Create a Marketing Persona in 5 Simple Steps
By Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS
To succeed as a private practice, you must create a strategic and well-rounded marketing approach.
Simply creating a website and looking for growth, stability, and diversity in the way new patients are gained is not enough. Content marketing, which involves creating and publishing relevant and valuable content for a targeted audience, has become increasingly popular. However, many private practice owners struggle to find the time to create content for their blogs and various social media platforms or are unsure of what content to publish and which platforms to target.
Creating a persona can help in the production and distribution of this content. Personas are fictional characters created to represent the targeted individual a physical therapy practice would like to attract. Creating personas helps you understand the targeted individuals’ needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals. Personas help us gain insight into the consumer or potential patients, allowing for specific content to be developed to target that audience. The targeted audience will then engage with the content, increasing their opportunity to learn, find value in physical therapy, and begin the journey to becoming a patient!
Follow these simple steps to create a target persona that will help you meet the goals of your practice.
Step 1: The Ideal Patient
The initial step in constructing your persona involves creating a picture of your ideal patient. This can include age, gender, marital status, career, income, hobbies, and where the patient lives—all the information that allows you to create a fictional yet realistic ideal patient. Qualitative and quantitative research needs to be done to learn the demographics of your preferred patients. Gather data on current and past patients, review various information available online, and understand the financial implications of determining who your ideal patient is.
Step 2: Humanize
Give the persona a name and even a photo to help humanize the individual. Next, consider how the persona spends their day, therefore identifying the things they are dealing with on a daily basis. This helps us better understand how daily life may impact how the persona makes health care decisions and the kinds of messages and information that will be of interest, allowing opportunities to connect with them.
Step 3: Emotions
To truly understand the persona and the content that will appeal, we need to consider the persona’s hopes and dreams as well as their fears and worries. This allows us to empathize, understand, and craft messages that have an emotional connection. Again, research will likely need to be done to avoid making biased assumptions. Consider questioning a group of real people who fit the demographic profile you have established through surveys or focus groups or by reviewing online resources.
Step 4: Information and Communication
It is essential to research and understand how the persona accesses information. Does the persona gain information through certain publications, websites, media channels, or social groups? Essentially, you must determine where the person is going when they have a question. In a digitally driven age, technology plays a vital role in accessing information, and it’s important to know your persona’s communication preference.
Step 5: Social Media Profile
Knowing what social media channels are used by a persona will help determine where marketing time and money should be spent. In addition, social media analytics give insights into users’ habits, providing ongoing analytics to direct marketing content.
Personas allow us to step back from our own preferences and biases and objectively focus on what our potential, ideal patients want. For example, what a target patient likes to read online might be very different from what you like to read. Creating personas should be considered an essential task in the development of a practice’s planned, patient care journey (see Figure 1).
Once a persona is created, you can find targeted content on the PPS website. From the homepage, click the dropdown on practice management and scroll to find marketing resources. Here you will find sharable content, including over 100 social media images and a year’s worth of blog posts for your persona.
Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, is the chair of the PPS PR and Marketing Committee and chief executive officer of Performance Physical Therapy in Rhode Island. She can be reached at email@example.com.