Marketing Strategies for Your Healthcare Awareness Campaigns

As healthcare marketers, public health awareness campaigns are some of the most important work we do. The strategy behind these campaigns must balance the goal of educating the public on an often sensitive topic while meeting the specific growth goals of healthcare practices or systems. As such, there are several factors that affect planning and implementation behind the scenes. Here are five marketing strategy questions to ask before launching a healthcare awareness campaign.

5 Marketing Strategy Questions to Ask Before Launching a Healthcare Awareness Campaign

Who is Your Audience?

Defining your audience may seem deceptively simple—target those affected by the healthcare conditions you are raising awareness for. However, careful consideration must go into determining who to target with your awareness campaigns to ensure your message reaches the right people, on the appropriate channels while maximizing your marketing budget.

As an example, your hospital system may be gearing up to run a heart health campaign during American Heart Month in February. Your primary target audience may be men and women over the age of 55 in your region. However, a secondary audience may be their adult children to encourage their parents to take care of their heart health.

Knowing who your audience goes beyond demographics. To run an effective awareness campaign, you must dive deeper into the unique characteristics of those you are targeting. What are their interests? How do they speak? How do they spend their time? These traits will inform not only your media mix and messaging but also how you evaluate the success of your campaign. 

What is Your Goal?

Again, the goal of an awareness campaign may seem obvious—to raise awareness on a specific topic—but your purpose may delve much deeper.

As the agency of record for the Florida Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS awareness initiatives, our assignment focused on promoting HIV testing within minority communities in the state, some of the most heavily affected by the virus. Our goal was not only to raise awareness of the availability of testing, but also to destigmatize HIV by debunking myths such as how it’s transmitted, methods of protection including PrEP, and being able to live a long and healthy life with a positive status.

Health awareness campaigns work to educate the public. In doing so, these campaigns may impact communities as a whole, as well as the residents within them. There is a great deal of power and responsibility involved in creating a campaign that not only informs but also inspires the kind of positive change it sets out to.

How Will You Evaluate the Success of Your Awareness Campaign?

Having a clear purpose gives your campaign direction. It integrates creative and strategy to maximize the success of your campaign. Additionally, having a goal means being able to set key performance indicators for your awareness campaign. These can include the number of appointments, website visits or impressions.

As a healthcare marketing agency, we prioritize impacting bottom-line KPIs—those with the potential to help your practice or hospital grow, invest in physicians and technology, and better serve your community. However, healthcare marketing must adhere to privacy laws that may not allow for tracking of every metric. As an example, our team is unable to track the number of HIV tests administered as a result of our awareness campaign. On the other hand, we can measure impressions, which totaled over 263 million in a single year, indicating our message reached our intended audience.

What is Your Message?

On the subject of messaging, what you have to say is just as important as how you say it. This is especially true when it comes to public health awareness campaigns, which may touch on sensitive medical or personal topics.

Going back to our FDOH HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, we recognized fear and shame were big deterrents surrounding HIV testing. At the same time, our research showed our audience placed tremendous value on aspects of their lives including their culture, their loved ones, their individuality, and their relationships. To combat our audience’s fears, our campaign celebrated the idea of protecting yourself to protect the things they valued most.

How Will You Share Your Message?

From participating in awareness events and community festivals, to reaching a broader audience via digital marketing, sharing your public health awareness message can take on a number of forms. The most important thing to keep in mind while planning the media mix for your healthcare campaign is knowing your audience.

How do they prefer to receive information? What channels do they frequent? Where do they live, work and play? The answers to these questions will guide how you structure the rollout of your paid campaign to maximize your budget. On the organic content front, this information also plays a role. If your audience is looking for healthcare information on YouTube, you will want to prioritize video content creation. 

Starting any public health awareness campaign with a focus on marketing strategy sets your work off on the right foot. Take a beat to answer the five questions above to carve out a solid foundation for your efforts, whether that’s by running a discovery session with your internal team or your healthcare marketing agency.