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6 Healthcare Advertising Mistakes: Pitfalls Your Hospital Should Avoid

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Online advertising is a powerful strategy for hospitals that are trying to build their brand awareness and attract more patients—if it’s done right.

Unfortunately, many healthcare advertisers spend a lot of time and money on their ads only to get poor results, and it’s all because of easily avoidable errors they’re making along the way. Advertising isn’t cheap, so it should be done in a way that delivers the best return on investment (ROI) for your hospital.

Check out our list of the top 6 advertising mistakes to avoid in your next digital campaign.

Using Irrelevant Messaging

One of the worst mistakes you can make is failing to tailor your ads’ messaging to your target audiences. When you don’t take this important step, you risk having overly generic ads that don’t stand out or that attract the wrong types of online users.

Think about what your ideal patient is looking for and how your services meet that need. Let’s say you are running paid search ads for your pediatrics department and you’re targeting busy parents. If you offer flexible scheduling, such as same-day or after-hours appointments, you should include that in your ad text.

With paid search ads, you should almost always include:

  • Your most important messaging in the headline
  • Keywords from your ad groups
  • A call to action that tells the customer what you want them to do

Keep your audience in mind for image ads as well. If your target population is 70% Hispanic, you may want your display ads to show Hispanic families so they better appeal to this demographic. Or, if you're targeting clients for Medicare, you may want use images of older patients.

Leading a Potential Patient to an Unrelated Landing Page

Nothing disrupts the user experience like clicking on an ad and ending up on a completely unrelated page. It’s important to ensure that the potential patient lands on the most relevant page of your website so they find the information they’re looking for. For example, if the user clicks on an ad for your hospital’s orthopedic services, they should be taken to an orthopedics-focused page—not your hospital’s homepage or a page about all of your healthcare services.

The more relevant your landing page is, the more engaged your visitor will be—increasing the chance that they will fill out a form or call your hospital.

Creating a Poor Experience for Mobile Users

Before you invest in your online advertising budget, it’s vital you have a website that is responsive—meaning it automatically adjusts the site’s layout and spacing for the size of the screen it’s being shown on. Responsive design allows the user experience to flow seamlessly from desktop to mobile. With advances in technology, more users are using their mobile devices to access websites and landing pages. If the user has a poor mobile experience on your site after clicking on an advertisement, they will most likely leave—which means you’re throwing away your ad dollars.

Confusing Metrics with Results

While metrics are important for measuring things like impressions and clicks, they should not be confused with the results that matter most—the goals of your campaign. Your goal might be to generate more calls or appointment requests, get more people to sign up for a newsletter, or even just a “like” on your Facebook page. In the end, these will be the results that tell the true story of your ad campaigns’ success and ROI. Use a wide variety of metrics to evaluate your campaign, but remember that they are only part of the picture.

Viewing Marketing as an Expense Rather Than an Investment

When people think of online advertising, they tend to think of the money they are going to be spending. It’s an understandable thought process. However, you should recognize that your ad campaign is an investment. A successfully executed campaign should produce a healthy ROI, leaving you with a profit that can be poured back into your organization—or used to further invest in your marketing budget, which can lead to even greater returns. Don’t be afraid to invest!

Attempting to Run Your Campaign on Your Own

While you may be capable of handling certain aspects of your ad campaign without help, it’s best to work with an experienced professional who can help ensure your ads and landing pages are designed and optimized to convert. A professional can help you set up your campaigns using the best messaging, targeting, and user experience, which can help you attract more patients.

Our healthcare advertising experts would love to assist you with your digital campaigns. In addition to being a Google Premier Partner and a Bing Elite Partner, we were also recognized last year as the Google Customer Satisfaction Champion for North America. Let us leverage our advanced technology and skilled professionals to help your hospitals get more out of your advertising!

Contact Scorpion to learn more.


About the Author
Clay Adams is a Senior PPC Strategist at Scorpion who has more than 8 years of experience managing paid advertising campaigns. He leverages his knowledge and experience to help healthcare providers maximize their visibility on the web and grow their organizations.

Clay is both Google- and Bing-certified. When he isn’t working, he enjoys watching college football (Go LSU!), trying new restaurants and foods, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.