The 1 Thing Health Tech Startups Need To Survive

health tech customer avatar

Every day I speak with health tech companies who are thinking, "I publish content, I post on social media - as long as I'm putting content out there, people will listen, right?"

No, no, no, and let me just say it again, NO. If you aren't speaking to your ideal customer, you're missing them. If you're speaking to everyone, you're speaking to no one.

And that affects your business in terms of lost sales, lost customers, time and money spent creating content that's a waste...and depending on the health tech product you offer, it could mean something as serious as lost lives if the people who really need you never find you.

If you don't need anymore convincing that you need to nail down exactly who your customer avatar is, you can learn more about how to do that here.  If you think you are speaking to your ideal customer already, let's just take a look at your current content to see. I've outlined some ways you can evaluate existing content to see if you're speaking to your avatar:

What it looks like when you're not talking to your avatar... 

You talk WAAAAAY too much about yourself.

We all have that one friend. The one who just won't shut up about themselves. When it comes to your content, don't be that person. When you talk about how cool your product is and list all the really great features or, worse, you only post about what's happening at your company (funding, your new policy that lets people bring dogs to the office, your Friday happy get my drift), NO ONE CARES and they'll stop listening...even if your technology has the power to save their lives.

You talk about what you sell, but not about what you REALLY sell.

If you're Lego, you don't sell plastic bricks. You sell imagination.

If you're Amazon, you don't sell whatever millions of products are listed on your site. You sell convenience.

If you're Target and your ideal customer is a busy mom, you don't sell groceries and home decor, you sell a complete Mommy vacation package with coffee, lots of sites to see, and expensive souvenirs to take home.

And if you're a health tech company, you don't sell technology. You sell something that makes life better for millions. Your job is to tell them just how you make life better. 

 You've got to get past the physical product or service you sell and discover what you REALLY sell. 

Start to talk more about the outcomes your ideal customer will see rather than listing a bunch of features and benefits. You have to tell people what they're really buying because otherwise, they'll think all they're getting is a snazzy gizmo that costs way too much.

Talking to the wrong customer.

Maybe you don't do those things. Maybe you never go on and on about how awesome you are. Or maybe you know what you're really selling and you're pretty good about summing up the real outcomes your customer will get from your tech. But you're still not getting traction.

So here's the question: Are you really speaking to the right person? Have you sat down to discover who your ideal customer is? Have you built a customer avatar or two that you can direct your content toward as you write?

If not, discover how in these two blog posts:

How To Build A Customer Avatar

7 Steps To Discovering Your Ideal Customer

If you have done both of these things and still no one is listening, I want you to think long and hard about your ideal customer and if you've really landed on the right one. Spend some time going back over those two blog posts and revisit who gets the most value from you and who you solve the most problems for. It could be that you're still speaking to the wrong people.

What it looks like when you speak to your ideal customer...

You know the person you're speaking to.

You may never have met them, but you know who they are, where they live, what they look like, what their hopes and dreams are, what their biggest pain points are. I know, I know, this sounds creepy, but you know them in the sense that you have taken time to learn about your ideal customer so you can create content that helps them and even saves their lives.

You talk about their problems.

Don't be that person that only ever talks about your own problems. Talk about theirs. Commiserate with them some. They need to think that you understand them better than they understand themselves. Let them know they are not alone.

You deliver words that give them hope those problems can be solved.

Give them hope! Their problem CAN be solved. Tell stories about how you've solved similar problems in the past and you can do it for them. What does this look like in terms of blog content? 

I'm going to use an example here from outside of health tech, but one where a company knew their ideal customer (AKA me!) and spoke directly to them solving their problems. As a mom, most of my problems revolve around lack of sleep, helping my kids eat plenty of healthy food, not having enough alone time, feeling like I don't have enough time with my family, mom guilt - basically the problems most average parents face.

So the products that speak to me are the ones that save me time, keep my family healthy, and that help me feel like I'm winning this mom thing...and if one product can do ALL of those things, it's a winner in my book. 

Case in point: AmazonFresh.

AmazonFresh knows how to speak to me. Trust me, I have tried LOTS of other grocery delivery services, and none of them made it as easy as Amazon has. Not to mention, it's Amazon, so they always have everything I need.


If AmazonFresh had a blog, it would all be content targeted at this ideal customer - how to speed up dinner prep, 10 healthy meal ideas for toddlers, or how to find the best deals on organic produce.

AmazonFresh has other ideal customers besides moms of small kids, so there's room for them to create other kinds of content that speaks to other customers, but do you see how those types of content would help me solve some of my problems? It's all about me, their ideal customer, and not about them.

So why does speaking to your ideal customer matter?

Without speaking to your customer avatar, no one will listen. And that means, no matter how much funding you have, no matter how great a product you have, you still may not survive.

And that sucks.

It really, really, REALLY sucks.

Because if you don't survive, there could be literally hundreds of thousands or even millions of people who don't survive either because they need your technology.

You owe it to your company, your investors, yourself and, more importantly, the people whose lives depend on you to know your customer avatar and get your message out directly to them.

Do you know who your avatar is? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I'll get back to you!


Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.


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