Understanding the Customer Journey to Better Market Telehealth Services


What is the significance of the customer journey for telehealth marketers? 

Realizing your patient’s or consumer’s challenges – and how your telehealth offering is positioned as a solution to those challenges – sets the stage for you to create marketing plans that provide telehealth solutions for their healthcare problems.  

Expectations of consumers are shifting 

As Millenials are poised to overtake Boomers as the largest generation of Americans, it’s critical to realize that “one in five Millennials say they cannot afford routine healthcare expenses,” according to Media Logic.  

Assuming this is true, it should be no surprise that potential telehealth consumers search the term healthcare over 100 billion times each year.  

This “on-demand economy” and abundance of health information online has changed the expectations of consumers. Telehealth is an adaptive option that can provide millennials and all consumers looking for an alternative to traditional in-office care, a different choice. Using telehealth as a lower-cost form of medical consultation is an ideal way to integrate the provider/patient interaction with advances in technology. Not only does the telemedicine offering fill the need of having on-demand care, but it also satisfies the need of millennials to be able to conduct interactions via their mobile device. 

You need to market telehealth services, so what’s next? 

From this understanding, it’s critical that you measure and learn what your ideal customer journey map looks like. What do I mean by that? 

As a marketer, it’s your job to find out how the funnel/journey works in your business. The generally accepted wisdom is that a user starts searching for information at the top of the funnel wherein they encounter your brand for the first time. Having made initial contact, it will likely take multiple interactions (touchpoints) for that user to “move further down the funnel” and eventually take a conversion action and become your customer.  

Today’s customer journey is increasingly complex because of the interconnectivity among digital interactions. Often times the journey isn’t a “funnel”, it is a series of interactions and touchpoints with various degrees of interest and engagement with your brand and offerings. Your “funnel” may take the shape of a winding road or a peaks and valleys chart. No matter the course, it is your job as a marketer to be where your potential patients are when they want to interact with your business. 

The Keys To Unlocking the Customer Journey 

Data and analytics – tagging, tracking, measuring and modeling – are the keys to understanding your customer’s journey through the funnel. Understanding the data you need to collect at each point of engagement is critical to understanding if you have groups of prospective patients who exhibit “like behaviors.” We call these audiences. Once we begin to identify audiences that convert, we can find similar audiences to target with our digital media, thereby increasing our potential pool of prospective patients. This is why tagging, tracking and measuring every action of your potential customer’s journey is so critical.  

Break your customer journey into the following segments and measure the most important KPIs in each: 

Awareness. This is the beginning of the customer journey where prospective patients are taking notice of your brand. 

Metrics to pay attention to at this stage: 

  • Brand recognition and recall: How many people, percentage-wise, can recall your primary brand messaging a couple days after first seeing it? This lets you know if you have a strong brand message that resonates with your potential patients. 
  • Share of voice: How many people, percentage-wise, are knowledgeable about the products or services you offer and are talking about it online? This indicates the total exposure your brand gets in digital as compared to the total exposure of your competition in the market. You can use Adwords Impression Share to help you measure this. 
  • Brand sentiment: How are people reacting to your brand messaging? Are comments and engagements with your messaging mostly positive or negative? What emotions are being conveyed with the keywords used? How are people feeling about the message? There are a variety of tools to measure sentiment in the marketplace. 
  • Brand amplification: How many people after seeing your brand message are sharing it and at what rate? You can measure this in social channels as a ratio between the number of shares to the number of overall followers. It is important to note because it indicates whether you are gaining brand affinity within your target audiences. 

Consideration. This is where your potential patient is doing more research and continuing to learn about your services. 

Metrics to pay attention to at this stage: 

  • Site engagement via traffic sources: Where is the traffic to your website coming from? Dig into Google Analytics and look at the number of site visits you are getting from the various sources (social media, search engines, referral sites, organic search, etc.). Are there clear winners that are driving most of your traffic and then your conversions? Identify the best and worst performing sources so you can push your investment into the sources that are giving you the best conversions. 
  • Landing page visits vs overall website visits: Are your potential patients just landing on your website’s homepage and then bouncing? Or are they diving into landing pages that target specific services that you offer? This is a critical metric to measure because it shows that your content is leading to additional touchpoints and engagement with your potential patient. You are driving them further down the funnel/journey. 
  • Calls-to-action performance: How well are the calls-to-action on your landing pages performing? Are potential patients clicking on your “Call Now To Feel Better” button? Are they exiting before they click, “Learn More”? If so, you need to revamp your call-to-action strategy. The goal is to get potential patients to engage with you and if they are not clicking on your call to action then it is time to revise it. 
  • Bounce rate: How long are site visitors staying engaged with your content? Are they exiting the site after visiting the homepage? Do they engage with certain landing pages at different rates and still exit the site without making an appointment? You won’t convert every visitor but if you are seeing unusually high bounce rates on specific landing pages after visitors are spending 10 minutes or more, then you need to dig into what is happening. 

Conversion. This is where the potential patient actually becomes a patient by booking an appointment for telemedicine services. 

Metrics to pay attention to at this stage: 

  • Effectiveness of form fills and click to call. Is one tactic outperforming the other? Look at conversion metrics of each to determine which one your audiences prefer. 
  • Cycle time. How many touch points/engagements did it require to convert the prospect into a patient? Are there ways to reduce this through improved UX, more informative landing pages, better calls to action? 
  • Path to conversion performance. If you have tracking set up properly you can follow your site visitors as they navigate around your site. Many of your potential patients will visit your site several times before deciding to book an appointment. Following their path to conversion can reveal where the tipping point was in the conversion.  

And on the other end of the funnel/journey, there are tons of retention metrics to identify and measure, for instance: average order value, lifetime value and churn. All metrics that are incredibly valuable and insightful as you grow your business and continue your investments in digital marketing. You can begin to identify specific groups of patients who tend to use your telemedicine services more frequently and those who only use the service once. This is incredibly useful information as you begin to tailor your digital marketing to audiences most likely to be repeat customers. You can use your digital marketing dollars more efficiently and effectively. 

These metrics are most important for businesses marketing a subscription service. I know there are some telemedicine services that offer this option, like AllDay MD, for instance. 

Once you understand the customer journey and some of these important quality metrics, you can make more informed decisions about how and where to target audiences with your paid marketing messages. Knowing which parts of the buyer journey are most influential will allow you to inject more spend into the right places at the right times. 

When it comes to ROI, elevating AOV and maximizing LTV, are absolutely essential to make the most of every marketing dollar at your disposal. 

If you’re looking for help identifying the most critical points in your funnel, analyzing the customer journey or overhauling your telehealth digital strategy, send us an email letting us know how we can help. 

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