Why Your Health Technology Company Is Getting Lost In The Noise
The 3 Simple Things Mission-Driven Companies Can Do To Attract New Users
It saddens me to see so many amazing companies with live-saving or life-changing technology struggle to get their message out to the world.
They’ve all tried the marketing thing which they were told was the key to success, but no matter how much content, how many social posts, or how many ebooks they put out, their message seems to fall on deaf ears. Soon, stressed out to get sales, they give up, trading in content for quick wins, which leaves them on an eternal hamster wheel with nothing to show for it.
I see this happen in every marketplace but especially in health tech and digital health. What really gets to me most is that content DOES work, but people are doing it wrong - either because they got the wrong advice or they’re using the wrong strategy.
Of course, this is not their fault. They’re focused on their mission. And they trust that their content writer or marketing team that they’re paying big bucks for knows what they’re doing. They’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on content that isn’t working and when it doesn’t work, then they try to reduce their spend and reallocate that money to strategies they think will be more effective or they try to move it all in house - and the fact that content isn't working for them makes me so frustrated, especially as a person who is here today because of life-saving health technology.
If you're in this situation, I want you to know, you're not alone. The good news is there are three things you can do right now to turn it all around.
Speak to the right people
Many marketing experts say you just need to write content, any kind of content, but this simply isn’t true. Sure it may have been true 10 or 15 years ago when the internet had very little content and actually needed something for people to read. However, in this information saturated age, to break through the noise, you have to be more targeted.
Take one client who runs a fertility tech company, for instance. She has an amazing technology product that allows women to track their periods to plan for or prevent pregnancy. She’s empowering women around the globe and that’s a mission I can get behind.
Her product is second to none in their space. However without a strong strategy, it was likely no one would ever know. When I started working with her, we quickly discovered why.
They were working so hard - creating content, doing PR, and running digital ads but it still seemed like nobody was listening. The content they published was good and insightful, but it was high-level content geared toward organizations and thought leaders in the global health space instead of their product’s ideal customer - the people who actually need this life-altering piece of technology.
As a result, she relied heavily on digital advertising - a short-term strategy that gave them short-term wins. The problem was as soon as she stopped paying for advertising - no surprise - user adoption collapsed. To make things worse, ads got users, but the shiny object kind, not the kind that loved and absolutely wanted this product that would use it forever. The kind of users they got clicked on the ad because it was cool, downloaded the app, and then stopped using it.
So to keep user acquisition high, she had to constantly spend money on ads, a strategy that just isn’t sustainable long-term. Round and round the hamster wheel she went - dollars for users, no end in sight, or what I like to call “Health Tech Hell.”
It was amazing just how quickly and inexpensively a problem like this can be solved. After a short session, we pinpointed the people she should be targeting and the type of content they wanted to read.
We started creating content for this specific audience, and we began to see instant effects of people engaging with this client, people we would consider their ideal client, so it was no surprise when their brand awareness and user adoption skyrocketed. What’s more, their sales from their paid app are up 11% and active users (people who download and use the app on a weekly basis) are up 393%.
The great news is, content like this is a life-long business asset that has long-tail returns, unlike ads. And the people who adopted her technology as a result of this content actually really want it, which is, of course, what mission-driven companies want to see - not a person who sees an ad, says “oh that’s cool,” downloads the app, and then never uses it.
Before having content that aligned with her mission and resonated with her customer avatar, they struggled to be heard. The users that they were getting from ads were just kind of interested, but they weren’t raving fans. Now, however, she doesn’t have to work to create as much content because, unlike ads, targeted content lasts forever, and she continues to see long tail returns from her content.
The right content for your customer
Another thing that drives me crazy? Sometimes health tech companies do know who their customer avatar is. But instead of creating focused content that speaks to their avatar’s wants and needs, their content team published blog posts about how great their company is, articles highlighting all the awesome features of their products, or (my biggest pet peeve) news updates about their most recent funding round. This is costing them money and NO ONE CARES...worse, they're actually repelling their ideal client. I mean, how long would you stay friends with someone who kept bragging about how much money they had, much less share that content with other people? These health tech companies are writing to the right people, just about the wrong stuff.
It’s time for some tough love - your ideal customers don’t care about how amazing your health tech product is, how much you have in funded, who you just hired as your CMO, or how cheap you're selling your product for. I know, they should because it’s changing, bettering, or extending lives, but unfortunately, they don’t because the world is full of ridiculous health products that promise the moon then don’t follow through.
Just think about all the energy drink ads you see that promise a hot new girlfriend, a shiny new car, and parties with friends. Obviously those drinks don't do any of that, not to mention they probably actually harm people's health...and yet the messages of health tech companies that can actually save lives and improve health are getting buried behind that stuff.
What they care about is what you can do for them, how you can make their lives better. They care about how smoothly (or how rough) their day goes. They care about making life easier for themselves. And they also care about being part of something bigger themselves - a mission that helps other people. And of course, everyone wants to be the person who tells all their friends about a cool, life-changing piece of technology.
Even if your product is the best on the planet, if you focus on your tech and your company and not the people you help and the outcomes they receive while giving them them the opportunity to help others, you’ll struggle to find and retain loyal customers.
A health tech company I worked with was a wearable for cardiac patients. This company is so near and dear to my heart (pun totally intended), because I was born with a congenital heart condition that required 3 childhood open heart surgeries to keep me alive and to keep my heart functioning properly.
When I found this product and met the marketing director of this company, it was a match made in heaven because I instantly saw the power of their technology to potentially save my life someday and the lives of other people I know. And to think I may never have found out about it!
This was a totally new product (in fact, they were preparing for launch at the writing of this), and when I first met them, they published a lot about funding or company news updates. When we started working together, however, we worked to stay on mission, focusing on their customer avatar, solving their problems, and writing content they would want to read.
As they prepared for their product launch, their focused, aligned content is primed to increase engagement and traffic and drive their customer avatar to adopt their technology. Their content is uniquely shareable, evergreen (as relevant ten years from now as it is today...but I’ll get to that in a minute), and helpful. More importantly, each piece spoke to the needs of their ideal client so now, all content roads lead back to “buy this” and why they should.
Distributing in the right places
All of the above is enough to make me want to cry over the sad state of content in the health space. But even worse than creating the wrong content directed at the wrong people is the fact that some health tech companies are creating amazing life-saving content but it sits dying on the company website or it’s distributed on the wrong channels - places where their ideal customers never visit.
I’ve seen so many businesses kill themselves to create amazing content piece after amazing content piece because they’ve been told that creating continuous content is the key to great SEO - that magical word every business pushes for. Well, I have some good news for you: fewer content pieces distributed correctly will have a much bigger effect and, even better, you’ll be able to kick back, do less content creation, and see ever increasing results.
Not so long ago, I was making the same mistake. I was stuck, too. I was so busy focusing on the functional skill of my business and writing for a nice roster of clients. I wrote for my blog as well, but no one seemed to read my content, so instead of trying to figure out how to fix it, I did what I see a lot of health tech companies do - I stopped creating content altogether...talk about a cobbler with no shoes.
In the internet age, that’s a bad idea. Because without targeted content to draw new and interested customers to me, I got stuck into that ongoing hustle.
But then I discovered the key: a strong distribution strategy and - the thing that supercharges content creation - the power of evergreen content.
Now this term, evergreen content, isn’t a term you’ll hear often from marketers because it eventually means they work themselves out of a job. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I would LOVE for that to happen, because it means the news about health companies who are saving and changing lives is getting out and they are achieving mass user adoption.
Why would I share this strategy when others won’t? Well for me, the fact that I may never have heard about a product that could save my life horrifies me. Everyday powerful healthcare technology disappears from the marketplace because these companies can’t get the customer acquisition they need to stay afloat - the customer acquisition they need to impress their investors and stay in business.
So back to my story: I was in this constant hustle. But when I started to focus on distribution, and evergreen content - content as relevant today as it is ten years from now - I was able to get away from the churn and burn content strategy I used in the past. Now, I focused on creating real business content assets. What that means is if I ever do decide to stop creating content, I’ll still have piles of content all preset to be used and shared at the right ratios and see huge ROI for years to come instead of letting content die on my blog or constantly having to write ads to drive customers to my site.
Content CAN work for you.
It’s time to kiss expensive ad campaigns and unfocused or dead content goodbye.
Instead of viewing content as something you have to do, something you have to work on, turn it into something that works for you by targeting your ideal customer, creating focused content, and distributing it in the right places.
Is your content reaching the right people?
Find out today with my quick 4 question survey to discover your customer avatar.
WHO IS WHITNEY?
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.