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Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Your Weight Loss Practice Marketing

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Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Your Weight Loss Practice Marketing

— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN

While artificial intelligence cannot replace true emotional human interaction, it can help you with many aspects of marketing and sales while enhancing team efficiency.

Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) can unlock new opportunities for growth and success in your weight loss practice. In fact, you may be using some free or paid AI tools already such as ChatGPT or AI powered bots on your website to help respond to patient inquiries or facilitate their ability to make an appointment. To say the least, artificial intelligence has made quite an impact in a short period of time.

In marketing, AI can be used across various channels for many functions from personalized messaging to predictive analytics. When you leverage AI algorithms, you can gather valuable insights, optimize your marketing campaigns, and deliver tailored ads to your ideal prospective patients.

Understanding the Basics of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been defined as the capability of computer systems or algorithms to imitate intelligent human behavior.1 This enables them to perform tasks that historically only a human could do, such as reasoning, making decisions, solving problems, and language translation.

While there are many benefits of using AI in your weight loss practice, marketing will be reviewed along with specific examples. However, it is important to acknowledge some risks of using AI, particularly in health care.

Potential Risks of Using Artificial Intelligence in Health Care

Just about everyone would agree with what recent studies highlight about the use of artificial intelligence in health care — it should be used as a supplement to your initiatives, not a replacement.2 While many clinicians and their teams use AI in various ways already, below are some risks for consideration:

  1. Data Privacy and Security: AI-driven marketing relies heavily on collecting and analyzing patient data that often includes sensitive personal information, such as medical history and treatment preferences. This data must be handled securely or there is a risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, or misuse which can lead to legal consequences and a poor reputation for your practice.
  2. Accuracy: AI algorithms are only as good as the data they are trained on, and errors in the data can lead to faulty predictions. In health care marketing, relying solely on such insights without your involvement can result in poor strategies and ineffective campaigns.
  3. Patient Trust: Patients may feel distrustful if they perceive AI as fake or intrusive in their decision-making processes. We have all wondered at one point or another if we are interacting with a human being or a bot. Building trust with your patients requires clear communication and accountability regarding the use of AI driven technologies.
  4. Compliance: As you know, health care marketing is subject to numerous regulations and standards, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). AI applications must comply with these regulations to ensure patient privacy and confidentiality. This is an evolving landscape as noted with the ever-changing social media algorithms and current proposed search engine restrictions.
  5. Dependency: While AI can enhance decision-making and efficiency, overreliance on AI-driven applications without your oversight and added interpretation can lead to complacency. It is essential to strive for a balance between leveraging AI capabilities for you and your patients while preserving your input, expertise, and human touch.

While there are concerns about potential reliance and misuse of AI, the reality is that AI has made a positive impact on many practitioners and their marketing teams.

5 Effective Ways to Use AI in Your Weight Loss Practice Marketing

Let’s review a few of the dynamic applications of artificial intelligence within your weight loss practice. Below are 5 marketing related impacts:

1. Targeted Advertising: Utilizing AI-powered advertising platforms allows you to identify and target your ideal patients based upon their demographic and online behavioral patterns. You can get laser focused so your content and ads are presented to those that are searching for exactly what you offer and making a decision regarding their choice of treatment.

For example: You want to launch an advertising campaign for your products or services to patients interested in what you offer in a specific geographic area. Using an AI-powered advertising platform, you can analyze demographic data, online behavior, and past engagement with similar ads to identify the most relevant people searching for what you are offering.

The personalized ad or content you create will not only speak directly to the needs and interests of your ideal online audience, but be presented to them online. As a result, your advertising campaign can achieve higher click-through and conversion rates when compared to a broader, less targeted ad that is presented to the wrong audience.

2. Personalized Content Creation: This aspect of AI has been amazing for so many people who struggle with creating relevant content and keeping their patients engaged. You can leverage AI algorithms to personalize your website content, email campaigns, e-newsletters, and social media interactions. You can do this by creating content that has a higher likelihood of resonating with your ideal patients, thus increasing their engagement and the likelihood of them sharing your content with others.

For example, you currently maintain an active presence on social media and regularly send email newsletters to leads in your database as well as existing patients. Or, you desire to start doing so but have been overwhelmed with the process. You can use AI tools and algorithms to better understand what they want information about. You can also use AI to personalize your content based upon the interests, preferences, and past interactions of your patients with your content.

As a result, people in your database receive personalized content. Your engagement rates increase, sales potentially increase and if done properly, your website traffic and brand loyalty are enhanced.

3. New Lead/Patient Scoring and Nurturing: You can use AI-driven lead scoring models to prioritize and nurture your prospective patients entering your “pipeline” based upon their level of engagement and readiness to move forward.

For example, you likely receive inquiries for your services from potential patients in various online ways such as social media, your website, or after watching a webinar. You can implement an AI-driven lead scoring system that assigns a numerical value to each lead based on factors such as demographic information, co-morbidities, level of engagement, and likelihood of booking a consult.

As a result, your team can swiftly identify and prioritize leads with the highest scores for immediate follow-up to schedule their consultation. By reaching out to these prioritized leads first, you focus on those most likely to convert and take action. Then you can concentrate on lower priority leads personally and through automated messaging. This approach boosts the number of new consultations and delivers a more favorable return on investment for your marketing campaigns.

4. Automated Patient Education: AI-driven tools and technology can systematize delivery of your required and desired patient education materials. By automating the process, you can boost team efficiency and give them the opportunity to focus on personalized interactions with your patients driving engagement further. You can automate yet still maintain your personalized treatment plan.

For example, you are providing repetitive educational information and feel as if you don’t have as much time to customize treatment for your weight loss patients. You may also have limited staff resources and feel challenged to provide individualized education to each patient. You can implement an AI-driven patient education platform that delivers your educational content in various formats as desired. Some of these formats may include weekly newsletters or mobile app notifications with articles, videos, recipes, and infographics about healthy eating, exercise tips, and stress management techniques specific to their goals and responsive to their input. The AI platform can track their engagement with the content as well as incorporate interactive features such as quizzes, progress trackers, and gamification to encourage active participation.

As a result, you foster a sense of accountability and reinforce healthier behaviors. Your patients are likely to be more engaged, refer others to you, and adhere to your program in an easier, more productive way.

5. Team Efficiency: AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots have come a long way!  They require training but can provide round-the-clock support, answer patient inquiries, facilitate appointment scheduling and streamline efficient communication. Your team is not replaced; rather, you simply have another way to provide customer service when you or your team is not available.

For example, if you have a high volume of patients seeking information or asking questions, you can deploy an AI-powered virtual assistant or bot on your website and social media channels that is capable of answering common questions and providing basic information regarding your programs and services. Warning: Not all AI-powered solutions are created equal and they do require training for accuracy and higher satisfaction for you and your patients.

If done right, as a result, patients receive instant responses to their inquiries, improving their overall experience and reducing wait times for assistance. Your team can streamline operations and save time as well.

Implementing AI in Your Practice

While AI-driven solutions may not be for everyone, they can be quite helpful, are not going away, continue to improve, and are being used in nearly every industry. Start with a strategic approach. Identify your marketing objectives such as increasing patient inquiries, booking more consults, enhancing patient education, or improving patient retention. Then, explore the AI solutions that will meet your specific needs and budget such as AI-powered customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, advertising applications, and predictive analytics tools.

Be mindful of the risks identified above, but don’t be afraid to investigate how AI can provide benefits for you and your patients.

Source(s):

1 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/artificial%20intelligence

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10367431/

About the Author: Dr. Dawn M. Sweet has over 20 years of experience in the field of communication. Dr. Sweet has given several invited talks to and workshops for academic and private sector audiences on the role of nonverbal and verbal communication in achieving positive outcomes and mitigating bias. Her research has been published in several top ranked peer-review journals, and it has been featured on NPR’s River to River / All Things Considered, Buzzfeed, and Science Daily. Her research has also been used to inform expert testimony.

About Robard: For 45 years, Robard Corporation’s medical obesity treatment programs and nutrition products have been utilized by physicians, surgeons and hospitals across the United States to successfully treat patients living with obesity. To learn more about us and how we can help your practice and patients, visit us online at www.Robard.com, email us at info@robard.com, or call (800) 222-9201.

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