A plethora of choices in terms of tools, platforms, and techniques are available to healthcare marketers today for reaching out to their audiences. However, you should narrow down on the available choices to find what is most effective and how changes in patient behavior affect the process.
A methodology that is becoming very popular is influencer marketing. Below is a discussion on why you should adopt this strategy and how you can benefit from it.
Influencer Marketing Basics
Stated simply, influencer marketing is the process of promotion with the help of people who can develop buyers’ perception of your brand. Such people are called influencers. Names like Michael Jordan in Nike advertisements and William Shatner as the Priceline Negotiator will immediately spring to mind. The popularity of these people could influence the buying decisions of their fans. Healthcare, too, has reaped the benefits of influencer marketing for many years, though considerable evolution has recently taken place. One early example that you may recall is that of Bob Dole doing television commercials for Pfizer to promote Viagra. At present, a large percentage of total influencer marketing is taking the virtual route – be it forums, blog posts, or social media platforms.
Is Influencer Marketing Worthwhile for Health Brands
Influencer marketing can benefit healthcare promotion for quite a few reasons.
Traditional paid advertisements are not as budget-friendly as they used to be. With the average person getting exposed to thousands of promotions every day, a phenomenon called banner blindness has crept in where our subconscious mind turns a deaf ear to most of them. There is stiff competition for grabbing precious attention among a skeptical audience and this has caused healthcare marketers to rethink their tactics. Paid ads still retain a place, but only among audiences who are truly interested in building relationships.
Audiences have already begun connecting with healthcare influencers and are using virtual online communities. Influencer marketing initiates such conversations. The critical nature of healthcare calls for utmost credibility. Influencers who have gained the trust of audiences become more credible than even the most sophisticated messaging from a healthcare brand. Health brands looking for influencers can search for the most popular ones and use their help to develop their brand.
These days, because of the internet, people manage their health differently. A wide range of information and reviews on symptoms, healthcare providers, and treatment methods have enabled them to become knowledgeable partners in the process. According to the 2015 Global Health and Wellness Report from Nielsen,
- 89% of consumers believe that the best way to stay healthy is to take personal responsibility for one’s health.
- 70% expressed an active interest in trying to become healthier.
- 64% expressed the desire to control their health by any means necessary.
The Trust Placed in Health and Wellness Influencers
When compared to influencers in other sectors such as fashion and entertainment, healthcare influencers come with professional degrees, expertise, credentials, and continuing education needs. They are acknowledged as subject matter experts with relevant experience and knowledge. Most of them have an office or clinic where they meet patients and may also have a sound online presence with regular readers in large numbers.
A Wide Variety of Health and Wellness Influencers Has Emerged
Physicians have a great influence on how their patients manage their health issues. However, patients are not solely relying on doctors’ advice these days. Dietitians, personal trainers, nurses, health coaches, and other qualified professionals provide practical advice related to exercise, diet, managing health conditions, and improving overall lifestyle.
Accreditation programs in fitness have increased in large numbers due to the demand for experienced and certified fitness professionals. Similar growth has been experienced in health coaching programs due to more and more consumers wishing to assimilate properly the different kinds of health advice that is available to them.
Many Ways in Which Influencers Grow Healthcare Brands
Influencer marketing can come in handy throughout the entire scope of the healthcare process – right from awareness programs to diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up
Some of the ways in which influencers may grow healthcare brands are:
- Act as “the face” behind tailored marketing campaigns and social media initiatives
- Provide consultation on marketing materials to increase their efficacy
- Create meaningful content for social media
- Use formal testimonials to endorse brands as long as FTC is complied with
- Gather wider audiences of great variety
- Raise awareness about health secrets overview conditions and their causes and solutions
- Encourage patients to participate in surveys and become part of focus groups
- Becoming panel members and speaking at events
Aligning with the Right Influencers
Once your marketing goals are decided, you have to find the influencers that best suit you. They may include:
- Public figures like celebrities, athletes, politicians, etc.
- Qualified peers who are ordinary people who have gone through the same health problems as your target audience. The insights they provide are valuable enough to be listened to, related to, and trusted.
- Subject matter experts like scientists, providers, and healthcare organizations.