Millennials are at the age where they are no longer covered by their parent’s health plans. As a result, 83.1 million young Americans are making their own choices for healthcare providers. This is an opportunity for practices to market to, and reach, the millennial generation. There are best practices and tactics to build an outreach campaign to this growing group of health services consumers.
According to a recent study sponsored by the cloud software company Salesforce.com, patients in this age segment perceive the level of technology investments a doctor’s practice has made as being proportional to the quality of care they will receive. This bodes well for practices that are starting to make investments into their internal IT systems as such investments may have marketing return on investment (ROI) in addition to efficiency gains.
This generation also values convenience and speed of service above all other factors, even price - though certainly this segment of the population is indeed price sensitive. This is an important distinction to make as there is often a belief amongst many marketers that millennials rank cost as the most important determinant in making their purchase choices, as they typically are at the bottom bracket of the income range.
However, a separate study conducted by Nuance Technologies on millennial patient behaviors indicated that, especially in highly metro areas, they are willing to pay a premium for both convenience and speed. What’s most interesting about this particular study is that 70% of young patients said they would choose a doctor based on friends and family recommendations or online reviews.
More so than any previous generation, millennials have unprecedented access to information and choice. They are also more publicly communicative with their opinions, reading and writing reviews of their consumer experiences.
This generation of patients are effectively “Compound Consumers,” where their purchase decisions affect the decisions of their social network, and even the public at large. So implementing a comprehensive reviews strategy is essential for any independent practice to reach this growing market segment, and perhaps the single most impactful campaign a modern practice can employ as a marketing tool.
Here are the top three methods to implementing a successful reviews marketing campaign to reach millennial healthcare consumers.
- Claim your profile page on popular review sites like Yelp and Google Local. You can search for, and create, your Yelp profile here as well as claim your Google Local listing as a doctor here. These types of profile pages have a way of showing up on the first page of search results for your name or the name of your practice. It’s critical to own these pages by making sure you have editorial control, including the ability to upload pictures of you, your staff, and your office.
- Use a marketing automation system that centers around appointment reminders and post appointment surveys. These systems are affordable, and the better ones can integrate into your EHR and practice management calendaring system so that the entire process of reminding your patients about their upcoming appointments and asking for reviews is completely automated.
- Set your marketing automation software to ask your patients to complete a survey and to automatically request that the patients who give your practice a 4 or 5 star rating leave a review on popular sites like Yelp and Facebook. The more sophisticated marketing automation software systems “syndicate” reviews. This means that positive reviews from patients can be placed on third-party review sites automatically, allowing your practice’s marketing campaigns to thrive.
While it may seem that the millennial generation is beyond the reach of your practice’s marketing efforts, this group will soon become health services consumers who not only make up a growing portion of the revenue pie chart for many practices, but an increasingly vocal one as well. So it’s important to not only understand them, but to leverage their user behaviors such as compound consumerism to smartly expand your practice’s revenue base.