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How Healthcare Specialties are Marketed Differently

by | Jun 3, 2020

Healthcare specialties, or “service lines,” feature distinct qualities that patients desire in each. For an emergency room, speed is paramount. For maternity wards, comfort, care, and safety often matter most. Marketing for each specialty should reflect these differences in patient desires and expectations.

Here are a few examples of how different healthcare service lines are marketed differently, and why it’s important to manage them as separate entities with unique goals.

Orthopedics and Elective Surgery

Orthopedics marketing is unique because it is often an elective surgery. But, even when it’s not, patients usually have some choice in which surgeon to use. Because they have time to decide, it usually means coming up with a lot of questions.

Patients want to be sure a surgeon is aware of exactly what he or she wants to be able to do physically after recovering from the surgery. Sometimes that means jogging, sometimes it means daily life activities like gardening, reaching items on the top shelf, or taking a walk with the grandkids. Patients want recovery appointments set up in advance and as much as paperwork, scheduling and care done in-house as possible. They want to have the confidence that their surgical team is going to provide them with the best outcome and allow them to regain their normal life as much as possible. Most importantly, patients want face-to-face time with surgeons, and will want their specific questions answered directly.

To assure patients feel they are getting the care and attention they deserve, orthopedics marketing should emphasize personalized care and long-term partnerships with patients that follow them from pre-op to post-op and through recovery. Digital and social media ads should be targeted for specific procedures, e.g. ACL reconstruction, shoulder pain, or total joint, so patients see that a clinic specializes in exactly what they need. Showcasing partnerships with schools and local recreational leagues can also help boost visibility and draw in patients.

OB/GYN and Pediatrics

Marketing for OB/GYNs and pediatrics is about trust and comfort. Expecting mothers and fathers look for comfortable, caring, safe facilities when deciding where to give birth. Everyone assumes all hospitals have maternity wards, but the ones who go the extra mile to make their birthing centers a more personalized experience will find a lot of success marketing those benefits. Bigger rooms, individualized care, and areas for families to congregate are all benefits that can be marketed appropriately.

New mothers and fathers have similar desires when looking for a pediatrician. Marketing pediatric care means building a long-term relationship in a facility that is welcoming to children, as opposed to being overly sterile like a common doctor’s office.

Mental Health and Counseling

Issues related to mental health are often deeply private to the individuals experiencing them. Therefore, the marketing for mental health services should reflect that privacy. Online ads make more sense than signage in busy environments such as malls where potential patients may be hesitant to snap a picture of the clinic phone number or jot down an email address.

Marketing mental health services also means having a deep understanding of the words people use to describe the ways they feel and how they search for help. Understanding these common descriptors can make targeting potential patients with Google ads more efficient.

Marketing materials for mental health services should be comforting, professional, and should never stigmatize any aspect of mental health issues. They should emphasize how common mental health issues are and convey the availability of solutions, services, and professionals to help in a variety of ways.

Emergency Rooms

Emergency room marketing operates in a different way than most modern targeted advertising. While it is important to advertise that a hospital is a full-service emergency solution, emergency medicine marketing success is dependent on the ability to be the top of mind choice for people in crisis situations. Emergency medicine marketing should inform the public that a health system is capable of handling any type of emergency medical situation, but it should focus its energies on making sure everyone is aware that they exist and are the best and most reliable choice.

To become the first choice, emergency rooms commonly use billboards to market their services. Billboards include both physical signage, and online digital billboard style ads. Digital billboard style ads are ads optimized to maximize impressions, as opposed to clicks, like ads selling a product would.

Billboards, online and in person, keep a brand on the top of mind for people once they actually need it. So, when an emergency happens, patients are more likely to go to the hospital they hear about and see most often, as opposed to another option that may be closer or bigger.

The Right Marketing for Your Healthcare Practice

Knowing how to separately manage and budget marketing strategies for different service lines isn’t easy. If your hospital, clinic, or practice needs help developing healthcare marketing strategies or your services, don’t hesitate to reach out to Nichols Healthcare. Send me an email anytime at MKlein@WeTellYourStory.com to start a conversation now.

Matt Klein - VP Account Services
Matt Klein believes that the business of healthcare is personal — because healthcare is personal. It’s a subject he’s very passionate about. Throughout his career, he’s worked with a wide variety of clients across the spectrum of healthcare, including large national companies such as Advocate Health Care and Pfizer, regional powerhouses including St. Vincent’s Health System and IU Health, and smaller, specialized facilities such as Advocate Eureka, Orthopedic Sports Enhancement Center, and Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology.

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