Telehealth might sound like a magic bullet solution for delivering healthcare to rural populations. But there are some barriers that make both the adoption of telehealth and delivery of care challenging when it comes to rural patients.
How to Reach the Rural Patient with Marketing
When it comes to urban populations, there are a lot of opportunities to reach people in their daily lives – on digital media during their commute, buses, billboards and other public spaces. But when it comes to marketing to rural populations, the same media mix won’t produce equal results.
In some cases, the marketing channels won’t exist or would be cost-prohibitive to buy media.
So the ideal way to reach rural patients isn’t through flashy, big-box advertising methods.
There are plenty of lower-cost, digital channels that can better penetrate the market. And rural patients are spending more of their time on smart devices and online.
But that’s just part of the picture.
A large percentage of the nation’s poor are concentrated across rural regions. In these places, transportation and financial resources are constrained at the same time. Rural poor are 5 percent less likely to have Medicaid than urban poor – so they’re more likely to be in need of healthcare solutions – and more likely to face barriers to getting care.
For these patients, finding sustainable rural telemedicine solutions is critical.
Paid & Organic Social Media
Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of referral marketing, and when it comes to social media, it’s word of mouth gone digital. Between your organic channels and your paid efforts, you can target patients with messaging that educates and encourages them to explore your telehealth options.
Buying targeted display ads on the websites your patient base most frequently visit is another way of rethinking billboards from a digital perspective. By creating visual ads that communicate and persuade, you can stay top-of-mind in your patient’s minds as they spend their time online.
Apps like Google’s Gmail allow for in-app advertising. There are apps your patients use every day – so make it a priority to show up where they are spending their time online.
With more people using streaming services like Pandora and Spotify on their smart speakers, these are ideal places to advertise using digital radio ads. Patients also use these apps on devices with screens – so this is another opportunity to wage targeted display ads toward specific geographies.
As you move audiences further down the funnel, you can buy ads around search intent that point them to your telehealth solutions so that, when someone in your target geo searches a relevant keyword or phrase, your ad will display first. And with Google becoming more and more aggressive about its search engine results page displays, you can’t afford to skip your opportunity to appear on the front page of the internet for users who want your solution.
The Omnichannel Effect
The question isn’t about whether you should use these digital channels. The question is – how can you combine your strategies across multiple channels in a synergetic way?
Doing so has much more power to help you drive meaningful results than any channel could on its own.
Let me know what media mix strategies are working in your telehealth marketing efforts. And if you’re struggling to digest, strategize and execute your telehealth marketing strategy, maybe we should chat.