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Imagine having a step-by-step guide that illustrates the buying journey for your telehealth practice’s target audience—from prospect to patient. This perfectly sums up the customer journey map.

It usually takes six to eight touchpoints for a prospect to convert into a lead. Touchpoints represent the ways that consumers may encounter your brand, from social media to word of mouth.

The Benefits of a Customer Journey Map

Customer journey maps can provide a wealth of insight about your target audience’s needs, wants, pain points, and buying habits.

They also allow you to study the stages of their buying process by envisioning it from the outside looking in. Valuable data like this can be best used by applying it to your telehealth practice’s marketing efforts, including campaigns and messaging materials.

Why Customer Journey Maps Are Important

The post-COVID-19 “new normal” of healthcare includes telehealth. It’s here to stay. That means you need to adjust your marketing practices accordingly. To reach patients seeking telehealth, or to encourage existing patients to choose telehealth more frequently, you need to investigate the nuance of this new customer journey.

The good news is that this shift is an opportunity! It’s a chance to bring fresh eyes to how you reach customers. So, dig into the complexity of their journey. Look at it holistically as a patient experience –  and optimize every touchpoint.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map

When mapping out your patient’s journey, there are no loopholes or shortcuts. The act of doing so requires extensive market research. Why? Every patient’s journey is different from the rest. We’re going to walk you through the two main steps of creating a comprehensive journey map for the telehealth industry.

  1. Identify your patient personas

This is where the research phase begins. To complete this step, you’re going to need some help from your existing patients and/or prospects. Their feedback will help you shape the framework of your customer journey map.

One way to collect this information is by sending out a research survey (with a HIPAA-compliant survey platform, of course). This strategy complements the tech-savvy nature of your telehealth practice’s business model.

Consumers are more likely to finish a survey if it has 10 questions or less. Your mission with the survey is to unlock the Pandora’s Box of their minds, so that they can provide as much clarity as possible about their goals and buying habits. Choosing carefully thought-out questions can help you achieve this goal frequently.

Each patient persona should have its own customer journey map. Most businesses initially create a total of three to five personas. For this particular action, you may want to narrow the personas down to one or two. The personas that represent a larger percentage of your patient base would be your best bet.

  1. Map out the buying journey

Once you accumulate enough data about your personas, you’ll be ready to develop the structure of your customer journey map. This begins with the life cycle of your target audience’s buying journey, which often looks like this:

  • The Awareness Stage
  • The Consideration Stage
  • The Decision Stage

Every stage of the cycle has its own set of touchpoints. Previously defined above, touchpoints are best described as mediums where prospects (or patients) may have interactions with your company.

Just like with traditional healthcare, examples of common touchpoints for telemedicine services include:

  • Social media
  • Marketing content
  • Advertisements
  • Word of mouth
  • Events
  • Email marketing
  • Loyalty programs

In addition, we have found that telehealth patients are particularly responsive to text messages from their provider. Since the pandemic started, we have built out new mass texting tools for healthcare businesses to reach patients, and many of our users are leveraging this new tool to drive patients to book telehealth appointments.

In the first week of this feature’s launch, Calibrater users sent more than 1 million text messages to patients, resulting in 4,500+ clicks to telehealth booking pages. In some cases, we’ve had to shift to phased texting to keep from overwhelming customers with appointment requests!

Tips for telehealth marketing via SMS:

  • Keep the message short – under 160 characters or so.
  • Include your company name. Ideally, you include the patient’s name as well.
  • Always include a link! Use a link shortener and be sure to count these characters in your overall length (see tip #1).
  • To avoid getting overwhelmed, set up an auto-response. Include instructions for calling the clinic if the patient can’t wait for your staff to respond.
  • Leave your auto-response on for at least 24 hours, since that’s when we find that the majority of responses will come in.

Let the Journey Begin

Telehealth is making healthcare more widely accessible to the masses. Along with that achievement comes the opportunity for you to reach a broader patient base.

Consumers are still warming up to the idea of online healthcare, and some still aren’t aware that it could apply to their needs. This puts you in a sweet spot to maximize your marketing ROI. To do that, develop a deeper understanding of your target audience with customer journey mapping.

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