How healthcare brands can leverage influencer partnerships to drive new patient growth?
As we settle into 2024, one very popular topic keeps coming up in our discussions with clients; influencers. We’re thrilled our clients are thinking about new ways to market and excited to take a deep dive into the expansive world of influencers. For healthcare companies that rely on trust-based relationships for their business, partnering with influencers can be a great way to drive new patient growth. With the global health and wellness influencer market sitting at a casual 21.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2023, a plethora of opportunities await healthcare companies including improving patient engagement, building stronger brand awareness, and constructing a more sustainable patient funnel.
Why partner with health influencers as a healthcare organization?
There are a number of reasons why you should consider incorporating an influencer marketing strategy into your overall marketing strategy as a healthcare company, such as high ROI, expanded reach, and reaching new audience segments. And, while those are very important reasons, there are more personal, less investment focused reasons as well.
- Authenticity: Influencers make a living creating genuine, relatable content that resonates with their audience. Having an influencer back your brand automatically makes your message more impactful; to the audience it has already been vetted. Influencers have spent countless hours connecting with their audience and providing helpful, sometimes life-changing advice. This gives them an air of openness and authenticity, which is then translated to your messaging when they discuss your organization’s products and services.
- Credibility and Trust: Recommendations from trusted individuals often carry more weight than traditional advertising. In a survey by Nielsen, 83% of respondents were likely to trust a recommendation from friends or family over a brand, and even Google noted that 6 in 10 subscribers would follow advice from their favorite influencer over a movie or TV personality. Obviously you should promote your own products and services, but when you also have trusted individuals backing your messaging, it builds trust with your audience faster than self-promotion alone.
- Reaching New Audiences: Influencers can help your brand tap into diverse, previously inaccessible audience segments. While you’ll want to be sure the audience is still relevant, there are influencers for every topic in every section of healthcare these days, giving you ample opportunity to scale your patient base by tapping into an influencer’s captive audience.
Ways to start leveraging influencer partnerships today
Well, maybe not today, but the following tips should allow you to get started with an influencer partnership quickly. (As with most advice we give around marketing, this should be integrated into your overall marketing strategy with clear goals and objectives.)
- Start by building an influencer marketing campaign as it provides a helpful baseline from which to draw inspiration and measure your success. Plus, if it works well, it will be easier to replicate than starting from scratch. Any good marketing campaign should have the following components:
- Measure success with clear metrics: Start by thinking about how you will measure success and define the appropriate metrics to achieve that. For example, are you going to track engagement around the influencer post or reach? Will you be measuring conversions or just brand awareness? Your metrics may be different for each campaign based on your objectives.
- Define your target audience: Identify and understand the specific demographics you aim to reach through your influencers as this will help narrow down your search for the right influencer and the right platform. This also makes it easier to test different audience characteristics to hyper-target campaigns.
- Include the right CTA: Craft a compelling call-to-action and choose the most effective channels for your message. You don’t want to miss out on conversions because you sent people to a blog post instead of the scheduling form. The best CTAs reduce barriers to entry for patients and invite and engage rather than demand.
- Make sure to invest time in choosing the right influencer. If you haven’t researched the world of influencers before, you are in for a treat. It is an expansive place, and influencers range from micro to macro and beyond. Micro-influencers often bring a highly engaged niche audience perfect for specific products and services, while macro-influencers offer a broader reach which may be more appropriate for an initial brand awareness campaign. Either way, choose your influencer based on your campaign goals.
Additionally, keep the following things in mind when deciding on an influencer:
- Expected engagement: Look for influencers with a track record of high engagement rates as this can provide valuable qualitative feedback beyond just your quantitative metrics.
- Diverse influences: Collaborating with influencers outside of your usual sphere can open up new audience avenues as long as the audience remains relevant.
- Negotiations: Each influencer will probably have different guidelines and stipulations for working with them. Consider setting aside some unique perks for influencers that may entice them to build a long-term partnership with your organization. There is nothing better than having a brand champion on your side.
- Get creative!
Imagine being an influencer with limited time that gets hundreds of partnership requests a day or week. Which opportunities are you more likely to choose? Your run of the mill, average product pitch or something exciting? Make your pitch as creative and unique as possible and you will have a better shot at getting an influencer to work with you, and most likely, you will experience better returns on your investment.
In your bid to work with an influencer, remember that authenticity rules. Ensure your chosen influencer aligns with your brand’s values and can honestly endorse your products or services. And, prepare for an influencer to give candid feedback, which may mean you’ll have to address it, but it can actually bolster credibility and audience trust.
Influencer partnerships in healthcare are not just about broadening your reach; they’re about creating meaningful, trustworthy connections with potential patients. Start engaging health and wellness influencers today, and let us know how it goes! We want to hear your success stories.