In general, people are turning to the web in droves to seek information and answers to their questions. But health-related searches seem particularly impacted by this digital push.

A recent study states that 72% of internet users said they looked online for health information within the past year.

That was a few years ago – imagine how many more people rely on the web for their health answers today?

Many marketers will rightfully tell you that content marketing is the key to attracting these searchers to your hospital. But the challenge for a lot of medical practices – particularly hospitals with more than one location – is that they simply lack the time and resources to implement this type of marketing.

How can you and your staff be expected to blog and be social on top of your existing duties? Does your lack of time mean you have to lose out on all that digital marketing has to offer your hospital?

Not at all.

Implementing a paid advertising strategy (aka Pay Per Click) can help you gain more patients, referrals, and recognition for your hospital in a time-saving, cost-effective way.

Invest your time and money wisely

market-research-dataAs with any marketing tactic, you want to make sure your dollars and resources are being invested in the channels and strategies that reap the most rewards.

Fortunately, paid search ads offer an impressive amount of data and history to help you craft your strategy and continuously refine it.

When it comes to marketing for your hospital, you want to focus on services and locations.

Services are an important focus for your paid ads because Google has discovered that 45% of searchers are looking for specific procedure information (such as chemotherapy) or department information (such as pediatrics).

By crafting ads that highlight your services, you’re not only honing in on a narrow set of keywords your prospects are using, but you’re also providing the type of information that makes them want to click to learn more.

Location is also key for your paid ads because, according to a Healthcare Success survey, consumers are more likely to choose a hospital based on convenient location (58%) than the amount of copay (45%) or even outcomes data (30%).

In other words, location is the driving force behind the decision process of your prospects.

But as a multi-location hospital, you likely already know this. What you may not know is how powerful paid ads can be in targeting your prospects on a hyperlocal focus.

Getting down to a hyper-local focus – look to Facebook

Google has recently announced that healthcare marketers will no longer be able to use remarketing (or, for the most part, display ads) in their marketing strategies.

This makes it a bit more difficult for hospitals to reach folks who have already visited their website in the past; but that doesn’t mean you can’t find creative ways to target the prospects who are most likely to be your patients.

facebook-adsFacebook ads, in particularly, give your locations tremendous access to hyperlocal prospects based on very specific demographics and actions.

For example, you could target your paid Facebook ads to prospects within a defined radius around your hospital who recently followed a cancer support group, or who clicked on a post about popular cosmetic procedures.

And there is no shortage of the type of targeting you can do.

Of course, with this hyperlocal approach comes the need to personalize your messaging based on the types of audiences you’re reaching.

Get to know your audience on a location by location basis

At the crux of any marketing strategy is the ability to connect with your audience. You can only do that by knowing who they are, what their pain points are, and what they’re searching for.

As a multi-location hospital, this can get a little tricky. Even if your locations are a mere few miles apart, each neighborhood, city, and community comes with its own set of demographics and influences.

That means you need to create patient personas for each of your locations, and then craft paid ads that speak directly to these personas.

The ad you craft for a single mother in an upscale suburb looking for pediatric care will likely not be identical to the ad copy you write for a single mother in an urban community conducting that same search.

That’s where patient personas come in handy: to help you differentiate your audiences and put a face to the people you’re looking to target.

As you craft your patient personas, remember that the language you use is key toward the success of your ad performance.

Complex, highly technical terms may be appropriate to use in your workplace, but they’re not the terms that your target audiences use during their online searches. When building your patient personas, tap into the language your target audiences use on a daily basis.

Surveys, market research, analytics, and on-the-street interviews will help you take the pulse of your true community.

Remember, as important as it is to maintain a consistent voice across each of your locations, it’s equally as important that each location has its own identity, reflective of the community it calls home.

website-contact-usMake it easy to be contacted

No matter what type of ad campaign you create, make sure your contact information is easily available for your prospects to get in touch. You can do this by:

  • Setting up call extensions, location extensions, and sitelink extensions for all of your campaigns. These extensions are easy to set up and will extend the real estate of your ad. Not only that, but they’ve been known to improve ad rank on SERPs.
  • Adding your contact information to every landing page. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you have a landing page, then it must have your contact information. Period.

With so many healthcare searches being performed at this moment, you can benefit from paid ads

Organic marketing tactics have a place in your digital strategy, but you can’t expect a simple blog post to carry the weight of your entire campaign.

With healthcare being one of the most competitive sectors on the web, eventually you’re going to have to pay to play.

By investing your time and money wisely, looking into hyperlocal targeting, and building personas and targeted ads for each of your locations, you can be certain that the dollars you invest in your paid search ads will reap tremendous rewards for your organization.