Healthcare Advertising: The Ultimate Guide To Drive Sales in 2024
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The healthcare industry like every other industry is evolving fast.
The existence of the COVID-19 virus and the continuous technological advancement in the modern healthcare industry has transformed the ways healthcare-related information is sourced and disseminated among people.
According to research by Digitalis, it revealed that “Google is a popular search engine for patients looking for answers to health-related questions.” Further research statistics show that:
77% of people use search engines to start their patient journey.
7 percent of all daily Google searches are health-related, with 70,000 healthcare searches performed every minute.
While these statistics indicate that the healthcare industry is not above the scope of online marketing, it also reveals that patients are now well-informed about healthcare services and now have more options than ever before to make informed decisions.
The reality of this is that patients are no longer compelled to choose healthcare services based on proximity and state services, they now have the right information about their healthcare needs and can make more informed decisions about what they want and where they want to receive treatments.
Since the fundamental purpose of health care is to enhance the quality of life by enhancing health, people are always ready and willing to get the best healthcare services for their benefit. Without effective advertising and marketing strategies, you may struggle to attract new patients and retain even your most loyal patients if you don’t engage them.
Not sure how to create and manage your healthcare advertising and marketing strategy? This comprehensive guide has identified all the tips, strategies, and examples you should know about healthcare advertising.
What is Healthcare Advertising?
In its simplest terms, advertising is a marketing communications method that uses paid media techniques to share specifically tailored messages to the target audiences.
For many years, advertising has been one of the most commonly used and effective avenues for healthcare organizations to connect and engage with their current and prospective patients.
Healthcare advertising is defined as the process of creating and promoting adverts about a physician, medical practice, medical center, or specific medical procedure to the target audience via the right channel at the right time.
Although healthcare advertising and marketing are sometimes misunderstood to mean the same things, these two terms mean two different things. Find more explanation on this below.
Healthcare Advertising vs. Healthcare Marketing
Healthcare marketing is the process of creating strategic outreach and communications and structuring it in a way that increases healthcare consumers’ knowledge of your services, guides their healthcare journey, and engages them with the structured system.
In simple terms, healthcare marketing is attracting and engaging patients by delivering up-to-date health information and guiding their journey from prospects to paying customers. It is your conscious effort to stand out and outrank other healthcare providers.
Healthcare marketing also refers to marketing strategies that are specially designed for the healthcare sector and are mostly tailored for use by hospitals, health systems, healthcare professionals, providers, insurers, solo practices, pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturers, as well as educational institutions, and advocacy groups.
You are mistaken if you believe that healthcare advertising and marketing mean the same thing. While marketing is the umbrella body of the campaign, advertising is only a subset of marketing that is implemented to make a marketing campaign successful.
Like every other business in other industries leverages advertising techniques to boost their brand presence, health centers and physicians also need advertising to attract new patients, increase their brand awareness, engage existing patients, and ultimately, enhance revenue generation.
What Influences Marketing Strategies?
Before creating a marketing strategy, healthcare marketers must look into the factors that can affect healthcare consumers’ choice of healthcare center and other factors that can make them want to leave one healthcare service for another.
These factors include the following:
- Higher costs for the same service.
- A negative consumer experience.
- Limited or no access to same-day appointments.
- Dissatisfaction with wait times.
- Limited or no access to virtual care appointments (e.g., telehealth).
- Limited or no access to direct communication with their physician.
- Limited or no access to secure online appointment scheduling, bill pay, or medical records.
- No access to remote patient monitoring capabilities.
- Providers are no longer accepting their healthcare insurance.
What Does Healthcare Marketing Industry Look Like in 2024?
A well-researched marketing strategy is an effective way for healthcare providers can educate, attract, engage and retain potential, existing, and new patients in the digital age. Here are some of the most relevant and impressive 2022 healthcare marketing statistics that you should consider for your marketing strategy in 2024.
- 82.8% of patients use search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) to find a healthcare provider.
- 56% of patients tend to consult three different online sources when searching for a doctor.
- A study by a local SEO tool, Yext revealed that 31% of healthcare providers do not have a local listing while 48% of healthcare websites have basic mistakes with their addresses.
- According to a report by Zenith Media, the expected digital healthcare advertising spending will account for 46%.
- The latest Conversion Benchmark Report of Unbounce report that search ads account for two-thirds (or 64.7%) of all traffic to pages that contain medical online form-fill pages, while social media accounts for just one-fifth (19.4%).
- About 60 percent of visitors click through and visit a website that provides relevant healthcare information.
- Nearly three-quarter (71%) of visitors lose their trust when a healthcare website fails to deliver sufficient information.
- The average email open rate for the healthcare industry is 21.48% and the average click-through rate for healthcare email marketing is 2.69%.
- Studies show that 74% of patients consider online reviews extremely or very important while 69.9% consider a positive online reputation to be very or extremely important when choosing a healthcare provider.
- According to a survey in 2021, 51% of patients prefer a digital connection for five key interactions: scheduling an appointment, filling out forms, asking providers questions, paying bills, and accessing their health information records.
What Are The Benefits of Medical Marketing?
Here are some of the important benefits of healthcare marketing.
1. It enhances patient’s experience
Setting up healthcare marketing strategies can provide patients with all the necessary health information that can enhance their experience with your healthcare service.
2. Keep healthcare consumers engaged with relevant, personalized, and timely outreach during their journey
One of the most important benefits of healthcare marketing is that it creates a strategy that outlines relevant, personalized, and timely messages and content that will keep them engaged and choose your serivce over your competitors.
3. Build your brand
Marketing strategies provide the right structure that helps you attract and retain consumers while still equipping them with the right knowledge and information necessary that help your health brand grow and make more money.
4. Improve your online reputation
Your brand reputation is really important for your brand growth and success in this digital age. Because a lot of businesses, people, and services are interconnected, it becomes very easy for people to share their opinion about services for others to see.
If you are looking to get your healthcare organization out there with the best reputation among your potential patients, consider creating a well-researched marketing strategy.
5. Position your physicians as thought leaders in their market
One thing with the healthcare sector is that people want to only associate with the best of the best. Health is wealth they say and no one wants to be treated by inexperienced doctors or physicians.
By creating marketing content of physicians at work or speaking about an important health topic, you portray them as experts and this helps to build people’s trust in them.
6. Increase local physician referrals
The more ads you run for your healthcare business, the more people around your facility get to know about your healthcare services. When people visit your center through these ads, they tend to inform their colleagues and families about your services.
7. Drive more qualified leads and generate more revenue
When you create a marketing strategy for your healthcare business and back it up with ads, your increase your chances of getting more qualified leads, who might eventually convert into paying customers based on your services.
8. It empowers consumers with valuable information that enables them to make smarter, healthier decisions that create better outcomes for healthcare brands and consumers.
9. An effective marketing strategy can help you increase your healthcare consumer base, retain existing consumers on a long-term basis, and increase patient loyalty in your healthcare community.
10. Lastly, medical marketing helps to increase your service strategic advantage (unique selling point) to attract healthcare consumers in an increasingly competitive space.
What is The Best Form of Advertising For The Healthcare Industry?
There are two main types of advertising that most healthcare businesses use to promote their services and medical procedures – traditional and digital.
The traditional forms of advertising involve the use of offline methods such as billboards, posters, flyers, radio ads, TV, magazine, newspaper ads, and so on. Although these forms of advertising provide a considerable ROI on the ads, it is almost impossible to track the result of the ads.
Digital advertising on the other hand uses online platforms such as social media, google, SEO, SEM, etc., to promote a business and increase its sale. A key benefit of online/digital advertising is that it is easy to track its impact on sales and revenue generation, it can be targeted at specific people, and marketers can easily pause or stop the ad if it is not creating the desired results.
Here are some of the best forms of online healthcare advertising that you should consider including in your medical marketing strategy.
1. Search Advertising
Searching advertising, also known as sponsored ads or paid search advertising, is a form of online paid advertising that displays ads in search engine results when a web user searches for topics, products, or services related to that advert.
Digital marketers run search ads by bidding on keywords that they want to display their ads. This means that whenever a potential consumer searches for those keywords on search engines like Google, the ad will show up as long as the prospect is within the targeted areas.
2. Paid Social Media Ads
There is no doubt that social media is the new big thing in the world of digital advertising. With over half of the entire world population now active on social media (4.48 billion active social media users).
The majority of the age group that you will most likely target will be active members of one of many other social media platforms. It was reported that 90% of individuals in the US within the age group of 18-29 use social media. Interestingly, social media ads are also relatively inexpensive and can be used to serve highly targeted ads.
Additionally, social media ads are used to generate leads and also improve awareness of most healthcare brands.
3. Display Ads
Display ads otherwise known as banner advertisements are adverts made up of texts, images, or videos. Display ads are everywhere on the internet from blogs to websites and other digital platforms. They are mostly in three formats – banner ads, interstitial ads, and video ads.
Most display ads are used for retargeting campaigns to prospects who have already visited your website. The idea of display ads is to get the previous users to return to your website and perform your desired actions.
4. Email Advertising
Email advertising is the process of crafting and sending promotional messages and campaigns to subscribers, existing customers, and prospects. With this technique, the marketer sends bulk personalized messages to recipients who have given you their consent to receive your emails.
Using email marketing techniques to promote your medical practices can exponentially increase your healthcare organization’s visibility and help you get closer to your recipients.
5. In-App Advertising
In-app ads are the adverts that you see in an app. They usually come in different sizes and formats and have been reported to have better click-through rates than web ads since they tend to blend well with the app’s UI.
Following a report that soon, 67% of all digital advertising spending will be aimed at mobile devices. In-app adverts are a good choice for promoting your healthcare services since the majority of the ads are installed with the app.
6. Location-Based Advertising
Location-based advertising (LBA) is regarded as one of the highly lucrative forms of healthcare advertising that promotes ads based on the location of the user.
Since the majority of practitioners and healthcare professionals have a physical location where consultations and treatments are carried out, location-based ads are used to target people within the vicinity of the healthcare facility. These ads can be promoted via social media, search engines, or third-party applications.
Mobile health application development, including Telemedicine, uses technology to treat patients. This may involve remote wound and sickness diagnosis, surveillance, and treatment. Working with an independent Telemedicine App Development Company reduces administrative expenditures and equipment purchases.
Why Do You Need a Healthcare Marketing Strategy?
According to a study by McKinsey, they found that healthcare patients have the same or similar expectations from healthcare organizations that they do from technology, retail, or any other industry.
The modern-day patient needs and concerns have shifted drastically over the year from being indifferent about the doctors that attend to them to now being actively involved in the qualities, practice, and reviews of the doctors. We have moved from the belief that “any doctor is fine” to “what qualities does the doctor have”?
Digital technology has made people more aware and informed about healthcare practices and systems. Nowadays, people know what they want and are not ready to settle for less. This explains why someone would rather travel miles to meet a doctor leaving behind the ones available/close to them. The desire to meet the needs of these people and leverage them for business is the hallmark of marketing strategies.
Healthcare marketing strategy enables you to create a structured plan that highlights important information about your potential patients (their likes, needs, goals, and objectives) and the steps you are going to take to target the prospects and nurture them till they convert to your paying customer.
15 Healthcare Marketing Strategies to Attract Healthcare Consumers
From the points identified above, we have listed the benefits of healthcare marketing and explained why you need a healthcare marketing strategy. In this section, we will identify the best 15 marketing strategies to adopt and include them in your healthcare marketing plan.
1. Create a Consistent Healthcare Branding
Your brand is what your business is, and stands for beyond the products or services. It has become a critical factor that determines how successful a business becomes in the digital age.
To run successful marketing campaigns, you need to ensure that your healthcare service has a strong and recognizable brand that sets you apart from other healthcare providers. This brand is going to be the hallmark of your marketing strategy and will determine to a large extent how your prospects and existing customers interact with your marketing campaigns.
2. Build a responsive healthcare website
The world is a global village where people from different regions interact and transact daily. Even if you have a physical location, you must also ensure that you have a brand presence on the internet via your social media network, website, and other platforms.
A website is a digital store where people can visit to learn more about your healthcare practices and procedures, you have to ensure that the website is built with advanced technology and is responsive across all platforms.
3. Evaluate the patient’s online experience
Your website is your digital shop, it’s where your clients and prospects go when they need to learn more about you. A lot of times, people make decisions based on what their online experience is like.
If your website takes too long to load or looks very chaotic, there’s a high chance that your prospects won’t come back. Similarly, if you take too long to respond to their complaints on social media, this can negatively impact their online experience.
A poor online experience will affect the success of your marketing campaigns. Work on all the loopholes in your digital platforms to increase your chances of gaining new patients.
4. Test your website speed
As stated above, a slow website can get affect your patient’s experience. Following reports that it only takes 5 seconds to lose a prospective customer, you have to consistently test your website speed to fix any issue your prospect might be having.
5. Leverage Pay-Per-Click (PPC) for your marketing
PPC is a form of search engine marketing used by digital marketers to drive traffic to websites where an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked.
The three key types are sponsored product ads( Ads shown within the range of the search results), Headline Search Ads (Ads shown on top of a page) and Product Display Ads (shows pictures of the actual products in the ads). All these ads can help your website/webpage rank higher on the search engines.
6. Optimize your website SEO to drive organic traffic
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an unpaid (organic) digital marketing tactic used to optimize a website’s technical configuration, content relevance, and link popularity so your clients and prospects can easily find the page.
In simple terms, it involves using the right phrases and keywords so that Google can understand your website and help people find it faster and easier. A quick and effective to drive sales and revenue generation in your healthcare organization is by optimizing your website to perform better.
7. Leverage Social media
Social media is a strong force in the world of marketing. If you want to get closer to your clients and prospects, build better relationships with them and ultimately, drive sales.
Virtually every business you can think of has a social media presence. Aside from using your social media platform to build relationships, you can also run social media ads to reach a more diversified audience and increase your chance of success.
8. Don’t Ignore Traditional Methods of Marketing
Traditional forms of marketing such as radio, television, newspaper, magazine, billboards, posters, etc., can be expensive to run compared to digital platforms. This explains why many organizations are usually very reluctant to invest in traditional marketing.
Although they can be very effective in driving sales, a wrong move in the process can ruin everything. For instance, placing a billboard ad in a location where people hardly ply would not give your desired result compared to when you run a TV ad in a station with your target audience, the result will be phenomenal.
9. Request for reviews from your healthcare consumers
Customer reviews are a reflection of what your customers experience, opinions, and ideas about your healthcare organization. If you don’t know what your clients are going through, you are less likely to understand how to solve the problem. This explains why you need to request your prospect’s reviews at regular intervals.
10. Follow up with consumer feedback in your marketing efforts
After getting your client’s and prospects’ feedback on their experience with your healthcare organization, you must also ensure that you act on the feedback within a reasonable timeframe. If they responded via your response form, commented on your social media post, or called you out on a forum, be very responsive and show that you care.
11. Constantly check up on your current customer’s
A forgotten customer is a lost customer. If you fail to check up on your customers and send them regular product updates, congratulatory messages on their special days, and so on, you could lose them to another proactive competitor. Make this a part of your marketing strategy.
12. Integrate physician referrals into your marketing plans
Doctor referrals are some of the best organic marketing strategies that you can use to bring in new patients to your healthcare organization. To leverage this, ensure that you have a physician liaison who must be proactive and have the best practices in professional communications and relationship-building.
13. Position yourself as an authority in the field
When it comes to healthcare, people want to go for the best of the best. No mistakes are allowed and people are usually very unforgiving of any mistakes from a physician. To increase your chances of achieving more success, position yourself and your brand as knowledgeable and highly skilled so people can be convinced to transact with you.
14. Track your marketing strategy
You must continuously monitor your marketing strategy to determine its effectiveness and how well it’s doing in terms of the ROI. Every year, ensure that you adjust your marketing budget to fit your marketing focus for the year and key brand metrics.
Consider using any of the following techniques to track your marketing strategy on track: use CRM software, Google Analytics, Track your PPC by setting up Google AdWords or use a HIPAA-compliant call-tracking system. You can explore healthcare software development companies also.
15. Audit your call center’s response to your healthcare marketing initiatives
How are your call center agents relating with your prospects? What are your call ratings? and How do your clients feel about your call center’s performance? All of these are the things you need to consider when auditing your call center response and performance.
5 Examples of Brilliant Healthcare Marketing
Below are some of the most brilliant examples of healthcare marketing
1. New York Presbyterian Hospital’s “Patient’s Stories” Campaign
The New York Presbyterian Hospital developed a video marketing campaign. This marketing campaign uses storytelling techniques to share inspirational success stories of how patients were saved by the medical center.
2. Dana-Farber Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center “You Have Us” Campaign
Dana-Farber Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center created the slogan – “Right now you may have cancer. But what your cancer doesn’t know is — You Have Us” to show their support and solidarity with women living with cancer.
3. Carilion Clinic’s “Yes, Mamm” campaign
Carilion Clinic of Virginia’s Roanoke Valley developed the “Yes, Mamm” campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need for early detection. They also used this campaign to answer common breast cancer questions on Twitter.
4. The Mayo Clinic’s Sharing Mayo Clinic Blog
The Mayo Clinic created the “Sharing Mayo Clinic Blog” to showcase its global online community with stories from patients, family members, and Mayo Clinic staff.
5. Arkansas Children’s Hospital “#100DeadliestDays” MarketingCampaign
Arkansas Children’s Hospital created the “#100DeadliestDays” campaign to raise awareness of the dangerous period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the death risk of children and teen is higher.
Healthcare Advertising: The Conclusion
If done properly, healthcare marketing strategies can significantly boost your healthcare brand’s online visibility and increase your customer base and revenue generation. Consider the above strategies to drive more sales to your healthcare organization.