How Health Companies Can Make the Most of Their Owned Channels

When you log into your Amazon account, you experience one of the best owned channel experiences possible. Every item on display is specifically tailored to your preferences and buying patterns and optimized to increase the likelihood you purchase something again soon. In today’s digitally centered world – and increasingly consumer-driven health care industry –  health brands need to take the same personalized approach to its owned channel strategies.

Owned channels include the digital properties that you control – websites, mobile applications, social media channels and blogs. Each of these channels offers a different value point for your users based on where they are in their health care journey.

Before you plan a digital engagement on your owned channels, first gain an understanding of your patients and potential patients, and how they leverage technology. The “everything fits everyone” approach will not work anymore, and your ROI will suffer. A traditional customer journey across most industries begins with awareness, then to consideration, to purchase, to service and ultimately loyalty.

Understanding the User Journey in Health Care

A common misconception is that all of your owned media channels should feel the same. And given the broad spectrum of “patients” and “customers” in health care today, that approach would be a major misstep. Actually, the experiences should feel different, and the content and functions should be geared to where your patients are in their health journey – and who they are. As examples, your blog may be geared toward users in a consideration journey so the content would be less conversion focused. On the other hand, your website may be where users purchase the product or make an appointment, so the content is precisely conversion focused.

There are certain areas of your owned digital strategy that should be consistent, however, such as incorporating a common content and design theme between your social posts and website landing pages. Being consistent reinforces to your audiences that they are following a journey and driven to a destination that aligns with their expectations based on where their journey began. As an example, if you have a social post that is conveying content to a caregiver audience, the destination website should include similar messaging, imagery and design cues consistent with the caregiver audience. Alternatively, if in this scenario, we linked users to the homepage of a site that featured millennial imagery and messaging that didn’t include the caregiver audience, users will likely disengage because of a perceived disconnect.   

In line with the example above, written content and video should also use the same tone of voice but may slightly differ when you are strategically speaking to different audience demographics.

Personalize Digital Experiences

People expect their digital experiences to be meaningful and relevant, and in health care, patient emotions around these decisions are exceptionally important to take into consideration. If you can tailor their touchpoint with your product or service to the time of day of when they experience it — including weather, holiday visuals, his/her first name – it immediately matters more to them. Email is another way to deliver personalized experiences to your customers. The content they receive and the landing pages they are directed to can be targeted exactly to their stage in making a purchase or service decision.

In order to properly incorporate this type of personalization, you need to have data to understand customers, including location, name, age and much more depending on the level of sophistication of your CRM system. Being mindful of PHI and HIPAA concerns, segmenting your patients, providers or customers will allow you to deliver more effective results and targeting. While personalizing an experience is not in itself expensive, the investment in a quality CRM system can be, but the value will deliver in ROI down the road. Valuable data gives you the capability to deliver relevant brand experiences across owned channels, in-person experiences and more. Deeper content targeting may cost more initially, but you will have a higher ROI in the end.

How Health Companies Can Get Started

If you are a health company debating about how to tailor your owned channels to your customer journey, you don’t have a choice but to start now. Health industry leaders are differentiating themselves with better targeting, more relevant health care experiences and highly personalized digital content. Begin with mapping out your customer journey (through data) and including personalized elements in your owned channel content experiences as soon as possible.

At each phase of the customer journey, we also recommended identifying key performance indicators for your owned channels, such as time on site, web traffic and click-throughs, and then finally to conversions, which are all available in Google Analytics. With health care specifically, it is challenging to lead to a direct conversion, but intent is measurable. Owned channel strategies can be regularly optimized by analyzing user patterns through this data and delivering more of the content that works, and less of the content that doesn’t. Successful owned media strategies will go through constant cycles of reviewing results, creating new health content and delivering it exactly when and where your users want it.

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