Paid Advertising Options for Medical Practice Marketing
The third post in our series on medical practice marketing focuses on advertising using both traditional and online channels. Online advertising has made huge strides in recent years, due mainly to its targeting abilities, which give good results for the cost. However, as this post will show, there’s value in using a mix of paid advertising options.
Online: Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM differs from search engine optimization (SEO) in that it is a form of paid advertising that ensures your practice’s website appears when users search for it. Google’s AdWords program, for example, offers a way to do that by creating sponsored ads that come up in the search results, for which you pay only each time a user clicks on it. No more hit-and-miss advertising that costs you the same regardless of the results; you only pay for the successful ads. SEM requires extensive understanding of SEO and delivers best results when left to an accredited service provider.
Online: Social Media Advertising
Ads and sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted profiles and tweets on Twitter deliver surprisingly good social media results for very low costs. Similar to sponsored search, you can choose to pay for impressions or for conversions. The latter cost more money, but are more likely to give you results such as an increased number of Likes or Follows.
This type of advertising is excellent for building up a user base to engage with, and offers the aforementioned sophisticated targeting options. However, unless you have patients signing up directly from the ads you won’t know how many ultimately book appointments, so you won’t know how well it’s working for you unless you ask your patients for feedback.
Combined: Classifieds and Directories
The one true type of combination advertising for medical practice marketing comes in the form of classified and directory ads. Companies such as the Yellow Pages offer both print and online ads, while directories such as WebMD/Raleigh, NC are online only. Classified ads are typically offered by publications such as local community newspapers, and medical practices can choose whether they want online or print listings - or a package deal that gives them both. This kind of advertising is relatively low-cost, mainly because it doesn’t offer very high levels of customization or opportunity for individuality.
Offline: Promotional Materials
Traditional promo materials such as print brochures, banners and display advertising in the local press and glossy magazines are still widely used, particularly for medical practice marketing targeted at the older demographics. Although the baby boomers are learning social media in leaps and bounds, their parents still prefer to hold paper in their hand and read it. And for nurturing your existing patients, there’s little to beat good old branded promotional gifts!
Offline: Radio and TV
While national television is generally a high-priced form of communication for small practices, it seems to work well for the larger concerns like San Diego’s Moore Cancer Center. Radio, however, is much more regional in nature and therefore costs less than television spots do, while reaching a localized target market more directly. Radio advertising can service a two-fold purpose in your medical practice marketing, too; by taking paid airtime, you may be able to swing the deal to appear on various radio shows as a medical guest expert, which will build up your public reputation swimmingly.
Outdoor advertising (also called out-of-home) mostly relates to options such as:
- Branded trailers
- Street furniture including trash bins, bus shelters and park benches
- Bus or taxi ads
- Subway signage
The ads can be digital, screened or printed on vinyl or other suitable material. These are often very useful as a component of your medical practice marketing plan, and serve the purpose of bringing your name and specialty to the attention of residents in your area.
It’s clear from this that there’s a place for both new and traditional media in your marketing strategy, so choose your methods based on the prospective patients you want to reach and the budget you have available. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your medical practice marketing, or download our white paper for more tips.