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How to Identify Your Ideal Patient: Building the Perfect Patient Avatar for Surgical Marketing

When it comes to marketing your favorite procedure, too many practices skip what is probably the most important step: the patient.

When we work with surgical practices, the answer to the question “who are we marketing to?” all too often defaults to “everyone!” “Anyone can benefit from this!”.

...frankly, this is foolish and a great way to waste time, effort, and money.

Identifying your ideal patient isn't just about understanding who needs your service, it's about pinpointing the exact individual who is most likely to benefit from and seek out your specific procedure. This is where building a patient avatar comes in.

The Importance of a Patient Avatar for Surgical Marketing

A patient avatar, also known as a buyer persona, is a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal patient.

This avatar helps you to focus your marketing efforts and tailor your messaging to speak directly to the needs, behaviors, and concerns of the patients you want to attract.

By having a clear picture of who you're talking to, you can create targeted ads, content, and communication strategies that resonate deeply and convert more effectively.

When someone feels like you’re speaking directly to them, they will choose you to help them.

“They understand me, so they can help me!”

Let’s walk through how we develop a patient avatar for surgical marketing with Clickcase practices, but first, a few tips:

  1. When building your avatar, choose ONE procedure to focus on. Learn how to market a high revenue service before you start worrying about marketing your “brand” or your practice generally.

  2. Get overly detailed. The more refined you get, the more you’ll understand them.

  3. Get your team involved. Your admin team sees a different part of the patient than you do. Different perspectives can help, but be careful it doesn’t devolve into endless conversation.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Perfect Patient Avatar

Step 1: Set the Scene

Begin with the basics. What procedure are you focusing on? Let’s say it’s a tummy tuck. The aim is to attract patients who require this procedure and are likely to proceed with it.

Step 2: Gather Existing Data

Look at your past patients who have undergone this procedure. What commonalities do they share? Gather age, gender, occupation, geographic location, and other demographic data.

Step 3: Deep Dive into Psychographics

Now, go beyond the surface. Ask these questions to understand their psychographics:

What is their current health like?

What do they think of themselves?

What type of personality do they have?

What are their fears or concerns about the procedure?

What are their fears or concerns about NOT getting the procedure?

Step 4: Understand Their Journey

Map out the patient journey. What steps will they take before deciding on surgery? Consider the following:

What is the driving problem they are trying to fix with surgery?

Online research patterns. What questions are they asking Google?

What life events have happened recently or are upcoming that have them considering a tummy tuck?

Step 5: Define the Pain Points

Identify what problems your ideal patients are facing. Ask:

What are their biggest frustrations with their stomach?

What does their issue hold them back from doing?

Have they tried other treatments before that didn’t work?

What are their fears regarding surgery and recovery?

Step 6: Assess Their Goals and Desires

Understand what your patients hope to achieve:

Do they just want to like what they see in the mirror?

Do they have a vacation or life event coming up?

How will they feel about themselves post-surgery?

How do they define success post-surgery?

Step 7: Discover Their Decision Triggers

What pushes them to take action? It could be:

A specific event (like a family wedding or a hiking trip)

A referral from a friend or another doctor

Insurance coverage or financial readiness

Step 8: Consider Their Objections

Anticipate reasons they might hesitate:

Concerns about risks and complications

Worry over costs or insurance issues

Fear of a long recovery time

Step 9: Create a Day in Their Life

Craft a narrative:

What does a day look like for them?

Do they work? Do they have a family? What goes on at home?

Where do they shop? What does their home look like?

When are they reminded of the problem throughout the day, and how does it make them feel?

How does it affect their daily activities and mood?

Step 10: Give Them a Name and Face

Humanize your avatar:

Choose a name, age, and a photo. This will help you visualize and speak to them directly in your marketing.

Step 11: Speak Their Language

Ensure your messaging aligns with their communication style. Are they formal or do they prefer a conversational tone?

Step 12: Identify Where They Hang Out Online?

Determine the best channels to reach them:

Are they active on Facebook, or do they prefer reading blogs?

What social media platforms do they spend time on?

Do they watch YouTube videos to learn about their health?

Step 13: Write a 1-page bio of your avatar using they insights you’ve gained through this exercise.

Crafting the perfect patient avatar is an exercise in empathy and precision. It requires you to step into your patients' shoes and truly understand their needs and desires. By answering the list of questions above, you'll arrive at a clear understanding of your ideal patient, allowing you to craft targeted and compelling marketing campaigns that speak directly to them.

Was this helpful? We focus on sharing content that’s actually helpful, and we don’t hold anything back. Our goal is to create content so good that you don’t even need to hire us to get more surgical cases, because you can do it yourself. If you did find value in this, we just ask that you send it to a friend or a colleague that could also benefit from it.

P.S. If you’d rather us help you with this, hit the chat button. We can schedule a time to help you run through the exercise with no cost, and no strings attached. Seriously.

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