Seven Steps to Immediately Improve Your Healthcare Marketing


We are communication experts… eh, right? I’m curious then, why much of healthcare’s messaging ends up clunky, verbose and without a clear call-to-action.

Much of the time it’s due to the fact that our healthcare consumer gets lost in the mix – or altogether forgotten – between creation, approval and execution. Too many times, we are appeasing internal audiences, as opposed to our end consumer.

Thanks to Kevin Pho, MD, ( or @KevinMD) for providing the inspiration for these tips that we feel will help keep you on track.

1. Who are you trying to reach? Before creating materials, think about who will use it. Adolescents won’t likely read a brochure picturing older people and expectant moms might be more responsive to mobile messaging instead of email. A video may be easier for your target audience to digest rather than a multi-page brochure. In addition to considering how your audience feels about the information, think about how your consumer will use the material you provide them.

2. Get feedback and keep editing. You won’t know if your messaging is resonating with your target audience unless you ask. Tap people around you who fall into the demo to find out what they think of imagery you’re using or a phrase that may or may not connect with them. A lot of times we use medical jargon that make sense to us but falls short when it comes to our target audience. If you find that your informal focus group isn’t responsive to your materials, then keep editing until they are.

3. KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. Focus on the primary takeaways and leave the supporting and other information where it won’t clutter the primary message. Perhaps offer a website or phone number where they can get more information, if needed.

4. Make it readable. If you want to reach 75 percent of the U.S. population, write at a sixth grade level. If you want to reach 90 percent of the U.S. population, write at a third grade level. Don’t take this as you having to talk down to your audience, it just means speak plainly so they understand. Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the U.S. population has difficulty reading and interpreting charts and numbers.

5. Format for maximum readability. Avoid large blocks of copy which may detour readers. Also, format your copy so it’s easy to skim for key messages. Use graphics and charts only if they are easy to understand and simplify, not complicate, the information.

6. Interactive content = engaged readers. Find ways to get the reader to interact with the materials. Ask questions, provide fill-in charts for them to track progress, link to interactive web assessments or provide suggestions for how they can apply the information that they are learning.

7. Be respectful. Just because the information is common knowledge to you doesn’t mean it is common knowledge to the reader. However, we need to educate and not belittle their lack of knowledge. Avoid phrases such as “as everyone knows” or “of course.”

Do you have ways to improve messaging? We’d love to hear your ideas! Feel free to share in our comments area.

AcrobatAnt Healthcare Marketing & Advertising
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK


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