Storytelling in Health Insurance Marketing: Three Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

Megan JoosteBlog, Marketing, Matrix

The Proven Power of Authentic Storytelling

Health insurance marketing teams certainly have their work cut out for them during open enrollment. They face wild competition and market fluctuations while trying to reach, educate, and convert during a short three-month period. To truly have an impact during open enrollment, health insurance companies can employ a strategy anchored on authentic storytelling that earns — and keeps — consumers’ attention during the rest of the year. By the time open enrollment rolls around, your brand can leverage that brand awareness to rise above the fray.

But, all stories are not created equal. Any campaign founded on storytelling runs the real risk of falling short of expectations if those stories don’t resonate with audiences — or worse, can turn audiences off to your brand. But a thoughtfully-crafted and well-produced campaign anchored on authentic stories can do just the opposite: attract positive attention and a growing audience to your brand’s offerings.

Part of the secret to crafting a winning health insurance marketing strategy based on storytelling are three vital elements to attract and retain customers — before, during, and after open enrollment.

1) Be Authentic. Really.

Authentic stories can help humanize your brand — but only if they are truly authentic. Manufacturing authenticity can put brands and people alike in a place where it can take a long time to recover trust, if ever. A key element to building an authentic storytelling campaign is the use of real people — real members — and let them use their own words and own voices to tell the story of how your brand has impacted their lives for the better. The result might be a health insurance marketing campaign that takes more effort to film, photograph, or edit, but that has the potential to truly resonate with your audience as they see themselves in the faces they see on the television screen or newspaper spread. And this leads us to the next crucial component of an authentic storytelling campaign: being where your audience is.

2) Be Where Your Audience is.

It sounds simple enough, but the key component of a successful health insurance marketing campaign is ad placement, and everything should be on the table. A billboard, for example, may not seem like it has a place in your digital marketing campaign, but a thoughtfully-placed billboard has the potential to exponentially increase the number of eyeballs on your campaign and can create a lift to your digital marketing channels. A strategically-placed billboard with contextually relevant creative can make a great impression that in the end impacts consumer behavior when coupled with other touchpoints along the consumer journey. Other touchpoints could include: mall posters, bus stop clings, remarketing and social media ads, and even film festivals. Don’t limit your integrated campaign too early to a few pre-ordained channels and keep your mind open to channels that might have a better potential to impact your audience. And, be prepared to change tack along the way, which brings us to our third and final consideration as you craft a campaign based on authentic stories: optimization.

3) Optimize, and Optimize Often.

Great health insurance campaigns aren’t born in their final formats — they’re crafted, then re-crafted and edited as data starts coming in on how your audience is interacting with and reacting to it. You will need to optimize, and not just once— right off the bat, work with your team and client to set up regular check-points to review data and be prepared to shuffle creative and re-work copy as you iterate on the campaign content. It would be helpful right at the onset to set up a shared dashboard with salient data points that will help you and your team monitor impressions and conversions in real-time. Analyze and benchmark the impact of previous campaigns on branded search queries as an indicator of brand intent. Then you can enable real-time optimizations of the marketing campaign.

If At First You Succeed, Do it Again.

Finally, take what you’ve learned during your health insurance marketing campaign and analyze what worked and what didn’t. Take what worked and do it again, and do more of it. Keep the inertia going. Iterate on a great campaign. Too often organizations feel the need for a new campaign every year or season. Think about how long Nike “just did it.”

In an age of media oversaturation, sound bites, and distractions, it’s brands that have the courage to lead with authentic content that will continue to have more meaningful relationships with their customers. Customers want to see the real you, and customers you’ve really helped. They want to see themselves authentically resonating with your brand. Then when open enrollment rolls around, chances are they’ll have a good idea already of who they want to trust with their family’s health.