Healthcare marketing can seem like a monumental task. There are plenty of marketing-platform restrictions for healthcare marketing by advertising networks, in addition to compliance questions between HIPAA and Stark laws. Layer onto that, your audiences are more educated and can be resistant to marketing messages than ever before. So how can we provide value without being seemingly pushy to a savvy audience?
Native advertising can be a fantastic solution to work within compliance and platform restrictions while promoting healthcare services in a very organic way.
Native advertising, simply put, is paid or sponsored content placed in-line with similar, relatable content. While it sounds complicated, it’s more of a fundamental shift in how you approach marketing. Luckily for you, there’s a vast array of healthcare topics and locations where people want to improve their qualities of life. Here are a few ways you can incorporate native advertising into your healthcare brand.
“Buy Now” and “See us Today” are actions for which your audience may not be ready. Perhaps they don’t know they have a health problem or are aware of a problem but aren’t quite ready to tackle it yet. By promoting information and discovery through content, you relieve the stress of asking for immediate action. This allows your audiences to explore you as an authoritative medical professional in the healthcare field and determine how they want to approach you.
Let’s say you’ve written an excellent blog as a dietician on five foods that help prevent diabetes. It would make sense to create an ad to showcase your content on a cooking website focused on healthy meals for diabetics. In doing so, your content will look similar and relevant to what viewers are already interested in and you have a much higher chance to engage them.
Sometimes, you can work with a publisher to create an ad that looks and reads similar to a magazine or newspaper publication. This is a great opportunity to inform and educate a reader rather than placing a standard ad. Instead of buying ad space that promotes your clinic hours, you can educate your audience on a service that is related to other content in the publication and simply mention how to get in touch with you for further questions.
Media outlets are always on the lookout to generate content, build viewership and offer something unique in the marketplace. Connect with local media to offer new or unique “healthcare” segments on their shows where you can provide information or advice on various health topics on a regular basis. Sometimes they’re willing to cover it for free, and other times they may request some sponsorship money to cover their costs. Regardless, this is a good native way to get the reach you need.
While there are several ways to create effective native advertising, the key here is to think more information and education than "marketing." Your long-term engagement will be much higher by providing relevant content that aligns with your potential customers where they are already consuming information. That said, native advertising is only one tool to use within a comprehensive approach to marketing your healthcare clinic. To really maximize your efforts you’ll want to understand how search, inbound marketing, remarketing and creating a frictionless path to scheduling an appointment will help bolster your clinic volumes and increase new patient visits.