Why Digital Health Marketers Need a Demand Generation Strategy
Updated: Aug 1
There’s no shortage of impressive B2B digital health companies working to revolutionize healthcare. However, whether selling to health plans, providers, or employers, even the most innovative products can struggle to gain traction without sufficient patient utilization. Without enough patients using their products and services, it can be challenging for brands to demonstrate their value proposition and gain traction in a competitive market.
When it comes to B2B marketing, the rule is simple: if your customers' end users aren't utilizing your products/services, your customers won't either.
When it comes to digital health, marketing teams need a patient engagement strategy to build demand. Unfortunately, this concept is often dismissed, as the idea of marketing to anyone other than the target customer might sound counter-intuitive. This mindset is rigid and can ultimately prove to be a costly mistake.
Building a Movement Around Your Brand
In the age of healthcare consumerism, people have become more savvy about their care. They are becoming more informed and empowered when it comes to their health. They want to feel like they are in control of their own care and have access to information that can help them make solid decisions.
To create a lasting impact and ignite demand in the modern patient, it's essential to build a movement around your brand that connects with your audience on a profound level. Your patient engagement strategy needs to transcend recycled surface-level tactics (like overusing trite social media graphics made in Canva) and strive to cultivate a devoted community driven by shared enthusiasm for your brand's vision and values.
This approach establishes a sense of unity among end-users, which is the foundation of a movement - the foundation of demand.
Building a solid community is key for marketers to understand the unique needs, concerns, and preferences of patients and develop personalized strategies around them. By nurturing that community, we can create a supportive space where people feel empowered, inspired, and engaged.
If your marketing team can build a community that is empowered, inspired, and engaged, then you’ve got yourself a genuine movement that will drive demand for your brand's products and services.
Digital Health Patient Engagement Tactics
Ready to start your movement? Here are some highly effective patient engagement marketing tactics to help you get started, accompanied by inspiring real-life examples from brands that I admire.
Podcasts are a powerful tool for demand generation. Podcasts leverage the power of storytelling to create engaging experiences that educate, inspire, and entertain listeners. Through podcasting, brands can invite industry experts, thought leaders, and patients to share their insights and experiences, bolstering a sense of connection and community. Podcasts allow for in-depth discussions on your brand’s subjects, promoting thought leadership and establishing your brand as a trusted resource.
Yumlish works with employers, health plans and grocers by offering an AI-powered cultural nutrition therapy solution for minorities with diabetes that addresses socioeconomic barriers to dietary adherence.
To connect with patients, Yumlish produces a podcast that empowers people with chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases to take charge of their health through diet. Yumlish’s podcast guests are typically clinicians and nutritional experts who provide education and best practices to listeners while emphasizing the urgency to make healthier decisions.
Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in video format, compared to a 10% when reading it in text form.
With more marketers using AI to generate content, the need for human content is growing. Video is the most powerful medium for capturing attention and delivering your message in a personable and memorable way.
Brands can leverage video by producing engaging content such as informative/explainer videos, user testimonials, storytelling series, product/service demos, live Q&A sessions, and more.
Ria Health is a tech-enabled telehealth medical practice that works with health plans, self-insured employers, and health systems to provide evidence-based treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Ria leverages YouTube to create videos that educate and inspire individuals struggling with alcohol. Their videos feature clinician Q&A’s and patient stories as well.
💡 Tip: Did you know that YouTube is the most popular podcast-listening platform? If you produce a podcast, it is essential to have a YouTube video strategy.
Build Social Media Communities
Leverage social media platforms to build and nurture a community of engaged followers. Create dedicated social media groups or communities where professionals and organizations can connect, share insights, and discuss brand-related topics. Actively participate in discussions, answer questions, and provide valuable information to reinforce your brand as a trusted resource.
Host Webinars and Online Events
Organize webinars, online conferences, and virtual events centered around relevant healthcare topics. Invite industry experts to speak, share insights, and engage with attendees. Encourage participation, provide opportunities for networking, and create a sense of community among attendees. These events can attract potential customers, build brand awareness, and foster relationships within the industry.
Position your brand as a thought leader by publishing industry insights, research findings, and innovative ideas. Create a link-building outreach strategy and contribute guest articles to publications or websites that your end-users read. Participate in expert panels, podcasts, or interviews to share your knowledge and expertise.
Social Groups and Forums
Social platforms like Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and Discord are great for building communities around a topic or theme. These mediums are powerful because they put the ball in the end-user’s court, by empowering them to share discussions, experiences, and other engaging content around an overarching topic tied to your brand. This can also be a great springboard for generating user-generated content.
Influencer partnerships are a powerful tool that digital health companies can leverage to amplify their brand’s values and increase utilization. Partnering with healthcare influencers, such as physicians or wellness experts, can help reach a broader audience and create a sense of authenticity around the brand.
By curating and delivering relevant, insightful, and valuable content directly to subscribers' inboxes, newsletters allow brands to stay top of mind and nurture relationships with their audience. These regular communications provide an opportunity to promote new content, showcase new products/services, share expert insights, and more.
A great example of a digital health brand leveraging newsletters for patient engagement comes from one of my personal favorite brands, Joshin. Joshin is a digital platform that provides disability and neurodivergence support in the workplace and in life.
Joshin leverages a newsletter aptly titled, Included, which shares stories from the disabled and neurodivergent community, along with educational content on disabilities, and how employees can be a better allies to disabled and/or neurodivergent colleagues.
Start Building Your Patient Engagement Strategy
In conclusion, digital health marketers must recognize the crucial role of patient engagement marketing in demand generation. By prioritizing patient engagement and developing experiences around their needs, digital health brands can increase utilization, demonstrate value, and gain favorability in the market.
The tactics that I highlighted above are an effective starting point. Now, it’s up to your marketing team to transform them into a full-fledged strategy that ignites a movement!