Why Health Tech Companies Speak To The Wrong People

health tech audience

If you remember anything from your college English class, knowing your audience is one of the first rules of writing.

But it's something we all forget about...even me sometimes.

What really saddens me, though, is when health tech companies create content for the totally wrong people because when they do that, the people who really need them may never find them.

Often, I find, when digital health companies start creating content they don't always take the time to find the right audience or, if they know the right audience, to find the kind of content that speaks to their audience. Because when they're not reaching the right people, their lifesaving message isn't getting out to the world.

 That's why I've outlined the 4 main audience traps health tech companies fall into. Because if you don't know what the pitfalls are, how do you know to avoid them?

They're speaking to people just like them

The easiest people to talk to are the ones who get you, am I right? Like for me personally, I love talking to other working moms because we totally understand each other's problems. But if I only talked to other working moms, I would miss out on so many beautiful people. Just because it's easy doesn't mean other relationships aren't worth the effort.

And I see this same problem in health tech. It's easy to talk to other health tech people, other people who are mission driven, people who are just like you. They get you - you don't have to think through how to explain things in a simple, approachable way. 

The problem is, those are not the people who need you, whose lives depend on you, and who will actually adopt your technology. 

When you get stuck in this trap, you end up writing about all the money you just raised because the people just like you understand why that's such a big deal. You create content about industry events, or high level tech stuff that the average person just doesn't get...and none of this does a thing for the people your tech was created for.

One of my clients did this. They were so passionate about changing conversations about reproductive health that they ended up speaking to other people just like them - people who were also passionate about changing those same conversations.

But their content totally missed the mark with women who would actually use their product and that stopped their mission in its tracks. Because they weren't changing the conversation where it mattered...on the ground level, so they weren't fulfilling their mission and they were constantly hustling to get new users but weren't nurturing raving fans of their product.

After a straightforward session, we nailed down their customer avatar and started creating content for that specific person, both sales and user engagement skyrocketed, and, more importantly, their message was getting to the people who really needed to hear it.

They're busy focusing on their mission so they don't have time to think about who they are speaking to

This is pretty common, especially in digital health. Founders and their team are incredibly busy creating tech with the power to save lives, getting funding to keep their research going, and running their company, that even though their best intentions are to figure out who their customer avatar is, they just freaking don't have the time.

But when this happens, you can't unleash the full potential of your mission because the right people never hear about it. Even when all the right investors, all the right media people know about you, if you're not targeting the people who really need you, your message is going to get lost in the noise. 

Discovering who your real customer avatar is doesn't have to be hard or even have to take huge amounts of time, and once you do it and start creating targeted content for your avatar, you'll actually be able to stop hustling, be able to stop investing in strategies that only get short term results, and start creating less content with more impact.

They're speaking to anyone and everyone who will listen

Conversely, other health tech companies don't have an issue speaking to people just like them because they're speaking to anyone and everyone who will listen. 

What I find happens here is the organizations that fall into this trap just have so much to say, so they just start spouting out information without taking a minute to consider your audience.

Not only that, you've heard you have to publish content lots to see any ROI out of it, so when you're speaking to everyone, you try to find topics with the broadest appeal, which in too many cases means you start sharing or creating content that's irrelevant to your mission (cat videos, I'm looking at you).

When you fall into the cat video abyss, anyone who had a serious interest in your technology loses interest, and that can be tragic because they may actually really truly need you.

They're speaking to no one.

This final one often happens after they've tried one or more of the others. They're seeing absolutely no returns on their content so they assume it's not working and they just give up. They think their attempts at content targeted at the wrong people is solid proof that content just does not work.

But if this is you, it's time for some tough love here - content does work. You are just doing it all wrong. When you speak to the exact right person with the exact right content in the exact right places, you create a content engine that drives your customers to your door to buy.

More on that later, but first, I need to reiterate something.

When health tech companies miss their customer avatar, the results can be tragic

In most other industries when an organization misses the mark on its customer avatar, best case scenario is that the company doesn't reach its full potential. Worst case scenario is that they never really master user acquisition and they end up shuttering their doors.

While this is tragic in itself because it means shattered dreams and lost jobs, rarely does it result in the loss of life.

When a health tech company disappears from the marketplace, however, the result could literally be loss of life.

I've mentioned before my client who was a health tech wearable that can get a user emergency assistance if they have a heart attack. As a heart patient myself, I shudder to think what would have happened if this company didn't make it off the ground and never got users. They have the power to save lives but, on the flip side, if their company didn't survive, there may be actual real live people who don't survive as well, and that's terrifying.

There are two ways this happens -

1) You're losing those people with the wrong content

When you don't target your audience correctly, you create the wrong content for them. If your content is hit or miss, your avatar isn't going to keep coming back for more - you'll lose them when they read your blog post about your most recent funding round or about your weekly happy hour.

Even if your next blog post is extremely relevant to them, they won't keep coming back for more because your content doesn't keep them consistently engaged. You need to give them content that they want and need to read to help them think you know them better than they know themselves which keeps them motivated to buy.

2) They're not getting in front of the people who need them...whose lives depend on this technology

Worse, instead of having hit or miss content, you get in front of the absolutely wrong people and the people who do need you, whose lives literally depend on you, never find out about you. You have the power to save or change their life. It's up to you to break through the noise and get your message to them.

Are you speaking to the right people?

Discover the people who really need you with the Mission Revival avatar questionnaire.


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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