Just Listen

Improve the effectiveness of your  healthcare content marketing

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

Isn’t this a good description of content marketing? We work
to develop customer personas and then, assuming we understand the audience’s
goals and concerns, we focus the message on all the ways our business is meeting
them. Most marketing content is still about us, not our audience.

Content marketing may seem like a one-way communication. But
technology has made it much easier to make listening part of the equation. As
in personal relationships, it takes more time—and sometimes energy—to sit back and
listen. I say this as someone who loves to talk. (My kids too often accuse me of
trying to provide solutions, when all they want is for me to listen to their
feelings.) If listening was easy, we’d all be doing it more often.

The more you listen, however, the more you may find that by
asking questions instead of giving answers, you can form loyal and long-term
relationships with your patients or customers that become more valuable to your
business than any direct marketing you do.

So, how do you prove you’re listening and want to understand
your audience’s perspective and concerns? Consider these 5 tactics:

  1. Calls to Action: Whether you’re writing a blog post, promoting a white paper, posting on Twitter or LinkedIn, or submitting guest written articles, always insert at least one CTA that is a question rather than a command. For example, if you’re writing about a new medical device that you’ve just launched, your CTA might be, “What would be your biggest challenge in adapting this technology?  Please email me your concerns at info@companyname?”
  2. Surveys:  Instead of posting content about your services or products, post a survey that asks specific questions about a new service or product you are marketing that will elicit thoughtful answers. Explain why this information is important for you to collect. People are willing to provide opinions if they know how they will be used. Also, keep surveys short — three to four questions max — to respect your audience’s time. Offer multiple choice answers when possible, but request at least one written answer. You’ll find many survey tools online that are simple to set up and use.
  3. Comments on Social Media: When you interact with followers on social media, consider asking powerful questions that invite interaction, instead of posting your own point of view. Keep the conversation going by following up their responses with more questions.  Not only will you make the other person feel heard, but you might also help them see the issue in a new way. And they will remember that feeling longer than any comment you could make about your own knowledge or expertise.
  4. Comments on Rating Sites: If you have a practice or organization that is receiving online reviews, make sure you monitor rating sites regularly and respond to written reviews as applicable. But again, instead of providing a canned response, ask questions that demonstrate your empathy. Instead of, “I’m sorry we didn’t live up to your expectations,” ask, “What could we do to make that experience better for you?”
  5. Online Feedback Surveys: You can automate a feedback collection process with a software program that sends surveys to patients or customers immediately after all or specific interactions. The feedback can help you evaluate the quality of your service and/or products. Better yet, use software that can be integrated with a Customer Relationship Management program so you can respond to any survey response with either another question or answer. If a recipient only gives you one star, for instance, ask them what you could do to bring that up to five. Again, respect your customers’ time and don’t overdo the surveys or questions.

For some great examples of how other healthcare organizations are creating connections with their audiences, download a free copy of:

 9 Examples of Empathy in Healthcare Content Marketing.

Photo by Malte Wingen.

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