Humanize Your Health Plan Marketing

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How does your brand present itself? Whether it’s potential customers shopping for a health plan or current members visiting your website or social media pages, what do they see?For the most part, health plan marketing is pretty bland and chock full of stock images. Part of the reason is .– it’s hard to get around the perception that health care is cold and prickly. And the fact is, it’s a perception that has been fairly earned in the minds of many people. But that doesn’t mean your brand should shy away from emotional, warm-and-fuzzy marketing, if that’s who you want to be.

If you want to stand out from the pack, differentiate yourself and show your commitment to people, you can. And, you have easy access to one of the greatest assets in personalizing and humanizing your brand: – your members.

Your brand, brought to life.
While we talk about the frustrations and challenges inherent in health care, the fact of the matter is that health care does help people. And those people have a story to tell. Whether it’s a customer service representative who went above and beyond, or the life-saving care you made possible, you have members who are fiercely loyal and can be brand champions. Why not tap into them? Nearly every other industry utilizes member stories as a marketing tactic, from auto insurance to credit unions. Reading those stories helps us get an idea of how we will be treated when we need help which can be a powerful sales or retention tool.

We’re in it together.
When members have a health care issue, they may feel powerless. It can be a scary time and they may feel isolated. Consider the impact that providing access to stories from other members could have. You’ll help encourage others to take control of their health and create a community of support.

How can you find (and use) these stories?
People love to talk about themselves. To solicit stories, you could:

  • Place a call-to-action in your print publications, such as newsletter
  • Prominently place a “Share your story” button on your website
  • Make a request through social media. If you have member-facing social media, chances are that people are already providing positive feedback. Follow up to get more detail and see if they are willing to share their story to a broader audience.

Need some help to get stories? Perhaps combine the request with an offer to donate to charity for every story gathered. Better yet, let the customer direct their own donation, selecting from a few charity options.

Where to share.
Use the stories as widely as you can. Print advertising, social media and your website are a few key channels.

Need some inspiration?
Each year, Modern Healthcare recognizes outstanding healthcare marketing campaigns through its IMPACT Awards. In looking at the 2016 winners, there are some great examples of how to apply a people-first approach to marketing. And, hey, the deadline to apply for 2017 awards is a few months away yet. Maybe you’re the next winner?

Another good example is this blog from the Mayo Clinic that showcases stories from patients, family, friends and staff.

Need help with any marketing materials or ideas? We have a toolkit of promotional materials available for use, including creative templates, contents and a variety of videos. Need access to it? Just ask me (marisa.obrien@healthsparq.com)!