More than 40 million immigrants transition to the United States year, making it the top destination in the world for those transitioning from one country to another. With most of the immigrants coming from Mexico, healthcare is faced with the challenge of marketing to Hispanic consumers with unique purchasing behaviors.
“Hispanics have tremendous consumer purchasing power, but our research shows that they have also been more likely than other consumers to delay healthcare, and don’t have great trust in the U.S. health system,” Frank Lemmon, principal, PwC U.S. health industries, said in a recent statement. “As the health industry shifts in how and where care is delivered — in many cases closer to home — these long-standing behaviors and attitudes are ripe for change.”
A new report from PwC notes that more Hispanics than non-Hispanics use social media, mobile apps, and Internet searches to find information about doctors and insurance companies. Additionally, Hispanic consumers typically opt out of landline phones and computers, relying mainly on their cell phone for online usage.
1. Utilize social media. In addition to posting two to three times a day to your social media channels in English, incorporate Spanish messaging. If hiring a Spanish translator is not in the budget, consider using an online translation service to translate your posts ahead of time.
2. Utilize mobile apps. Make it quick and easy for people to access health information from your practice. Rather than having to search for your website or your patient portal, provide an app that is easy to navigate and preferably with a Spanish language option.
3. Update your online listings. Make sure that your practice’s address and contact information is up to date with all the major search engines.
4. Make your website mobile friendly. A website that is not responsive to smaller screens is the quickest way to deter mobile consumers. Make it as easy as possible for consumers to navigate your site by using responsive design.
5. Offer Spanish language options. Providing handouts in Spanish will help your practice avoid misunderstandings. In addition to print communication, a Spanish language option on your website is an excellent way to educate Hispanics about your practice. Keep in mind that developing separate advertising initiatives for Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations can become extremely costly. Instead, use bilingual messaging to appeal to both markets within a single ad.
In addition to developing advertising and marketing tactics with Hispanics in mind, investing additional time in customer care can build sustainable patient growth numbers among this particular population.
According to Kelly McDonald, president of McDonald Marketing, recently told The New York Times that Hispanics are a more relationship-oriented population. They want to feel comfortable with the customer-service person and feel like they are getting the face to face time they needed to gather information. This may mean slowing down the customer processing work flow and putting additional effort into engaging patients in conversation.
While interacting with patients on a more personal level may slow down productivity, it will cultivate loyalty and word of mouth referrals that will pay off in a big way in the long run.
Devoting a little extra time and energy by targeting the Hispanic population provides medical practices the opportunity to expand their reach. While this article is centered around connecting with Hispanic patients, these tips strengthen communication with the public across multiple languages and build long-term patient loyalty.