Marketing to caregivers, rather than just the patient, may be more important than you realize when it comes to patient recruitment. In the past year alone, over 43.5 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult or child, which makes the caregiver market one of the largest and most influential markets in the healthcare industry. Clinical trials that are dependent on the caregiver, like those for mental health, elderly care, or pediatric studies, should utilize these marketing strategies to increase patient recruitment. However, you shouldn’t limit your caregiver-targeted marketing to just those therapeutic areas. Targeting caregivers for other clinical trials can also be a great strategy for patient recruitment, especially in today’s age of crowdsourcing, where sharing information with family and friends is common and relatively easy. Regardless if the caregiver is providing intentional care or is just a part of the patients’ lives, caregivers and family members are integral to a patient’s decision on whether they participate in a clinical trial. In this blog, we will provide a few tips on how to better market your clinical trials to caregivers.
Develop Compelling Creative & Messaging
Developing compelling creative and messaging is always important when executing an advertising campaign. You need to know your audience, and identifying where to find them and what messaging to include will increase your chances of engagement. However, there is an added challenge when you need to target individuals who aren’t taking part in the clinical trials, such as caretakers. When you are targeting caregivers, you want to think from their perspective and how it alters their lifestyle. The messaging and imagery should relate to the struggles they have as a caregiver, letting them know that they are appreciated.
According to National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, approximately 65% of caregivers are female, with the average age of 69 years old. These demographics may look very different from the patient demographics you are recruiting for your studies. To reach this caregiver population, you will need to have messaging that feels specific and authentic to them. Therefore, we recommend that you have an ad set specific to your patient population, as well as a separate ad set for the caregiver population.
Caregivers are more likely than other internet users to take advantage of social tools related to health. According to PEW Research Center, 28% of caregivers use social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with their friends over personal health experiences and updates. That allows sites to easily target a caregiver’s online behavior and get the messaging out on a platform they are already utilizing to search for health information. Targeting your social media ads outside of the patient population to include a larger age and gender group is an easy way to accomplish this.
Get Involved in Online Support Groups
Another way you can utilize social media for patient recruitment is by connecting with the caregivers on online support groups. Whether this be on blogs, Facebook, or Meet Up Groups, these groups allow access to groups of people who are seeking out health information. According to the Pew Research Center, 26% of caregivers have looked online for someone with a similar health condition to the person they are caring for. Getting involved and becoming a trusted source for information in these online groups could lead to increased patient populations for future studies.
While we always want to be conscious about knowing our patient population, sometimes this leads us to understand that our patients may have an external healthcare decision maker. When you open up your patient recruitment efforts to include the caregiver population, you increase your chances of boosting your enrollment numbers, and we hope you will begin to implement some of our tips above for targeting caregivers!
Fox, Susannah, and Joanna Brenner. “Family Caregivers Online.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 18 Feb. 2014, www.pewinternet.org/2012/07/12/family-caregivers-online/.
Family Caregiver Alliance. “Caregiver Statistics: Demographics.” Caregiver Statistics: Demographics | Family Caregiver Alliance, 17 Apr. 2019, www.caregiver.org/caregiver-statistics-demographics.