Looking to Prequalify Prospects?

15 02 2010

Too often in healthcare marketing we find organizations speaking to the masses with no differentiation between symptomatic and asymptomatic audiences. For years sales teams in other industries have worked their prospect databases and taken steps to prequalify leads. If it works everywhere else why has it not caught on in healthcare?

We do prequalify leads but generally the step is conducted in a physician’s office — if an individual has a personal physician.  Primary care physicians are generally strong advocates for routine screenings. But if a test needs to be done outside of the office and if an appointment is not set on the spot, there is a chance the individual may not pursue preventive measures. 

This process can be unreliable. If a hospital does not employ physicians and there is competition in the market for screening services it can be difficult to drive service line volume through preventive care. Difficult, but not impossible.  In fact, digital communications has made it easier than ever. Tools like online health risk assessments (HRAs) can be easily used to determine an individual’s relative risk for a given condition. Once the risk is known, then simple customer relationship management tactics can be implemented to extend special screening offers to those above average risk and to keep communications going to ensure your services are top of mind.

Pen and paper HRAs have been used for years but online tools allow for real-time results. And when an HRA is part of a landing page, you can build in other tools such as physician finders, second opinion programs, screening registration (or coupons) and even online or telephone nurse triage/consult.

Simply building an HRA is not enough. You need to create awareness and encourage trial. So you may need to employ some mass communication to drive traffic. Best results will come from use of predictive modeling and direct mail or an e-mail campaign as you will only be reaching out to individuals expected to be at above average risk for a given condition. As a result, the marketing campaign will cost less and should be more effective.

But you may also want to consider use of sponsored search to drive traffic. In this case your visitors may not be above average risk personally but are likely in “shopping mode” and seeking information to help make an informed provider or treatment selection decision.

The ticket reveals a URL.

In January, Southeast Missouri Hospital launched a campaign designed to encourage individuals to participate in a suite of HRAs using a teaser campaign which included a faux scratch-off ticket and the lure of prizes. Tickets were distributed in the mall and at local events and outdoor was used to drive individuals to a landing page. After the first five weeks in market, the internal team had distributed over 7,500 tickets, the landing

A series of three outdoor messages were used.

page had 1,027 visits , there was a 320% increase in HRA activity and a 65% increase in physician referrals.

Remember, simply identifying at risk individuals is not enough. Use the information gathered from HRAs to make

The landing page leads to an interior page which reveals eight HRAs.

outbound calls using call center staff, to create an experiential opportunity (free physician consult, invitiation to a reduced rate screening or lecture, etc.) and to stay connected.

Because you gather basic demographic information during the registration process, you have a closed loop system. Be sure you take steps to monitor and track your results over time (patient conversion) and use the opportunity to test your creative, offers and messages to see what generates the best results.  

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