Healthcare may be rooted in science and data. But that’s not all that goes into it. In fact, emotion is a key motivating factor when it comes to patients making any healthcare decision.

Choosing a healthcare provider or caregiver represents a huge commitment. The patient puts their life, or a loved one’s life, in your hands. So those hands need to be trustworthy. Even if you’re the smartest, most skilled healthcare professional out there, all the supporting data in the world can’t change a gut instinct. Which is why empathetic marketing practices are so important.

But how do you create a patient-provider bond?

The Human Appeal

Lead with emotion. Anyone can make a social media post, but not everyone can produce a successful campaign. And the key to this success is trust.

People are hardwired to respond to stories and an emotional journey — the human aspect. So, whenever you can tell a story, do it.

A graphic is simply another static image if you don’t pack it full of sentiment. This explains why patient testimonials and video footage resonate with viewers. When patients can hear first-hand experiences and see real people, they can sense the vulnerability and authenticity of your message. And, they’re able to visualize themselves in your care.

Lean into testimonials whenever possible. They hold more weight than most other marketing techniques.

Another key component to remember when creating marketing media is the “customer experience.” When seeking medical help, the patient’s experience begins long before the treatment stage. You need to look at the bigger picture.

Start by addressing how to prevent health problems, then move to the process of diagnosis, and round out your marketing timeline with after-treatment messaging. By encompassing the entire health journey process, you’ll not only reach a wider audience, but also make your audience feel heard.

Using Emotion in Healthcare Marketing

The Right Angle

When creating and executing concepts, you need to identify the most prevalent tension in your patient’s story. Is it fear and anxiety? Or maybe anger? It could even be depression or hopelessness. Whichever the core feeling is, find it and relieve it through your content and marketing.

The most important factor of emotionally centered marketing is trust. If you don’t lay that initial foundation, you’ll lose patient interest and retention. By addressing your audience’s fear, you’re showing you understand them on a personal level.

Afterwards, you need to find your marketing narrative. Be sure to view your marketing strategy from a patient-first perspective. Go to the source — find testimonials, healthcare thank you letters, and detailed lived experiences on social media channels — and use it to build out your messaging.

People want to feel understood. They need to know others have overcome similar situations and that you helped in that process. Real patient and user-generated content will help them empathize with your past successes.

Using Emotion in Healthcare Marketing

How to Build Trust

Be thoughtful first and informative second. Dealing with health issues can be a stressful, anxious experience. Addressing that fear and being sensitive to patients’ struggles will show that you’re listening.

Don’t start your messaging talking about how wonderful your practice is. Begin with your patients’ needs. Show them you understand their problems and their perspective without judgment.

But remember: language is fickle and can have multiple meanings. It can be easy to stumble into an unintentional emotional connotation. Be sure you choose straightforward, precise language.

The Outcome

According to research from the University of New Orleans, an empathetic approach to marketing helps consumers identify with brands.1 At the end of the day, patients will remember how you made them feel, not what you said. When you evoke an emotional response, patients are more likely to form a mental connection to your brand. Which means they’ll remember the positive association with you. And, they’ll be more likely to seek out your care when they need help.

This form of relationship building will not only establish a sense of trust and community, but will also increase the quantity of new patients and retention rates.

If you’re looking for more details or need help developing an empathy-driven campaign, we would love to help. Reach out to MKR with any questions.