12 Tips for Marketing to Affluent Consumers in Healthcare

12 Tips for Marketing to Affluent Consumers in Healthcare

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

While many affluent consumers don’t think twice about paying cash (or credit) for luxury retail goods, there is a built-in bias that healthcare products and services should be covered by insurance.

Of course, that’s often not the case. 

Despite this bias, patients are more than willing to pay out of pocket for the pricey healthcare products and services they value—but that is only a part of the equation. 

Generally speaking, today’s healthcare consumers have high expectations. They’re looking for hospitals, health systems, and health and wellness brands that offer exceptional patient experiences from end to end. This includes convenient locations, clean facilities, shorter wait times, caring staff, and personalized care interactions. 

When upscale consumers pay cash for an expensive medical product or service, their expectations are amplified, thanks to the highly personalized experiences they've come to expect with luxury retail and consumer brands. 

So, how can you improve your marketing to affluent consumers and sell more premium products and services within your hospital or organization? Start by identifying your ideal healthcare consumer, their values, and what drives them to purchase.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What is a high-end healthcare product or service?
  • Who is the affluent consumer, and what do they want?
  • 12 ways to market to and win affluent healthcare consumers

What is a high-end healthcare product or service?

Many relatively expensive healthcare services and products are either cash-pay or not fully covered by insurance. These can include both provider- and consumer-side products and services.

This list is not exhaustive, but several provider-side services that often have significant out-of-pocket expenses include:

  • Addiction treatment
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Lasik surgery
  • Hearing aids
  • Mental health services
  • Plastic surgery (e.g., body augmentation, liposuction)
  • Aesthetic skin services (e.g., Botox, Juvederm, Latisse, etc.)
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Weight loss products
  • Orthodontics, dental implants, cosmetic dentistry
  • Hair restoration
  • Many elective surgeries

Consumer-side health and wellness products and services may include:

  • Anti-aging
  • Aromatherapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Exercise
  • Food and beverages
  • Immunity support 
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Oral care

Who are affluent healthcare consumers?

Many marketers and healthcare professionals use the term “affluent” interchangeably with other imprecise terms such as wealthy, rich, upscale, well-off, or upper income. As a result, many marketers “overshoot” their market by solely targeting “the 1%,” or people who can afford private jets, yachts, or mansions.  

For most marketing situations, it makes more sense to target the “mass affluent audience.” Definitions vary, but Retail Dive defines this demographic as those who make over $100,000 in household income and have $250,000 or more in assets

Keep in mind that 24% of US individuals and 34% of households make over $100,000 in income annually. What’s more, you may also target aspirational “middle-class” consumers with expensive tastes.

Beyond income levels and labels, affluent and luxury consumers are typically drawn to the appeal of quality, exclusivity, and status. They feel power from spending big and satisfaction from getting exclusive, quality products.

What do they want?

They want a VIP experience. Every part of your brand and every touchpoint must embody a high-end consumer experience.

They also want VIP access, priority care, extra time and attention, and longer appointments.

Remember, while everyone wants VIP treatment, affluent consumers expect and demand it.

If you want to improve your marketing to affluent consumers and sell more premium products and services, you have to treat every facet of your brand like a concierge service. This strategy will attract and convert more affluent consumers.

Here we share 12 ways to make your brand deserving of these affluent consumers.

12 Ways to Market to Affluent Healthcare Consumers

Attract more affluent healthcare consumers, increase patient volume, and reach your premium product or service sales goals when you implement these marketing strategies.

1. Understand your affluent healthcare consumer

Defining who you want to market to and creating ideal consumer personas is a crucial first step in attracting affluent patients to your premium medical products and services.

Comprehensive consumer personas help inform your marketing and define the features and benefits that will further impact your reach.

When developing affluent consumer personas, here are a few things to consider:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Income 
  • Net worth
  • Family Status
  • Cultural background
  • Geographic location
  • Purchase habits
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Values

You can also draw inspiration from previous patients or customers—research who has purchased your high-end products or services in the past and identify their unique demographics.

2. Develop a high-end, responsive, on-brand website.

75% of website visitors say design alone makes or breaks a brand's credibility.

Here are a few website must-haves for attracting today’s affluent healthcare consumers:

  • A sophisticated color scheme
  • Fonts that communicate prestige, elegance, and class
  • Compelling calls-to-action (CTAs)
  • Engaging visual content (e.g., images, infographics, and video)
  • Responsive web design that looks great and functions well on all devices
  • Timely, relevant, error-free, and high-quality content
  • Technical excellence to ensure everything loads quickly and functions correctly

Maintaining a consistent image across all channels unifies your brand, allowing it to stand out.

3. Position your brand messaging and design to attract and delight your affluent consumer.

The words you use in your content marketing strategy are important, especially when attracting affluent consumers. Consider your target audience when writing content for sales, social media, and other resources, and use words, phrases, and storylines that resonate with their values. 

Be sure to remember emotional appeals, not just rational appeals. Tap into deeper emotional needs that may include social status, exclusivity, vanity, greed, pride of ownership, and others. 

Wrapping your content into compelling designs helps your products and services stand apart from your competition.

4. Reach affluent consumers where they are.

Social media platforms are invaluable tools for marketing to affluent consumers and have revolutionized how we advertise and persuade this audience. 

Your consumer persona can inform which social media platforms your target consumers are likely using. However, according to Digimind, the global leader in social listening and market intelligence, 93% of consumer engagement with luxury brands happens on Instagram.

5. Use income targeting.

Most digital advertising platforms, like Google, allow advertisers to target top-income residents in a demographic location. By finding the average income of your target consumer, you can better target who sees your paid search ads. 

It’s worth mentioning again the importance of including atypical consumers in your marketing who may not meet these income brackets. Why? They are still more than willing to pay the out-of-pocket expenses for their desired products and services. 

Today’s luxury consumers are skewing younger. Gen Z and Millenials are poised to represent more than 60% of the high-end consumer market by 2025.

6. Establish your authority and build credibility.

Customers are more likely to engage with brands they trust. Establishing trust with affluent consumers is even more important because the stakes—and the price points—are higher.

Here are a few ways you can build credibility and authority with in-depth content that aligns with your target audience’s needs and expectations:

a. Leverage data and statistics from reliable sources and add context to your unique experience. This makes your points more impactful and piques the interest of your audience.

b. Offer insights that inspire action. The more detailed you are with tips or advice, the more likely you're affluent consumers will recognize you as a thought leader.

c. Include quotes from subject matter experts (SMEs) to add credibility to and enhance the quality of your content. SMEs can help build consumer confidence because they share expertise based on first-hand experiences.

Be sure to leverage this information across web properties and social media channels for maximum impact.

7. Be strategic with your pricing.

Affluent consumers expect to pay more, especially if they're considering an elective medical procedure or service that isn't covered by insurance. Develop a premium pricing strategy that appeals to and aligns with their expectations.

8. Create elevated paid search ad copy.

Creative messages improve ad relevance and drive more qualified clicks to your website or landing page. Stop stating the facts and focus on creating compelling, hyper-relevant ad copy your affluent consumers won’t be able to ignore. 

9. Use dynamic remarketing to increase buyer intent.

Don’t rely on run-of-the-mill remarketing ads to drive affluent consumers back to your website or landing page. 

Elevate your marketing to affluent consumers and take your campaigns to the next level with dynamic remarketing ads. These customized ads follow consumers around the web, advertising the exact product or service they looked at on your web property. 

Many retail brands use this strategy, but it can be especially effective when selling healthcare products or services with high out-of-pocket costs. Dynamic remarketing keeps your products and services top-of-mind and convinces consumers to buy one ad at a time.

10. Use influencer marketing.

Build your brand image by using micro- and macro-influencers in your marketing strategy. Social media influencers are people who have built a loyal following resulting from their knowledge, passion, and expertise on a specific topic.

Find a local influencer who successfully promotes high-end healthcare products or other luxury brands. This strategy requires upfront costs but will undoubtedly drive traffic to your website.

11. Focus on exclusivity and uniqueness.

Today’s healthcare consumers expect more, especially those willing or able to pay a premium. They crave deeper, more personalized provider relationships, flexible healthcare solutions, and exclusive access to premium products and services.

Develop a marketing strategy that targets this segment of your audience with exclusive access to providers, valuable information, and unique promotions.

12. Build a strong relationship with your affluent consumers.

Regular communication builds a connection based on trust and communication, helps consumers feel more secure and connected to your brand, builds brand loyalty, and improves conversion rates. Here are a few ways you can build stronger relationships:

a. Identify your affluent consumers and build an opt-in targeted email list. Your list will allow you to provide exclusive updates, valuable advice, and special offers for the products or services they’re most likely to purchase.

b. Seek regular feedback from consumers. Feedback allows you to quickly identify and correct areas needing improvement and provide better customer service.

c. Engage and connect regularly. Affluent consumers value timeliness and consistency. Develop organization-wide guidelines that help your marketing and sales teams interact with consumers more effectively.

d. Find a way to reward your loyal consumers. This can be a small gesture such as early or first access to new products or services or something more substantial such as a special deal or discount. Be creative and let your affluent consumers know they’re appreciated.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to selling more high-end or cash-pay products and services, I encourage you to read my book, Cash-Pay Healthcare: How to Start, Grow, and Perfect Your Business. In it, you’ll find checklists, bulleted lists, helpful examples, and a guide to the best resources to help you along the way. 

No matter where you are along the continuum of generating additional revenue, you’ll come away more confident and committed to serving your affluent consumers.

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