Online Advertising for Surgical Practices

I have known many surgeons over the years that have tried their hand at internet advertising. Lacking a budget like that of Budweiser or Target, medical practices often fail to realize a good return on investment for online advertising. This is due in large part to lack of targeting.

In general, one of the only ways medical practices have to target their advertisements is by region. That is to say, Smith Orthopedics in Kalamazoo is  likely to place a banner ad on the website for the Kalamazoo Gazette. This is not an all-around bad idea - after all, the ad will serve to generate community awareness of the practice.

However, this plan fails to effectively target potential patients based on distinguishing characteristics. Let's assume that Smith Orthopedics wants to boost their degenerative spine cases. Upon closer examination of the Kalamazoo Gazette website, we learn that only 20% of the site visitors are over the age of 55. Therefore, only 20% of the online advertising spend went toward the practice's desired audience. Smith Orthopedics' goals would have been better served by selecting their ad placement more carefully, and targeting a site that is more frequently visited by the over-55 crowd.

Audience Information from the Kalamazoo Gazette's Media Kit

Below are 4 things to consider when planning your practice's online advertising campaign.

1. Know your target audience, and choose sites that appeal to that audience. If yours is a Sports Medicine practice, consider advertising on a local or regional website that appeals to active individuals. Or consider leveraging the advertising opportunities on SpineUniverse.com. Their new Patient Connect program can put your practice in front potential spine patients targeted by region.

2. Have a call to action. Is the goal of your ad to encourage patients to call and schedule an appointment, or do you want to drive traffic to your website? If it's the latter, ensure that your practice has a website that is easy to navigate and is rich in content.

3. When designing your ad, include a picture of a person. All 13 winners of the 2010 Web Marketing Association’s Internet Advertising Competition Awards feature people prominently. For an even more compelling advertisement, showcase an actual patient.

Remember that online advertising is just one piece of a robust referral development plan. We'd love to help you craft yours! Contact us to learn more.