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S4 #9: How to Create Value Upfront—with No Obligation

09-How to Create Value Up Front with No Obligation
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09-How to Create Value Up Front with No Obligation

Knowing how to create value and provide it up front is an excellent way to build rapport and mutual respect with your target audience. The buyer journey has evolved over the years with new technology and the ability to research anything you could want to know.

Your target market will do research before arriving at a decision regarding a solution to their trigger, challenge, or pain point—making the concept of providing value up front critical to any marketing or sales strategies you have now and in the future. Without creating value, it’s impossible to stand out from the crowd.

Value-based marketing can mean significantly better outcomes and increased acquisition. When you combine healthcare expertise with key marketing principles, you can positively affect patient satisfaction. Let’s dig further into how to create value and why it’s so important to provide value offers to prospects.

Why You Need to Create Value and Provide Offers to Prospects

We’d like to talk about Gary Vaynerchuk’s book for a moment, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, as we think a great inbound marketing lesson can be pulled from it. The idea is that, if you’re picturing a boxing match, the content and offers are the jabs, while the right hook is the sale—and just like in a fight, you can’t make your big move too prematurely. You need to know how to create value for prospects just as you need to get in some good jabs before you try to get them to buy—or give them a “right hook.”

You must convey appreciation to your prospects if you want to convert them to the final step in your marketing and sales funnels. They don’t owe you anything, after all, and you could lose them if you get too forward too soon. The right hook is also the ask: ask them to subscribe, to donate, to purchase your product—it’s your call to action.

Sending someone a fruit basket doesn’t guarantee they’ll become a customer. It’s a smart move, but nothing is certain. Buttering people up allows you the chance to make your ask, but you still have to earn their trust and respect before your audience will truly be receptive to your sale.

The content you provide demonstrates that you’re willing to give without the prospect needing to promise anything in return. It’s an obligation-free deal on their end, and it eventually sets them up to want to make it a fair exchange. They’ll give something back to you without feeling forced—and that’s the beauty of inbound—that’s why we love it so much.

You just want to make sure your content blends seamlessly into their lives, that you’re maximizing exposure, and that you’re using a strategy to rise up above the noise in the market. For instance, when it comes to what we like to do here at Uhuru to get our customers—and make them want to stay—we give them three things before ever asking for the sale. Those things are an audit, a business assessment, and a diagnostic. They’re all complimentary.

All they have to do is get in touch with us!

Why? Because it leads to trust, a sense of authority, and positions us as a leader in our space—showing them we’re someone they can always come to for resources. That’s the power of knowing how to create value.

How You Can Provide Value

Start off by identifying needs. Once you’ve identified specific target-audience needs, outline how they can be addressed through value offers. For example, if you’re an independent hospital that’s located in an area that has a high rate of diabetes (struggling with diabetes creates a need), the hospital’s marketing director could outline content topics that speak to preventing diabetes, like a “Foods Linked to Diabetes” article.

Those content ideas will give inherent value to future patients. Now let’s talk about how you could take this general-value topic and transform it into an actionable-value topic. Using the diabetes example, you could turn your blog post into something like “7 Foods to Avoid if You’re Worried About Diabetes.”

If you make a commitment to deliver actionable value and follow our steps, your healthcare organization can significantly improve the effectiveness and impact of your content—where effectiveness and impact are defined as bringing more patients in the front door.

Similar to Gary V’s point, you have to be careful about asking too much of the prospect before they’re ready to buy. In order to hook them rather than scare them off, aim to deliver content at each of the three stages of the Patient Journey, from the bottom to the top of the funnel.

Reach people where they are, at the right time, in the right way.

Top of the Funnel (ToFu) — Knowing How to Create Value at the Awareness Stage

What you’re doing here is helping your customers—or helping your patients—get wins, whether they ever work with you or not. That builds trust and authority, and they begin to look to you as a true partner. That “7 Foods to Avoid if You’re Worried About Diabetes” post idea could be your awareness-level topic. At this early stage, they’ve simply identified that they have a problem. Don’t push it too much further than that—yet.

Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) — Knowing How to Create Value at the Consideration Stage

Since they identified that they have a problem in the awareness stage, the consideration stage is about identifying the need for a partner—or a product—to help them with that problem. Maybe they’re searching things like, “Who’s a good medical provider for diabetes,” or, “What’s an app that will help me track the food that I’m eating,” or even, “What’s an app that will help me track my insulin?”

Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu) — Knowing How to Create Value at the Decision Stage

At the decision stage, they’ve found some solutions. They’ve identified some things they think could work for them, and they’re looking for content that will help them make that decision.

A value offer you could provide might be a comparison of the different solutions available. Here’s one provider, here’s another provider. Here’s one app, here’s another app. Here’s one digital health tool, here’s another digital health tool. You don’t have to stick with just that. There are a million different ways to do this, but that’s just one example of a path you could take.

Now that we have that framework, let’s see what a good offer might look like in your journey to creating value for your current patients and future prospects.

What a Good Value Offer Might Look Like

There are a few factors you should consider when developing a good, valuable offer. It begins with your target audience. The goal of value-based marketing is not just to showcase internal expertise, concentrate on a specific competitor, or keep up with trends—it is to serve the patient. Create content that answers patient questions and provides them with valuable health information.

You can do this with online articles, web pages, blog posts, downloadable content, videos, checklists, how-tos, infographics, and other educational resources. Connect with your target audience by working to understand their expectations and provide a service that meets all their needs. For example, in order to reduce wait times at your walk-in clinic, consider promoting an online registration form. Strive to always make it personal, as customized experiences tend to get the best results.

One-size-fits-all marketing is a thing of the past. Today, it is essential to create highly tailored customer experiences. To encourage a call to action, use personalized content—such as registering for a class, finding a doctor, or scheduling an appointment.

Don’t forget to utilize critical evidence-based data. Healthcare data has fortunately become more readily available and more easily accessible, so take advantage of this information to create measurable performance indicators. It will enable your brand to demonstrate its value to both patients and payers.

Measuring the results of your content and other marketing efforts should be a continuous priority. Coordinate strategies to align with your organizational goals so that efforts to gather data do not go to waste—make use of these important insights.

How You Can Bring Value to Your Customer’s Strategy

Here are a few great ways you can accomplish this:

Motivational Programs

Discounts: Your proposition may also cover multiple purchases and regularly purchased—or even complementary—products and services. You can also propose a themed discount during holidays (and off-season, too) to help customers find what they’re looking for without breaking the bank (and boost your sales all the while)!

Special offers: Gratitude and gifts for partnership are always welcomed. When you do this, you’re saying, “We appreciate you as a customer. We look forward to cooperating again soon.” In addition, you can offer free goods with customer orders or a special service level as a bonus gesture. For instance: free or expedited shipping, after-hours service, decreasing a minimum order quantity, or assigning a personal manager.

Free trials: Marketers generally report that a significant percentage of consumers who register for a trial end up becoming customers with a premium or paid account. Whether you provide traditional software, SaaS, or something else, customers want to get a good sense of what they’re investing in before purchasing a full plan. This is a fantastic opportunity to allow users to realize the value of your product without expending resources.

Subscription services: A subscription doesn’t always mean a paid software plan. It might be a monthly delivery of retail products—from razors to food. More people are signing up for these subscriptions all the time. For example, a pet store might offer a discount when customers sign up for recurring cat food deliveries. The customer is always stocked with daily essentials through this service and can clearly see the value in it.

Partnering with another brand: Co-branded offers are another great way to provide value. You can choose a partner that complements your own brand. For instance, there are bank customers that can sometimes get higher cashback if they buy from their partner’s website. Propose relevant goods and services with this collaboration, and customers will feel you care about providing excellent service and intimately know their needs.

Loyalty Programs

HubSpot tells us that the majority of customers say they’re more willing to recommend companies with loyalty programs and are likely to repurchase from these companies—even ready to spend more in order to get benefits from their programs.

Loyalty programs thank customers for their cooperation with your brand and show them how much you value their business. After all, they chose you over another organization. Try implementing one of the three most common types of loyalty programs: point-based, tier-based, or perk-based.

Shareable Content

Original content: You can create educational content like case studies, infographics, articles, recommendations, and guides on how to use your product or service, as well as videos and podcasts. This is a critical component of value.

Influencer content: Recommendations from experts, authorities, and celebrities are popular ways to promote a product.

User-generated content: Excited fans may create brand-related content, which amounts to free exposure for your business.

Make It About Them

Ask for feedback: Most of your potential customers won’t be comfortable making a purchase without looking through reviews of your product or service. After studying these reviews, they’ll feel that a brand is more trustworthy.

People appreciate a company that cares about customer experience. Try asking for reviews through email, sharing links to testimonial websites, and monitoring social media for mentions of your company. Social proof is crucial in generating organic traffic and helping—or hurting—a reputation.

Personalization: Many consumers are interested in personalized brand experiences. They’d much rather feel like an individual than a mere number or part of a massive group—their preferences get lost in the crowd. Tailoring your emails to the specific needs and behaviors of your subscribers is a powerful way to not only satisfy but impress your audience.

How to Shift to a Value-Based Marketing Strategy

It’s time to get into how and why you should shift to a value-based marketing strategy. Like we mentioned before, the buyer’s (or patient’s) journey has evolved, and your audience will research solutions for their pain points.

That’s why value-based marketing can support more efficient and cost-effective patient acquisition and retention programs. One part of a value-based strategy is the ability to advertise without ads.

As consumers, we’ve been conditioned to ignore ads. We tune out the TV, billboards, posters, online display and search advertising, and many even upgrade their digital services (i.e. Spotify) to get an ad-free experience. We don’t want disruptions in our day, so we’ve started viewing ads as noise—as unhelpful.

So, as healthcare marketers, we have a choice. We can add to the noise or develop programs that build loyalty, trust, and on-on-one personal relationships between customers and our brands.

Progressive healthcare marketers aren’t spending their time and money on channels that throw a stumbling block into customers’ daily routines—they’re creating digital health solutions that engage patients in more meaningful ways.

Convenience and grabbing attention is key, but consider the entire patient experience. Think beyond your website. It’s important to anticipate patients’ needs, not just inside the walls of the hospital, but across the whole healthcare experience.

Journey-mapping is an amazing tool to identify the steps a customer will go through in their decision-making process before, during, and after they visit your facility. Begin by mapping out an entire patient journey as accurately as possible, from research and scheduling to recovery and rehabilitation (and beyond).

This will help identify opportunities to build more trust between patients and your brand. As part of this journey-mapping process, you should identify the highs and lows of what a patient may experience.

Next, consider the ways you can build new experiences into those “lows” in order to turn any negatives your patients have been experiencing into positives. This is where a digital health solution comes into play. By identifying moments in the patient journey where you can build a deeper relationship with patients, you’ll be well on your way to better patient satisfaction scores. Pay attention to how those surveys get distributed, too (hint: say “no” to wasteful and inconvenient paper communications).

And show the C-suite what you’re made of—to truly implement value-based care at your hospital, you’ll need smart marketers who know how to make that happen. You also need a CEO who makes it their mission to support you and bring the plan to fruition. These new healthcare marketing strategies require the support of your patient experience, IT, operations, and quality teams. Even the clinicians themselves can help drive patient adoption of these new digital health solutions.

Identify what’s important to your stakeholders to build deeper relationships, vision alignment, and trust so you can deliver better brand experiences for all patients. These strategies are crucial to keeping your marketing, sales content, and tactics relevant—both to patients and your organization.

Continue to Engage Consumers With a Value-based Approach

Consumer engagement is imperative in any organization, but especially for those in the healthcare space. See how to create even more value by honing in on these factors that your patients crave:

Wantedness: Consumers desire to feel “wanted” by their healthcare provider. Research shows that consumers need to feel that their healthcare provider has tailored their patient experience to them in order to stay engaged. This desire to cater to the individual should shine through at each consumer touchpoint. In fact, according to reports, a larger portion of consumers surveyed said that brands have to show that they genuinely care about and understand them before they ever consider buying.

Control: Patients want to feel as if they are in control of the way they receive healthcare services. Even if that sense of empowerment is limited, experiences and campaigns should highlight patients’ power to customize certain elements of their care process. When you know how to create value, patients feel like they’re in the driver’s seat of their own health and wellness journeys.

Responsiveness: For today’s typical healthcare client, prompt responsiveness to issues with healthcare delivery is expected. Great customer service should give clients access to an array of service options that evolve along with their needs. It should not come as a surprise to healthcare providers that consumers expect timely convenience for their healthcare (no one likes to wait).

The Use of Storytelling in Healthcare Marketing

Storytelling is a powerful way to bring new patients in and retain the patients you have. It humanizes healthcare. Storytelling gives patients a “character” to relate to—one who mirrors their unspoken concerns. Stories should be true, relevant, and specific. When executed properly, storytelling can connect your healthcare system’s care model to your audience’s innate desire for meaningful and personalized care.

A well-crafted patient recovery story will be successful and meaningful to other patients, especially when you can communicate your hospital system’s role as a partner in a patient’s long-term wellness. Storytelling fosters engagement, but authenticity is a critical component. According to numerous studies, content authenticity leads directly to higher engagement.

Brand stories shouldn’t be sugar-coated. A story of a patient’s struggle should never gloss over hardship, but rather show how your facility has the resources to meet a wide range of needs.

Every point of conflict in your patient’s care journey should find a resolution that illustrates your brand’s commitment to responding to client needs—even anticipating them. Your stories should be told with appropriate sensitivity and a genuine willingness to go beyond what’s expected. “Leave them better than you found them,” as we like to say at Uhuru.

Storytelling builds rapport. Your patients’ emotional responses are tied to their practical needs, so make sure your stories connect to those needs. Striking an emotional chord is critical for a memorable campaign, but the kind of stories that inspire action also have clear calls for sustained engagement—they’re larger than the emotional themes attached to them. Build a connection based on listening to your patients’ needs. Present your provider as a multifaceted, comprehensive resource, not just a steadfast caregiver in your story.

Now You Know How to Create Value — Start Implementing Our Tips!

Now that you know how important it is to provide value and how to create it up front for your patients, you’ll have a valuable leg up on your competitors. Keep current patients coming back to you and bring new ones through the door after convincing them you’re the best choice. For even more powerful information on how you can improve your marketing and sales strategy, check out another post that healthcare professionals find helpful.

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