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What Is A Patient Persona, And How Can It Help Me?

 

Patient acquisition today calls for targeted practice marketing, and targeted practice marketing requires a complete understanding of your current patients, those you want to attract more of, and the unique selling proposition of your practice.

Without an understanding of these components, your efforts will lack direction, waste time and money, and hurt the growth of your practice. This is why developing a patient persona for different patient demographics is so important…

Let’s get started!

Understanding Your Patients

In order for any health practice to thrive, a deep understanding of who that practice’s patients are is of vital importance.

If you want to see your own practice undergo dramatic growth in 2016, it’s time to dig in and learn more deeply about your prospective patient community. The first step in doing this is through the development of patient “personas,” –avatars that represent specific demographics with whom you are trying to connect.

When you go through this process, you will better understand who your patients are, where they are coming from, and what their expectations and beliefs are. This is the first of four articles that will teach you how you can create your own patient personas, so you can best tailor the messaging of your healthcare practice.

Any marketer worth her salt can tell you that a properly-targeted market can be seen as a defined collection of values, beliefs, and motivations. By combining these shared factors into one “persona,” you will have an embodiment of your customer type to whom you can tailor your practice’s messaging and branding.

Instead of thinking about your patients and potential patients as a nebulous group of thousands of unique individuals, each with dramatically different goals, conditions, and circumstances, a marketing best practice is to develop “Patient Personas.”

What Is A Patient Persona?

A Patient Persona is a fictional person that stands as a representation of a group of patients with significant similarities. For example, two patient groups from whom you could craft a more developed Persona are young athletes who’ve been injured playing a sport and elderly people suffering conditions resulting from the body’s natural aging process. Each of these groups have drastically different needs, and respond uniquely to different types of marketing.

patient personas inboundmd medical marketingDetermining your target Patient Personas is crucial in bringing more of your preferred type of patients through your door. Imagine the dramatic differences needed to better serve and attract a patient in one of the previously mentioned patient groups over the other.

Personas can be used to influence nearly every decision about your practice, from your website content and design – to your advertising – to the professionals with whom you regularly network.

Creating and posting content on your practice’s website geared toward the average person searching online is a mistake. You overlook the individual by pursuing the average, by providing content for the many. Your practice marketing, to be most effective, needs to address one person … your persona.

Don’t address readers as though they were all seated together in an auditorium. When people read your practice’s messaging, they do so as an individual. Write as though you are writing a personal letter to each of them, and see just how powerful a concept the Patient Persona truly is!

Example of a Patient Persona

So then, rather than crafting your practice’s messaging for “25-34 year-old married women with an annual income over $50,000, with 1-2 children,” you craft your message for a singular persona:

untitled-designSarah Smith

  • 29 years old
  • BA in English
  • Married for six years
  • 2 children

Sarah works at a call center (part-time) and is raising her two children (ages 2 years and 6 months). She is in charge of setting medical appointments for the family, and brings her children to the doctor for routine visits. One of her children has recurring chest infections, and requires doctor visits more frequently. Sarah is a non-smoker, and runs a few times a week to stay in shape for 5k’s, which she loves to do about twice a month. Sarah also cares for her aging parents, who need some amount of assistance making sure they have their health needs met.

Isn’t it easier to think of Sarah as real, in relation to the demographic information? See how much more easy it would be to present messaging that will be of interest to her, that will address her needs? Content that genuinely helps her and for which she will be grateful? Content that really connects with her?

This is the point of developing Patient Personas. In parts 2-4 of this series, we’ll show you exactly how to craft your Patient Personas and how to get the most out of them. You’ll discover, firsthand, just how powerful a concept the Patient Persona is when your practice gets raised to the next level.

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", that details how successful practices are winning online.

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