New patient acquisition has always been a top priority of healthcare advertising campaigns. In recent years, though, the perceived value of healthcare advertising has expanded beyond this narrow scope to encompass other goals achievable through branded campaigns—and this broader utility has raised the stakes for healthcare organizations eager to generate new revenue from their digital advertising.

Many of today’s healthcare advertising leaders recognize the value of using advertising to strengthen brand reputations and authority, including among existing patients. At the same time, advertising has emerged as a powerful tool to address care gaps that may cause many existing patients to miss out on preventative care and other acute healthcare services—resulting in worse care and outcomes for patients, and a diminished patient experience.

Whether your organization is targeting new patient acquisition, local brand awareness, patient care gaps or other advertising goals, digital ad strategies can help achieve these desired outcomes through campaign performance that supports your business objectives. Here are five advertising strategies to improve engagement with patients in your local area.

1. Craft Ad Messaging That Builds Credibility and Trust

Patients are looking for healthcare providers they can trust with major health decisions and care. In many cases, healthcare providers are the most trusted advisors patients turn to when faced with important medical decisions. For new as well as existing patients, reinforcing your expertise, compassion and trustworthiness is an investment in your local brand reputation.

Whether you’re creating TV ads, display advertising, social media content or other digital ads, your messaging should reflect and reinforce your commitment to delivering exceptional care. Consider messaging that takes a patient-first approach: instead of emphasizing your own credentials, services, or honors, consider leading with messaging that aims to connect with audiences on an emotional level.

Credentials and other accolades are important, but they may be more appropriate for down-funnel interactions after prospective patients have already made an emotional connection and are seeking more information.

2. Leverage Long-Tail Keywords to Reach Niche Patient Audiences

Long-tail keywords are more than a potentially cost-effective targeting tool for your SEO strategy. For healthcare organizations focused on increasing patient numbers for specialized care services, these long-tail keywords can be invaluable in reaching a niche audience as those individuals are searching for healthcare services or other information about their healthcare needs.

These long-tail keywords can be particularly useful in helping healthcare companies use advertising to address patient care gaps. And with their lower cost and increased relevance, you may see an overall boost in search advertising ROI, too.

3. Use Paid Search and Geotargeted Ads to Draw Patients From Your Competition

As with many other types of businesses, healthcare companies are often in fierce competition with other providers in their service area.

Paid search advertising targeted to your competitors’ brand name can help your brand leapfrog those competitors in search results, generating referral traffic for prospective patients who might not have known about, or first considered, your organization. This strategy can be particularly useful for healthcare companies looking to better establish themselves in a local market, but it can also help established healthcare leaders preserve their market share and stunt the growth potential of smaller rivals.

Meanwhile, geotargeted ads can help attract patients who are unsatisfied with their care at their current healthcare provider. In some cases, geotargeted ads can also be used to promote specialty care services that other local healthcare companies may not offer.

4. Demonstrate Expertise Through Email Newsletters, Blog Posts, and Videos

Demonstrated thought leadership can further reinforce your trust and credibility among new and existing patients. Healthcare guidance and informative content—such as information about vaccines, health tips to avoid getting sick, or basic information about the symptoms of a certain health condition—can provide a valuable public service to your online followers while also strengthening your company’s visibility and reputation

Seek out opportunities to publish and promote this content through your owned media channels, as well as paid promotions of high-performing content. A video published to social media, for example, may be a good candidate for paid promotion if its organic performance soars above the typical metrics of other branded posts. A digital advertising partner can help you manage this content and repurpose it over time to increase its ROI while supporting your advertising goals.

5. Offer Clear Next Steps Across Every Ad Channel

If patients are searching for help regarding their health issues, healthcare companies should make it easy to get connected to the services they’re looking for. A clear call-to-action will offer patients a sense of comfort and security by making it easy to start the process of getting connected to a healthcare provider.

This call-to-action should be specific to each channel, and should represent the easiest action possible. Display ads may consider click-to-call functionality or referrals to a simple fillable form. TV ads should highlight a phone number to call or a short web address to visit, while digital videos delivered online can feature clickable ads to refer directly to your company’s website. Pay attention to the CTAs that deliver the best results over time, and look for opportunities to copy those CTAs across more of your ad campaigns.

Don’t overlook opportunities to drive revenue and other growth goals through your digital advertising strategy. A trusted digital advertising partner can help you develop, launch and optimize a multi-channel ad strategy that incorporates best practices for healthcare advertising while also keeping campaigns aligned with business goals.

Find out how we can help—contact us today to learn more.