It’s important to minimise barriers to engagement with the service and make it as easy as possible to participate in healthier lifestyle services. Some providers have unintentionally erected barriers to their services. Here are some examples:
- Insisting participants calculate their BMI to sign up for weight loss services. This assumes people know a) their height and b) their weight (many overweight people are reluctant to weigh themselves). Having to perform calculations is also intimidating for many people.
- Putting prominent messages about what to do in the event of police warnings about severe weather on a page about gentle organised walks. It’s very unlikely that severe weather is going to occur and this message implies walking is an extreme sport.
- Forcing all visitors to a general wellbeing site to close a popup urging them to stop smoking. As only a minority of people are smokers, this will be only an annoying interruption for the majority of visitors.
Our research identified both good and bad examples of online copywriting. A few concerns we identified included the use of technical jargon or ‘NHS-speak’. Some examples are referring to people as ‘serving clients’ or generally describing service users in the third person. This comes across as if health professionals are talking to each other, rather than as if the service was addressing its audience. It’s always a good idea to write copy that addresses the audience directly. Rather than writing ‘Serving clients may wish to use this service to reduce obesity’, a stronger approach may be to write ‘You can lose weight using this service’.
Copy can also be used in a more persuasive manner in order to encourage people to improve their lives. Here’s a typical introduction to a drug service:
The Recovery Forum is a meeting place for individuals who have, or have had, substance misuse issues including illicit drugs, alcohol, legal highs and over the counter / prescription medicines. It is equally a place for carers, relatives and concerned others. The forum is solely owned and directed by its members therefore making it interesting, relevant, transparent and inclusive. Although there exists an Involvement Group, the function of this group, in respect of the forum, is only to facilitate its smooth running.
This introduction is not written in an inviting way for people looking to improve their lifestyle. This mission statement would be more appropriate on a funding application rather than on a service that aims to help people. It’s also far too heavily punctuated to be easy to read online. This could be better rewritten along the lines of ‘Got a problem with drugs? Worried about someone who has? We can help you’ with connections to appropriate resources.
Health and Wellbeing services may wish to learn from the commercial sector when it comes to encouraging participation. This was something that we particularly identified in weight loss services. Many slimming resources we encountered in our research made reference to BMI without any explanation of what this is. It’s likely that many people will be unsure of their BMI and not only will this act as a barrier, but it also makes the copy hard to relate to.
One of the key teachings of marketing practice is to use the same language as your audience – no one purchases ‘automobile indemnity’, which is why it’s sold as ‘car insurance’. A person might describe himself or herself as ‘fat’ but they would expect a service like this to use words like ‘overweight’. ‘BMI’ is not a term used outside the medical industry and is not well understood.
Lessons in ‘salesmanship’ can be learnt from commercial organisations such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World.
Weight Watchers messages:
- Millions of people have done it
- Lose weight and feel fantastic
- No food is off limits
- Pick your own approach, you’re in control of how you do it
Slimming World messages:
- Lose weight without feeling hungry
- Warm and friendly groups
- Pick your own approach, you’re in control of how you do it
Both commercial organisations offer good transparency of the process ahead, with sample menus and recipes, and descriptions of what to expect at meetings. The copy they use demolishes any concerns a person may have about signing up. It addresses the audience directly as ‘you’ to make it clear it is aimed at them. It makes it clear that it understands them (‘enjoy the food you love’) rather than referring to baffling BMI measurements that don’t seem to have any relation to their lives and concerns. HWS offering slimming services should perhaps treat these commercial organisations as direct competitors and learn from their examples.
eCRM system specification
It is likely that many wellbeing providers already have in-house eCRM systems. If this is not the case then we would recommend a system, such as Infusionsoft, which is significantly cheaper than SalesForce and arguably more suitable for this context. Whichever eCRM system is adopted, the following functionality is essential:
|Ability to create data capture forms which trigger “tags” (tagging is when data is flagged in the eCRM database – an action that may also trigger further digital activity such as an email sequence or appointment set up)||“Tags” will then trigger automated email sequences, referral emails to relevant parties and similar|
|Database functionality with the ability to segment by a wide number of factors (postcode, tag, referee etc.)||Email functionality – creation of branded emails containing links and “tagging” capacity, automated sequencing of emails|
|Landing page form functionality – mobile friendly landing pages to be hosted on website which enable data capture, form filling and tagging||SMS functionality – for appointment reminders and motivational texts (these would be triggered as per the email sequences by a tag)|
|Functionality such as goal setting, “hot” contact identification with triggers for phone calls, follow up and other relevant actions||Metrics enabling views on open and click rates (more will be needed here beyond marcomms metrics)|
|Full mobile functionality||Appointment scheduling|
|Security levels – e.g. multiple individuals likely to need to log in to update information on the eCRM. From administrators booking appointments to advisors conducting assessments and instructors leading activities. Relevant security in place to ensure confidential patient data is not shared inappropriately.||Patient records set up to include relevant fields for different services. E.g. for smoking CO2 readings, 4 week quit date, 52 week follow up. Physical activity to include physical activity level question and follow up at 3 months, 12 months etc.|
|Referrals from GP’s via their internal system – Note: Any patient details that are sent directly from an NHS system would need to be stored on servers in England.||Compliance with NHS and local authority requirements (for instance data may need to be held on EU based servers)|
Other studies and how The Digiterati can help >
< Other digital approaches