The Digitalis Blog: Cutting Edge Healthcare Marketing

How to Choose the Right Type of Ads to Reach New Patients [2021 Guide]

attract new patients with ads

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With a brand new location, state-of-the-art equipment, and expert professionals in your practice, the next goal of your healthcare business should be to get new patients. 

Advertising is simply the best solution to drive more awareness and revenue to your practice. 

However, with the different traditional and online marketing strategies nowadays, how would you know which type of ad works best to reach your potential patients? 

Here’s the truth: traditional advertising methods still work, but it’s time to consider the value your practice can get from digital marketing. 

Whether it’s in print, social media, search engines, or in video-hosting websites, here’s a 3-step guide to choosing the most suitable advertising platform for your medical business!

choosing the right type of ads

3 Steps to Choosing The Right Type of Ads 

Not all ads are created equal. Each type of advertisement that you run on the internet or in traditional media will have its unique purpose. 

Some ads fit best for targeting patients that are looking for solutions to health problems. 

Some ads apply soft selling techniques and focus more on establishing a connection with potential patients. 

In hindsight, you may opt for a simple, straight-forward advertisement with a clear goal of promoting your products and services. 

These considerations should be taken into account when deciding what type of advertising strategy your practice should go for. 

To simplify the process, we’ve designed this easy 3-step plan to guide you through a successful marketing campaign for your practice

where do patients spend their time

Step 1: Find Out Where Your Patients Spend Their Time

Do you know who your target patients are? Are you aware of their location, age group, gender, behavior? 

Defining your target market is an important task before committing to a type of advertising campaign for your practice. 

It will be the foundation for your marketing strategy — from branding to the promotion of your products and services.  

Especially in the healthcare industry, the more specifically you define the target audience, the greater your ability to inspire a positive response.

How To Define Your Target Patients 

Think about who your ideal patients are and write down their distinct characteristics. To make a clear determination of your target market, here are 3 things to help you out: 

  1. Location
  • Where are your target patients located? 
  • How many miles away are they from your clinic’s location? 
  • Do you want to advertise to neighboring cities/areas? 
  1. Demographics
  • What’s the age range of your new patients? 
  • Are you focused on a specific gender (eg. Women for OB-GYNs)? 
  • Do you want to cater specifically to a group of people (eg. busy working class)?
  1. Behavior
  • What are the common problems of your patients? 
  • What are their general personalities, behaviors, and lifestyles?
  • Where are they spending most of their time? (Eg. social media, Netflix, YouTube, listening to podcasts, LinkedIn, etc.)

Once you figure out who your target patients are and where they’re spending the most of their time in, you’ll have more of an idea what kind of advertisements they will likely engage with. 

patient emotional connection

Step 2: Reach them In a Way That Matters to Them

Do you know what things matter to your patients the most? Are you connecting to your audience on an emotional level? 

Have you ever seen an ad that tugged at your heartstrings? These are memorable to you for one reason: they’re emotional. 

Powerful, moving ads are more likely to be successful because of the impact they create on 

the audience.  

Connecting to your patients on an emotional level establishes a relationship between them and your healthcare brand.

If you want your new patients to stay loyal to your practice, you have to make them care first. The goal of your ad should be to tap into your audience’s emotions to make sales. 

Of course, not all ads can elicit the emotions you’re trying to achieve. It’s best to experiment first with different advertising mediums to know which one can connect with your audient the most. 

What to Do In The Ads:

Advertisers use the six universal emotions (happiness, anger, disgust, sadness, fear, and surprise) in their marketing campaigns. 

To make your ads successful, incorporate these emotions through the following: 

  1. Educate – Make it visual

Source: https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog 

Misinformation, especially related to health, is rampant nowadays. Your ads for new patients can be the visual vehicle of information and education. 

Here are some ideas: 

  • Create a video ad where you discuss your patients’ fears about certain diseases and inform them about their options to improve their health
  • Produce a promotional infographic that displays surprising health facts and how your clinic can help patients with their health problems. 
  • Delight your prospective audience with some good news on your latest treatments or new health trends. 
  1. Entertain – Make it funny

Source: https://www.hioscar.com/ny

We know promoting health services and technologies can come off boring and too serious.

However, lighter matters, like promoting a sale in your clinic, can be done in an entertaining way. Here are a few examples: 

  • Producing a promotional song that plays during an ad
  • Showcasing relatable, anecdotal scenarios in a video advertisement
  • Using bright colors, funny imagery, or a catchy tagline in a poster 
  1. Inspire

Source: Carilion Clinic of Virginia’s Roanoke Valley interactive way to raise awareness of breast cancer

There’s no doubt many Americans take their health for granted. In fact, about 36% of American adults haven’t gone to a doctor within the past year. 

That should be the primary objective of your healthcare ad — to inspire more people to take action and improve on their health. 

Here are a few ways to inspire and attract new patients in an ad: 

  • Run a sales campaign that would promote your support for a cause 
  • Share a success story to promote your effective products/services 
  • Give new patients free tips for better health
keep things simple

Step 3: Keep Things Simple 

How do you grab your target patient’s attention? Do you know which of your ads works and which ones perform poorly? 

We live in a fast-paced world and many people don’t have the luxury of time to engage with your ad. 

Here’s the secret: keep your ad short, sweet, and simple. In healthcare marketing, simple ads are more effective at capturing attention than complex ones.

Experiment with different basic types of ads until you find something that works. Then, if you see that it converts well, focus and expand on it.

Just because your ad is simple, doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it. Here are tips to help keep your ads simple yet engaging:

  • Stay true to your branding. Make your ads recognizable by keeping the same color scheme, typography, and the voice of your brand. 
  • Make sure your healthcare logo is visible. Even if your ads are simple, your target audience should recognize your practice immediately because of your logo. 
  • Curate with a purpose. Your ad should be simple but significant. 
where to advertise healthcare

So, Where Should You Advertise? 

With digital marketing on the rise, there are so many advertising opportunities for your practice to choose from! 

Take a look at these popular advertising practices!

Search Results Advertising 

Search ads include any paid ad spend to show advertisements online through a search engine, like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. 

These advertisements are promoted on top of the search results whenever someone looks up certain keywords you’ve associated with your campaign.

Pros of Search Advertising 

  • Easy way to target audience who have a high intent 
  • You can make it location and demographic-specific

Cons of Search Advertising 

  • Requires a hefty budget when targeting a popular keyword
  • Waste of ad spending if too targeted

Best For: 

  • Healthcare businesses that have a bigger budget and long-term marketing goals 
  • Your practice is prepared for more phone calls 
  • Your practice doesn’t rely only on Google Ads to get new patients 

Display Advertising

A type of online advertising that includes banner ads and rich media, display advertising uses graphics, audio, or video to advertise your healthcare practice.

Unlike search engine ads, display ads are shown on a webpage and not on the search results page. 

Pros of Display Advertising 

  • The best medium for hard-selling messages online 
  • Ability to personalize ads by targeting specific demographics or through paid data analytics 

Cons of Display Advertising 

  • Limited space for content and design

Best For: 

  • Ideal for promoting offers, like patient specials, events, or as part of a digital omnichannel marketing campaign

Social Media Advertising

Advertising on social media can either be done through paid social ads or through sponsored content. 

When you pay for social media ads, it appears directly on the social media channel. Social media sponsored content consists of an article or video designed to engage and inform a target audience. 

Pros of Social Media Advertising 

  • Inexpensive
  • Easily target your audience with a specific demographic 
  • Easy to execute and troubleshoot 

Cons of Social Media Advertising 

  • High cost per lead if too targeted
  • Not most effective use of ad spend if too broad (vs. native and content marketing)

Best For: 

  • Ideal channel for event marketing, as well as in lead generation when in support of a digital integrated omnichannel campaign.

Video Advertising

Video ads come in a variety of formats, such as 

  • In-stream video – video ad used alongside other advertising channels
  • Out-stream video – video ad that appears by itself
  • Interactive – video ad plays after an action

Pros of Video Advertising 

  • Content can be used across other social media outlets
  • Opens up the opportunity for an enhanced content marketing strategy
  • Integrates into search results through Google and Bing for ranking and search result listing
  • It’s a rising digital marketing and SEO trend

Cons of Video Advertising 

  • Difficult to attribute conversion from this outlet alone
  • Requires a big investment to produce high-quality content

Best For: 

  • This channel for hosting and advertising is ideal for industries in which there are many complexities, like healthcare. 
  • Works best for in-depth promotion of products and services. 

Native Advertising 

Native advertising is the vehicle used to promote sponsored content and ads within the digital experience. 

With mediums such as advertorials or press releases, this type of ad follows the natural form of the content the user consumes, which works particularly well for brands in the healthcare space.

Pros of Native Advertising 

  • Good medium to provide high-quality content, which may be necessary when explaining products and services  
  • Gives a practice more control in targeting marketing spend toward their target audience
  • An effective tool to engage the target audience

Cons of Native Advertising 

  • Soft selling 
  • Not as cost-efficient as other ad strategies

Best For: 

  • Good for selling softer message like improving patient’s health or to deliver your brand’s messaging and alignment on a broad scale 

Print Advertising 

Print advertising includes ads found in newspapers, magazines, and bulk direct mail options. 

You can cover a lot of ground with broad messaging in these ad mediums, as they still deliver to nearly every household in a geographic area, demographic, or field of expertise. 

Pros of Print Advertising 

  • Good medium to provide high-quality content, which may be necessary when explaining products and services  
  • Gives a practice more control in targeting marketing spend toward their target audience
  • An effective tool to engage the target audience

Cons of Print Advertising 

  • Soft selling 
  • Not as cost-efficient as other ad strategies

Best For: 

  • Best used for targeting specific demographics or for messaging crafted with the conversion in mind, such as event attendance or contacting a specific physician or specialist to schedule an appointment or a designated company contact.
attract new patients

Attract New Patients With The Right Type of Ad! 

Now that you know where and how to advertise your practice, it’s easier to determine which type of ad you want your practice to go for. 

To make the most out of your marketing budget, it’s best to consult an experienced healthcare marketing expert.

Leave it in the hands of digital marketing pros that can curate ad campaigns specifically designed to attract new patients to your practice. 

Still unsure about what kind of ad to get for your healthcare business? We can help you!
Leave a comment or question below! 

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Provider reviews
"I trust Digitalis to do their work like my patients trust me to do mine.
We are seeing a lot of new patients!"
Dr. Melissa Austin, MD - Founder, North Valley Women's Care
Dr. Melissa Austin, MD
Founder, North Valley Women's Care

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