Turning Patients Into Promoters: Leverage Testimonials to Build Your Healthcare Brand

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May 2024
There is almost nothing more influential than the authentic voice of your patients for effectively communicating your organization’s story.
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We know patients expect a more personalized and consumer-friendly experience. They are also making highly informed decisions about where they choose to receive care (and who they choose to receive it from), with more than 70% leveraging online patient reviews as part of their process.1

Positive, organic patient reviews are valuable for building interest in your organization. But testimonials representative of your patient population also empowers your marketing team and patient acquisition stakeholders with powerful content demonstrating the value of your organization.

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While this article focuses on the patient voice, you can realize similar value by featuring other supporters or internal champions. Real voices and experiences resonate.

The importance of the patient voice.

When working to build awareness for your organization and attract new patients, featuring real patients can make a major impact by delivering:

  • Authenticity and credibility: Patients trust other patients. Sharing real stories from people who have been positively impacted by your organization adds a layer of authenticity and credibility to your messaging.
  • Emotional connection: Patient stories show the human side of healthcare. This fosters trust and empathy with prospective patients, making your organization more relatable to patients considering a change.
  • Proven value: Highlighting positive health outcomes and quality of life improvements demonstrates your organization’s impact in a way that resonates with people who may be facing similar health challenges.

Personalize the experience.

Incorporating the patient voice into your marketing efforts enables your organization to communicate and validate how your organization caters to an individual’s needs and care journey.

  • Tailored storytelling: Curate stories addressing specific health conditions, demographics, or treatment approaches. Patients will connect with stories on a deeper level when they hear from someone experiencing similar health concerns who has had positive outcomes.
  • Interactive features: Gather feedback by pairing your testimonials with interactive tools such as surveys or polls. These insights can further tailor your marketing messages and offerings to meet the needs and desires of your target audience.
  • User-generated content: Testimonials don’t always need a large production budget. Establish a method for patients to share their own stories (and for your team to vet them before taking them public). This can build a sense of community and empowers patients to not only be an advocate for your organization but also themselves.

The power of video.

Planning a video shoot can seem daunting, but making it your primary format can be the most impactful way to leverage the patient voice.

  • Increased engagement: Video is a powerful storytelling tool. Using it to capture your patient testimonials can help engage your audience’s attention and hold their interest more effectively than a written patient story.
  • Transparency and trust: By empowering patients to share their stories in their authentic voice, viewers can feel a connection to them, elevating the level of trust they have in your organization.
  • Emotional impact: Personal narratives combined with the power of video can result in a lasting emotional impact on prospective patients. This is crucial to driving the desired action — encouraging potential patients to seek care from your organization.
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Events can be a great opportunity to capture testimonials. When conducting formal interviews, plan with your interviewees so they are prepared. If you want to take a less structured approach, keep it simple. Ask your willing participants one or two key questions and allow time for considering responses. Don’t forget to have video releases available.

Maximize your investment.

As you are planning your video shoot, think through how the testimonials align to your broader marketing strategy. Beyond the testimonial itself, there are a multitude of ways to leverage the content — from cutdowns for organic and paid social media advertising to incorporating patient quotes and imagery into written assets. Don’t look at video testimonials as a ‘one-and-done’ deliverable — they will be a rich source of content for your marketing team to mine.

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The video release is crucial. This will define how, where, and for how long the content may be used. If your organization doesn’t have a standard release, there are many templates available. If you are working with an agency, they may also have a template. And, if you have in-house counsel, it’s good practice to seek their input.

1 GlobeNewsWire, “New Research Finds That Over 70% of Consumers Read Online Reviews When Considering a New Doctor,” February 2022.

Lorraine McMeekin
Lorraine McMeekin
Senior Director, Strategy – Healthcare
With more than 16 years of experience in healthcare marketing, Lorraine leads the Healthcare Strategy practice at StudioNorth.

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