businesspeople in medical marketing meeting

According to Google, one in 20 search results are healthcare-related. While many people are actively searching for healthcare advice online, determining how you should advertise your healthcare services, treatments and solutions to prospective patients can be tricky to navigate: You must carefully follow patient privacy rules and medical sensitivity best practices.

Since 2013, we’ve partnered with a leading hospital group to run over 300 digital advertising initiatives for all their healthcare specialties, ranging from maternity to oncology to bariatrics and more. This medical marketing experience has given us insight into what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to executing healthcare digital media campaigns successfully. If you’re looking for new ways to improve your own medical marketing – how to engage your own audience, drive more site traffic and gather more patient leads – here are our top three healthcare digital strategies to try when setting up your next digital campaign:

Take Patient Privacy Seriously

Get HIPAA-certified

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was enacted in 1996 and strictly governs how patient records are handled and shared in the United States. Having this certification gives those who work with you the confidence and peace of mind that you fully understand current HIPAA privacy laws and how to keep patients’ personally identifiable information (PII) safe.

At Goodway, we are all currently HIPAA-certified and are recertified every two years. This ensures we have a firm understanding of patient privacy and can diligently follow all regulations. We keep patient data secure and anonymous because we use a secure hashing process to anonymize hospital customer relationship management (CRM) data before targeting it, then delete that data when a campaign is over.

Advertise to Prospects While They Search

To not intrude on prospects’ privacy, never retarget prospects from medical webpages. You never want to appear insensitive by reminding patients of their medical condition or make them feel tracked.

To be most respectful of their privacy, let prospects conduct their own search for medical information; then, have your advertising appear at the top of search results so they can discover on their own what you have to offer.

Produce Patient-Centric Ad Creative

When it comes to your healthcare digital advertising creative, make your messaging patient-focused. Keep it upbeat and positive and focused on healthcare services and solutions. This isn’t the place to get heavy or to mention illnesses or treatments.

Determine the Right Targeting to Find Your Audience

Take Advantage of First- and Third-Party Data

Use your first-party data, the customer relationship management (CRM) data you have already gathered and own. Marketing to your own prospects who are already open to and interested in what you have to say is valuable and could just be the key to generating more patient leads.

But, what if you don’t have enough first-party data for your campaign? If you need more data to work with, you can supplement it with third-party data. Third-party lifestyle data segments can offer similar prospects to your existing patients who are just as receptive to your message.

Or, take another approach: Go after those third-party segments beyond patients that include caregivers, those who help patients day to day and who are likely to have a say in their medical decisions.

Make Site, Search and Cross-Device Targeting Work for You

Once you’ve made the most of first- and third-party data, try these targeting types:

Use site targeting to find those sites that over-index for your audience so you can get in front of the right people at the right time with your message.

Since you can’t target by a specific ailment when running a medical digital marketing campaign, use category and keyword contextual targeting to reach prospective patients effectively with your ads at the precise moment they are reviewing relevant content online. Don’t forget to conduct daily keyword-level performance reviews and adjust the keywords as needed across all the channels of your healthcare campaign so all channels can benefit from your keyword optimizations.

Or, try cross-device targeting and reach patients on all their devices to reinforce your message, no matter what digital device they may be on – their desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.

Develop a Multi-Channel Digital Media Campaign

At Goodway, we followed a multi-channel digital strategy for our hospital client’s oncology medical specialty area. When we did, their site traffic saw a 196% increase and their display activities (defined as visits to their custom landing page, which you could only get to through search or clicking on an ad) saw a 252% increase throughout the campaign, which led to high-quality patient leads. Using search and display digital channels together helped us surpass our patient lead goal for our campaign by 114%, from two leads a month to an average of 4.3 leads a month.

It can be tough to know where to start and how to go about healthcare digital advertising, especially when patient-privacy rules are daunting and healthcare advertising best practices seem to keep changing all the time.

If you need guidance, a helping hand or want access to the latest available digital tools and healthcare advertising strategies, connect with us. We can show you how to make the most of your medical marketing: how to achieve highly targeted healthcare campaigns that will appeal to and engage your prospects and turn them into patient leads.