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Listen to Your Audience

The cornerstone of good content strategy? Seeking out and listening to the people you’re trying to reach. Build your best healthcare content strategy by getting to know your target users.

The modern healthcare consumer journey typically starts with an online search.

According to a study from Google and Compete, Inc., most patients (61%) visit at least two health system websites before converting, and 88% of users are less likely to return to a website with a bad user experience.
Hopefully, the consumer’s online search leads to either a:

  • Click through to your organization’s website—and a positive, reassuring website experience that makes it easy to find information and complete tasks
  • Zero-click conversion when the user finds what they’re looking for or takes action on the search engine results page (SERP) without needing to click through to your site

Challenge & Opportunity

The best healthcare website experiences challenge the assumption healthcare must be complicated. They make it easy for users to find information in a way that matches their expectations. Consumers appreciate humanized, meaningful experiences that feel intuitive and reassuring.

That’s why it’s essential to put the user at the center of your strategy. The average healthcare consumer has little to no knowledge of the healthcare industry or your organization’s internal structure. And why should they? What’s important to them is getting the best care for themselves or a loved one. Depending on why they seek care, they may feel unwell and vulnerable. If you can simplify the journey to get care, so it feels almost effortless, you’ll earn gratitude and loyalty—and stand out from the competition.

Identify & Investigate

To understand consumer expectations and needs in your market, first, identify and prioritize the target audiences you want to reach through your digital marketing and communications efforts. Ask:

  • What are their interests and preferences when getting care or interacting with healthcare organizations or providers online?
  • What are their abilities when accessing, understanding, and making choices about health information?
  • What are their assumptions or beliefs about your brand, services, locations, and providers?
  • What tasks do they want to accomplish when they visit the website?
  • Do they see themselves reflected or addressed in website navigation structures, content, and design?
  • What message has resonated in the past? What didn’t perform as expected?

Do the Research

Combine data that are quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (nonnumerical, such as attitudes and experiences) to get the clearest possible picture. Plan to conduct research activities on an ongoing basis, setting benchmarks and comparing findings to understand market evolution.
There are various tactics to gather data. Here are a few examples of activities that could answer specific questions relevant to your strategy.


Example Tactic(s)

Gather attitudes, opinions, and experiences on a brand, product, or service
Focus groups, patient and family advisory council input
Understand how a user engages with a product or service
Online user testing and surveys, website analytics, social media engagement
Understand the demographic makeup of your target consumers and their health concerns and abilities
Community health needs assessment, U.S. Census demographic data, health literacy statistics, etc.
Understand the interests and terminology used by target consumers
Keyword research


Take the Next Step

Knowing your audience is essential to optimizing your website for users. Learn more by attending Geonetric’s upcoming webinar on applying a consumer-first lens to your healthcare brand architecture, downloading our new white paper, or contacting our team.

Lindsey Steinkamp

Sr. UX Researcher

Listen to Your Audience