hospital readmissions decreased by 51% for heart failure3 and 44% for other illnesses.1 Plus, a study of the outcomes of care for 8,000 patients who used telemedicine found no difference between the virtual appointments and in-person office visit. And finally, telemedicine provides cost savings, for hospitals, employers and patients.

With high amounts of money going into telehealth and high levels of effectiveness and cost savings, it’s safe to assume telehealth isn’t going away. So, how do you build a successful telehealth marketing strategy?

Telehealth Needs to be Part of Your Overall Marketing Strategy

It is important to keep in mind that your telehealth marketing strategy should be included in your overall marketing strategy. In other words, you need to position telehealth services as yet another part of your routine care.

While there has been an increase in the use of telemedicine, that doesn’t mean that people are aware of all the benefits of telehealth – even if they’ve already used the services. So, you need to start back at the beginning to create a campaign strategy to increase awareness and adoption.

This means doing the research to discover all the benefits to telehealth, determine your target audience and why patients choose to try a new service.

A survey from May 2019 shows a free trial period and an appealing online presence was the top two ways motivators to consider a new brand. Once you look at these factors, you can determine the overall messaging and the best way to reach your audience.

Setting Patient Expectations

One of the more critical factors in your telehealth marketing strategy is not only informing your target audience but also establishing patient expectations. If patients know what to expect, they are more likely to be satisfied with the overall experience. Here are a few tips:

  • Create a brochure or webpage that specifically spells out the benefits of telehealth
  • Keep the language simple and focus on care rather than technology
  • Make all directions for use easy to read and understand
  • Let patients know they will be able to ask questions
  • Give providers marketing pieces to share with their patients in the office
  • Create information for the office staff to educate them on what to tell patients

Key Components of Your Telehealth Marketing Strategy

Marketing telehealth isn’t vastly different than promoting other aspects of healthcare. The key to success lies in keeping the information about high-tech services easy to understand and reaching the right audience.

While every campaign is different, depending on audience, objective, brand and more, the following components may play key roles in your telehealth marketing strategy:

  • Brochure – effective for use in offices to hand to patients while explaining telehealth and its benefits
  • PR – press releases and guest articles help spread awareness and establish your facility as experts
  • Social media – various social media outlets can be effectively used to raise awareness, demonstrate how telehealth works, provide testimonials, serve as a resource for offers and more
  • Website – dedicating a page to telehealth services demonstrates your facility’s commitment to telehealth and shows that it is an ongoing service
  • SEO – through Search Engine Optimization, you can increase the likelihood that your facility will appear in searches for telehealth services
  • Traditional media – the use of radio and television ads, billboards and other traditional media may also be used to reach particular audiences, including older people who are often a primary audience for telehealth services

Working with an experienced healthcare marketing firm, like Nichols Healthcare, can help you determine which key components are right for your campaign.

Let Us Help

Telehealth services aren’t going away. What’s more, they provide real advantages for patients and providers. Due to the pandemic, the use of telehealth is increasing. Now is the perfect time to build on the momentum through a successful telehealth marketing strategy. To get started, or simply to have a conversation, please reach out to me anytime at MKlein@WeTellYourStory.com.

 

1. The Promise of Telehealth for Hospitals, Health Systems and Their Communities, Trend Watch, January 2015

Matt Klein - VP Account Services
Matt Klein believes that the business of healthcare is personal — because healthcare is personal. It’s a subject he’s very passionate about. Throughout his career, he’s worked with a wide variety of clients across the spectrum of healthcare, including large national companies such as Advocate Health Care and Pfizer, regional powerhouses including St. Vincent’s Health System and IU Health, and smaller, specialized facilities such as Advocate Eureka, Orthopedic Sports Enhancement Center, and Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology.

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