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5 Secrets of Healthcare Advertising in 2020 to Grow Your Practice

Imagine you could attract record numbers of new patients to your practice.

Your practice would get more leads each week.

Your revenue would grow month-over-month.

Your marketing would be firing on all cylinders and delivering high-value patients to your front door.

But right now, that feels impossible, right? That’s because:

  • Your website isn’t getting any new patient leads
  • Your advertising isn’t performing
  • Your practice’s growth is stalling
  • You have a limited budget

If that’s you, don’t give up yet.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Advertising your practice doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.

The secrets to effective healthcare advertising are just a scroll away.

All you have to do to make marketing easier is keep reading.

What is Healthcare Advertising?

Healthcare advertising is the creation of advertisements for a medical practice, physician, or specific medical procedure. Advertising typically involves paying for the placement of creative advertisements designed to promote a product, service, or a message.

But we must make an important distinction:

Many people get advertising confused with marketing.

Marketing brings buyers and sellers together in a mutually-beneficial relationship. All marketing elements must work together to form a unified campaign with one central message. Advertising is only one component of the marketing process.

But why do you need both advertising and marketing, you ask?

Well, marketing is essential to maintaining a growing business. Many businesses could not survive without marketing. It’s an essential driver of new customers.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Many practices could not survive without marketing. It’s an essential driver of new patients.” quote=”Many practices could not survive without marketing. It’s an essential driver of new patients.”]

Unless you have the brand awareness of Apple (which you probably don’t), you will have to use marketing to bring customers in the door to your business.

And even big companies like Apple use both marketing and advertising to grow their reach and attract more customers. Yes, they have incredible brand awareness…but they still pay to advertise their products.

Health care is no different.

Doctors should use both marketing and advertising to promote their practices, attract new patients, and grow revenue.

Why is healthcare advertising important?

Advertising is the primary driver of practice growth, especially for new practices. And it can lead to growth fast.

As a healthcare marketing agency, we should know.

We have created digital campaigns that delivered new leads to medical practices within hours.

Patients are looking for information about your services. Advertising is a great way to reach them in their moment of need.

Advertising is all about reaching:

  • The right person
  • With the right product
  • At the right time
  • In the right place
  • For the right price.

This is commonly referred to as the Five P’s of Advertising:

  • Product: What does your product do? How is it different from competitors?
  • Price: How do you maximize profit while keeping prices attractive?
  • Promotion: What are you promoting? How will you communicate your features and benefits?
  • Place: Where will you promote your product? How will that influence your message?
  • People: How will you communicate the expertise and skills of the people in your organization?

The 5 P's of Healthcare Advertising
The 5 P’s of Healthcare Advertising

Getting the Five P’s of Advertising right is essential to growing any medical practice. If you want to succeed in your healthcare advertising, you need find creative ways to reach the right people.

But what are the benefits of healthcare advertising, you ask?

A well-crafted ad campaign can:

  • Help attract more patients – especially newer practices whose brand recognition isn’t well-established.
  • Grow brand awareness for existing practices among unreached demographics.
  • Provide a quick boost in patient volume. Seeing a slump in revenue? Advertising is an easy way to give your revenue a boost.
  • Help doctors get more referrals from other medical professionals.
  • Help practices keep up with the local competition. If your practice advertises and your competitors don’t, who do you think will get more patients?

What are different types of healthcare advertising?

In many ways, health care advertising is no different than advertising for any other industry.

Common “channels” for traditional healthcare advertisements include:

  • Billboards in high-traffic areas
  • Radio commercials on local stations
  • TV commercials
  • Print ads in local newspapers and magazines

Digital channels for healthcare advertisements are on the rise, too. Common digital channels for medical professionals include:

  • Pay Per Click Campaigns on Google Ads
  • “Pre-Roll” video ads onYouTube
  • “Boosted” social media posts
  • Email advertising
  • Ad placements in medically-focused content
  • Paid ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram

4 examples of great healthcare advertising campaigns

Ok, so now that you know what medical advertising is, let’s dive in to some great healthcare advertising campaigns:

National Jewish Health: She'll Dance Again
Best Print Ad: She’ll Never Dance Again

National Jewish Health

What it did: National Jewish Health’s advertisements feature stories of real patients who have overcome the odds. Not only that, but the ad itself is beautiful and instantly catches the eye.

Why it works: Testimonials are one of the most powerful marketing tools to drive new patients to your practice. 8 out of 10 of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. 9 out of 10 trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member.

Dana-Farber Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center
Best Slogan: “Right now you may have cancer. But what your cancer doesn’t know is — You Have Us.”

Dana-Farber Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center

What it did: These healthcare ads feature Dana-Farber’s slogan, “Right now you may have cancer. But what your cancer doesn’t know is — You Have Us.”

Why it works: The slogan is empowering to cancer patients and inspiration to everyone else. These ads not only explain what the Cancer Center can do for patients, but appeal to a larger, inspirational mission that gets everyone on board.

Best Video Ad: SickKids VS.

SickKids, Cossette

What it did: This video ad shows the real, raw stories behind kids battling some of the toughest diseases and conditions out there. SickKids created an emotional – but inspirational – video showing their dedication to helping kids fighting for their lives.

Why it works: Humans are wired for story – we are emotional beings. A compelling video ad like this influences our behavior by appealing to our emotions.

Casa de la Amistad Hairfest
Most Creative Ad: The Hair Fest

Casa de la Amistad, Ogilvy & Mather Mexico

What it did: This ad wins most creative for their unique heavy metal event – the first festival in the world where the ticket is hair. Brilliant? Absolutely. Traditional? Not a chance.

Why it works: You might not think healthcare and heavy metal go hand in hand, but combining the two makes for a brilliant ad campaign. This ad shares an inspirational goal with its audience and presents not just a product, but an experience.

Bayer "Battle in the Bone"
Best-Designed Ad: Battle in the Bone

Bayer, Area 23

What it did: This healthcare ad has incredible attention to detail, reframing the condition as a deadly medieval battle.

Why it works: “Ad blindness” is a thing – we’re all bombarded with advertisements day in and day out. So when an ad is this stunningly beautiful, it will definitely catch out eye. How do you make bones interesting? By making them beautiful. Bayer and Area 23 nailed it with this creative ad.

How can I attract patients to my practice with healthcare advertising?

If you want to use a healthcare advertising campaign to attract more patients to your practice, you have to think strategically. There are a few steps you can take to ensure success:

#1: Set your goals.

Start your ad campaign by trying to answer the question: “What would success look like for your practice?”

If you want to be successful, you have to begin with the end in mind. Do you want to…

  • Get more patient leads?
  • Grow your brand awareness?
  • Expand into new demographics?
  • Keep your competitors at bay?

Answering this question will help you define what success looks like for your practice.

#2: Set a budget.

If you want to get the most out of your healthcare advertising, a budget is a must.

Without a budget allocated to different channels, you may find yourself overspending. Worse still, you might be wasting money on strategies that don’t produce results.

Keep in mind that advertising should only be part of your practice’s marketing budget. Unless you have a creative team in-house, you will have to pay an agency for the creation of the ad itself.

You will also need to pay for the delivery of your advertisements on channels like:

  • YouTube
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Print publications

#3: Make a plan: in-house or outsourced?

Many businesses in the medical industry have the same question: should they create campaigns in-house or outsource to a healthcare advertising agency?

Doing things in-house may seem less expensive at first, but a few problems emerge.

  • Most practices don’t have the right people on staff to create your advertisements
  • If they do, their marketing staff might not have the time

Because of this, many practices choose to hire a healthcare marketing agency to handle the creation of the campaigns for them.

Doing so has several benefits. Healthcare advertising agencies have:

  • Experience creating campaigns like these
  • The right creative talent on their team
  • Lots of examples of successful campaigns
  • Information about metrics of high-performing campaigns

#4: Choose your channels

Channel selection is crucial to creating a successful health care advertisement. Think back to the Five P’s of Advertising: Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People.

To select the right channel, answer the following questions:

  • What products (or services) are you advertising?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where do they consume content? Online? Social media? YouTube? Email?

#5: Execute and measure results

Finally – you’ve created your ads and launched them into the world.

Now it’s time to measure results.

Think back to your advertising goals…what did you want to accomplish? Did you want to…

  • Get more leads? Measure how many new leads come in each month
  • Grow brand awareness? Ask every patient how they heard about you.
  • Get more referrals? Track where new referrals came from.

Knowing your goals will inform how you measure them – so be sure to keep track.

So that’s a bit about how to be successful with healthcare advertising. But what about the strategies and techniques top-performing practices use to get more patients?

Below, we’ll show you the 5 secrets to success in healthcare advertising in 2020.

5 secrets to success in healthcare advertising in 2020

Many doctors are mystified by healthcare advertising. They think it’s too hard to get results, or that patients won’t engage.

And maybe that’s true of most advertising campaigns. But if you want to create a successful healthcare advertising campaign, you need to know these five important secrets:

Secret #1: Be everywhere – but don’t spend money everywhere

It’s a common myth that you need to pay for ad spend every channel you have a presence on.

Yes, you should devote budget to some channels – such as Pay Per Click advertising – but for others, you can get by on free traffic alone.

You can easily score free traffic on channels like:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing

So save your ad spend for the channels that really need it – go for free everywhere else.

Secret #2: Set SMART goals

Any successful advertising effort should begin with goals.

But are your goals SMART?

SMART marketing goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timed

SMART Marketing Goals
If you want to succeed with healthcare advertising, you need to set SMART goals

Secret #3: Put patient experience at the forefront

Many people in the healthcare industry think that, “if we build it, they will come.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t true.

To attract patients to your practice, you must think adopt a patient’s perspective. Consider every potential “touch point” a patient could have with your brand:

  • When patients see your ad, will they “get it”?
  • When a patient gets an email from you, how will they respond?
  • Will your advertising create a positive image for your practice?

A great way to make your advertising better is to interview your patients. Patients’ opinions and perspectives are vital information you can use to make your advertising better.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Want to improve your healthcare advertising? Interview your patients. Their opinions and perspectives are vital information you can use to improve your message.” quote=”Want to improve your healthcare advertising? Interview your patients. Their opinions and perspectives are vital information you can use to improve your message.”]

Secret #4: Optimize your landing pages

Regardless of which channel you choose, a high-performing landing page is a must. Many doctors make the mistake of not paying attention to the post-click website experience.

  • When a patient clicks on an ad or does a Google search, what will they see?
  • Are you telling a cohesive story that answers their questions and solves their needs?
  • Are you sending patients to your homepage, where they aren’t likely to convert?

Secret #5: Measure success the right way

For many doctors, the temptation to focus on “vanity metrics” – things like impressions, clicks, and website traffic – is strong:

While this information is useful to some extent, there are more important things to focus on.

After all, what good is website traffic if it doesn’t lead to any new patients?

You should be focusing on:

  • New patient leads
  • New referrals
  • New patient reviews

If you want to be successful in healthcare advertising, don’t focus on everything. Focus on the right things.

What channels should doctors advertise on in 2020?

Healthcare is a competitive industry, but there are still opportunities for doctors to grow their practices.

When selecting channels, there are some trends doctors should pay attention to:

  • Google still dominates. The most powerful digital platform to advertise your practice on is still Google Adwords.
  • Facebook is getting more expensive. Facebook advertising has gotten popular in recent years, so it’s getting more expensive.
  • Because of COVID-19, many advertisers are fleeing the market. This means clicks are getting cheaper.
  • Remarketing can be a great technique to build brand awareness and recapture missed opportunities.
  • Don’t forget about TV and YouTube – with more people staying at home, consumption is up big-time. This represents a great opportunity for healthcare providers to reach new patients.


Healthcare advertising doesn’t have to be mystifying. It doesn’t have to be hard. And you don’t have to spend your days struggling to acquire

By creating a smart, targeted, patient-centric healthcare advertising campaign, you should be able to:

  • Attract more patients to your practice
  • Increase revenue each and every month
  • Put your practice growth on autopilot

Struggling to Grow Your Practice?

Whether you’re a multi-location practice or an independent physician, our healthcare marketing experts and strategies provide the tools you need to grow your practice.

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