Healthcare Marketing Personas

Marketing Personas: 3 Ways to Make Sure Your Content Connects

Nadine Baarstad, Director of Client Development Content, Healthcare Marketing

All the really cool marketers are using them.

They’re taking their cue from that oldest of marketing maxims: “Know your audience.”

After all, the more we know about a prospective patient’s likes, needs and desires, the more we can increase engagement — and fill beds.

At its core, a marketing persona is a fictional character meant to represent a group of people who have similar needs, wants, habits, tendencies, inclinations and other characteristics. Personas make it easier to think about various specific types of audiences and to plan communications that will reach and connect with them.

These character sketches are based on real patient data (demographics, online behavior), as well as some educated speculation about their lives.

Going deeper than traditional audience segmentation, a marketing persona fleshes out a target audience in detail — digging into attitudes and feelings. A well-thought-out persona also zeros in on where and when the audience is most receptive to marketing messages and how they prefer to be engaged.

So, instead of targeting a broad audience of “mothers with young children,” consider developing a persona for “Barbara, Busy Mom.” Ask yourself about things that might keep “Barbara” up at night:

  • Keeping her family healthy
  • Keeping herself healthy
  • Feeling like she never has enough time
  • Having too many bills to pay
  • Lacking good information about health issues

By working through this exercise, you may discover a “Barbara” who is just as concerned about her own health as that of her children. She struggles with maintaining a healthy weight, and she’s feeling the effects of the stress that comes with being a working mother. She is worried about finding a doctor who will listen, and she wants value for her healthcare dollars. Her go-to website is WebMD because it’s easy to use. She sometimes feels like she’s the only thing keeping her family afloat.

If “Barbara” is a good market for something you offer, and if there are enough “Barbaras” to be worth pursuing, now you can talk to “her” in ways that will make sense and be meaningful to her. It’s much like how you might use different language and tactics when talking to kindergarteners than you would when talking to college professors.

Once you’ve identified ones for targeting, try these tips for creating messages that resonate with your various personas:
  1.  Rule with relevance. Always consider what your audience will perceive to be the most relevant message for them. Then write headlines, subject lines and content accordingly. For “Barbara,” saving time might be highly important. For another persona, money might be the motivator. Don’t waste energy sending irrelevant messages.
  2. Hone your tone. Think about it this way: When you’re tweeting your BFF, you use a different tone than when you’re writing home to explain Twitter to your mom. Everything from use of slang to copy length and word choice will be different. Mom likes long, meaty letters. Your bestie prefers bullet points and pictures. Think of personas in the same way.
  3. Map your content. Review your direct mail, blogs, email offers, and all other communications. Then map each piece of content to each of your personas. Be sure you’re using the right platforms for the right personas.

Harnessing the power of personas can save you time and money and can significantly improve the results you get from all your marketing efforts. It can also be a key to making the kind of personal connection with your audience that leads them to think of you as a trusted friend instead of a faceless organization.

Creating buyer personas is not just a tool. It’s a best practice. The marketing gurus at Wax Custom Communications can help guide you through the process. Call us at 305-350-5700 or visit waxcom.com to get started.

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