9 Preventive Healthcare Marketing Strategies

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Marketing the importance of preventive healthcare services is challenging, costly, and often conflicts with consumer behavior.

Despite these hurdles, the urgency to promote prevention has never been greater.


The growing number of people diagnosed with preventable chronic diseases each year is staggering (think cancer cases resulting from smoking and diabetes and heart disease cases resulting from obesity).

Though there is still a long way to go, more healthcare consumers recognize the inherent value of preventive healthcare services like annual physicals, immunizations (despite growing politicization and misinformation), mammograms, colonoscopies, prenatal care, skin cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, and other health screenings.

Not only do these services detect potential health conditions early (while they are still treatable), but they can also identify things like pre-diabetes and pre-high blood pressure, giving patients more control over their long-term health.

The growing interest in health and wellness presents healthcare organizations with a unique opportunity to influence consumer behavior and the preventive healthcare market size, projected to grow to $415 billion by 2031.

Influencing Consumer Behavior Through Digital Marketing

Unfortunately, our healthcare system was built upon a fee-for-service model. It was designed to solve health problems and treat diseases rather than encourage prevention.

Of course, newer reimbursement models, such as value-based care, seek to lower healthcare costs by incentivizing wellness and prevention, with the goal of avoiding preventable diseases and keeping people out of the emergency room. These changes pave the way for more effective marketing campaigns to promote prevention strategies and better health outcomes.

In this blog, we explore long-term solutions that healthcare organizations can leverage to promote preventive healthcare marketing strategies, share actionable tactics to enhance patient engagement, and improve public health outcomes.

We also share examples of preventive healthcare marketing in action, beginning with Pepsodent.

Illustrating the Transformative Potential of Preventive Marketing

Our favorite example of the transformative potential of preventive healthcare marketing strategies did not come from the healthcare industry but a century-old marketing blitz from Pepsodent toothpaste.

Until the 1920s, it never occurred to most people to brush their teeth daily or see a dentist as a preventive measure. But then, Pepsodent Toothpaste began spending millions on ads urging consumers to brush their teeth twice a day and “see your dentist twice a year!”

Before the campaign, only 7% of the U.S. population used toothpaste. Afterward, that figure skyrocketed to 65%. And according to the American Dental Association, today, more than half of Americans visit their dentist twice annually for cleanings.

1. Understanding Your Audience

Before your organization can develop an effective prevention campaign, you must understand your patients as well as the types of patient cases you want. Analyzing patient demographics and campaign performance data is a great start. These metrics can help you better understand who they are and what they need (e.g., age, gender, race, socioeconomic factors, prevalent health conditions, etc.)

This data can also help determine which preventive healthcare products and services to market and the most effective platforms and strategies to use.

To illustrate, you might assume nonprofits in West Virginia (often considered the least healthy state) should promote services related to chronic disease management (e.g., diabetes education programs, weight management clinics, cardiac rehabilitation, and addiction treatment programs).

In contrast, Active Southern West Virginia developed and marketed a diabetes awareness and prevention program in an effort to lower diabetes rates in their state. The program includes a free risk assessment, one free year of lifestyle change coaching, and access to free physical activity programs, equipment, and in-person weigh-ins.

This strategy aims to help lower the number of people diagnosed with diabetes, educate younger generations, and improve health outcomes.

Promoting preventive healthcare marketing strategies also benefits healthcare organizations for several reasons, including:

  • Increased rates of early detection.
  • Reduced incidence of chronic disease.
  • Improved patient outcomes.
  • Better alignment with value-based care models and reimbursement arrangements.
  • Enhanced brand differentiation and competitive advantage.
  • Increased long-term revenue potential.

2. Leverage Content Marketing to Promote Prevention

Once you understand your target audience, you can develop highly relevant content that resonates with their unique needs and preferences.

Healthcare organizations must leverage a variety of content marketing strategies to effectively promote preventive healthcare as value-based care models continue to push their way into the mainstream.

Here are a few strategies to consider:

Foster a culture of conscious health and wellness.
Create several types of content that emphasize the importance and benefits of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (e.g., regular exercise, proper nutrition, stress management, and restful sleep). Empower individuals to take proactive steps to prevent disease by providing relevant educational resources, online risk assessments, and more.

Communicate how preventive health screenings and immunizations can detect or prevent disease and illness.

Create easy-to-understand educational content that explains how immunizations and preventive health screenings like mammograms, colonoscopies, and blood pressure checks can help detect and prevent potential health conditions before they become serious.

Share patient stories and testimonials on articles, blogs, social posts, and videos to illustrate why preventive health services are essential to healthcare.

Share factual, transparent, and compassionate content that avoids inauthentic scare tactics.

Provide accurate and evidence-based information that helps healthcare consumers make informed decisions about their healthcare. Address common misconceptions or concerns about health screenings, emphasize why they’re so important, and explain how the benefits outweigh the risks or inconvenience.

Share educational preventive health content across platforms preferred by your target audience.

Now that you understand your audience and have your messaging ready, it’s time to share it in the places your target audience visits regularly.

First, review your analytics to identify your target audience’s preferred platforms and channels. Second, tailor your messaging to suit the unique characteristics and preferences of each platform to maximize effectiveness and visibility.

For example, LinkedIn users prefer long-form content, while Instagram and TikTok users prefer short, engaging videos. Meet your audience where they are with relevant preventive healthcare marketing strategies that are channel-appropriate to encourage optimal engagement.

3. Create Ongoing Article, Blog, and Video Content

  • Informative Articles
    Create informative articles highlighting why preventive care screenings are important and share which conditions they can detect or prevent. Some of the most effective marketing content we’ve seen combines facts and emotion to drive engagement. For example, many weight loss businesses have slowed promoting weight loss in favor of promoting the idea of longevity (be there for your grandkids), health (enjoy lasting mobility), and wellness (feel good well into your golden years).

    These articles must be well-researched, timely, relevant, and easily understood. Appropriate topics might include things like:
    • The importance of regular check-ups.
    • The benefits of vaccinations.
    • Myths and truths about vaccinations.
    • The benefits of early detection.
    • How oral health impacts overall health.
    • Skin cancer prevention tips.
    • Tips for preventing chronic disease.
    • Age-, gender-, or risk-specific screening recommendations.
  • Engaging Video Content
    Create highly engaging and visually compelling video content to demonstrate preventive care techniques in action. For example, if your patients have been historically hesitant about receiving scan that uses radiation, talk openly about it and clearly explain how it can protect them from potentially fatal health issues.

    Also, in our experience, consumers like engaging with videos that contain first-hand patient testimonials. These are value-adds because they improve credibility and build trust with your organization.
  • Content distribution
    Once you have a library of well-researched and SEO-friendly content, it’s time to share it. Maximize your visibility and reach by sharing your static and video across several channels (e.g., emails, social media platforms, healthcare directories, etc.).

    Remember! Tailor your messaging to suit the preferences and expectations of each channel and its audience. We also recommend encouraging HIPAA-compliant engagement and interactions by asking questions, requesting feedback, and responding to comments and direct messages in a timely manner.

Implementing these preventive healthcare marketing strategies can help your healthcare organization raise awareness about your preventive healthcare services and educate local communities about the importance of regular check-ups, immunizations, screenings, and more.

4. Build Social Media Campaigns

  • Shareable Paid and Organic Content
    Shareable content is an effective way to stand out, reach more diverse audiences, establish credibility, raise awareness, and increase engagement. Infographics are a great example of sharable content that can help your organization gain traction on social media. They are visually engaging and can clearly outline how preventive screenings work, their benefits, and the specific conditions and illnesses they can help to detect or prevent. Simple language and clear layouts are essential for ensuring the information can be quickly and easily understood.

    Infographics are sharable across social media platforms, healthcare directories, and online communities and can maximize visibility and reach.
  • Patient Testimonials and Case Studies
    Patient testimonials and case studies are essential for establishing trust with your target audience because they show your organization can provide the services they need.

    Share compelling patient testimonials or case studies that illustrate the life-saving value of preventive screenings. For example, consider highlighting how a patient’s colonoscopy identified asymptomatic polyps, allowing for early intervention and an improved health outcome.

    Testimonials and case studies are versatile and can be shared in articles, blogs, or videos to inspire others to prioritize preventive health and schedule a screening.

Here is a powerful example of social media prevention marketing in action. The Illinois Health and Hospital Association offers provider locations a vaccine campaign toolkit to address vaccine hesitancy across their state, which impacts 46% of the population. The public awareness campaign is entitled “There’s Unity in Immunity. Get the Vaccine” and aims to encourage vaccinations in their communities.

In 2021, they also launched a ten-million-dollar campaign to address Covid vaccine misinformation at its source—social media. Recent data indicates Covid vaccination rates have increased from 53% in 2021 to 71% in 2023.

5. Implement Personalization

  • Newsletters, Mailers, Emails, Texts
    A regular cadence of newsletters, mailers, emails, and texts helps inform patients and prospective patients about available products and services. They can also help your organization share the benefits of preventive care and emphasize the importance of regular check-ups, immunizations, and preventive screening. When appropriate, consider addressing specific health concerns, age groups, or other demographic factors. Popular topics include:
    • Preventive screenings by age, gender, and risk factors.
    • Immunization schedules by age.
    • Healthy lifestyle habits.
    • Disease prevention strategies.
    • Virtual options for preventive care.
  • List Segmentation
    List segmentation is essential for effectively targeting specific patient demographics with personalized content. Segmenting patients by age, gender, medical history, or previous interactions allows healthcare organizations to send personalized appointment reminders, upcoming screenings, follow-up reminders, and relevant educational content. This tactic can also help your organization boost engagement and increase appointment bookings.

6. Offer Online Health Assessments and Tools

  • Interactive Health Assessments
    Interactive quizzes, polls, and health assessments provide valuable insights into your target audience. They also can help your patients assess their health status, identify potential risk factors, and receive personalized recommendations for preventive healthcare.

    Create and share these tools on social media platforms to gain information about your audience’s knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors and to raise awareness about available preventive health screenings.

    You can also offer incentives, discounts, or prizes to encourage higher levels of participation. Assessments are also an excellent opportunity to gather market data and help determine which preventive healthcare services are needed in local communities.

For better engagement, ensure the assessments are intuitive, simple, and fast and offer real-time, actionable feedback.

  • Clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
    Include clear calls-to-action (CTAs) within the assessments to encourage patients to move through the marketing funnel and reach out after receiving their results. Consider including the following CTA options to increase conversions:
    • Schedule an appointment.
    • Explore additional resources (related to their results).
    • Sign up for a preventive screening.
  • HIPAA Compliance
    HIPAA compliance is essential for protecting PHI (patient health information) from unauthorized access and use. Ensure HIPAA compliance when collecting and storing user data for any online assessment or social media engagement.

One healthcare vertical that takes advantage of these digital strategies is addiction and mental health. Mental health awareness has increased in recent years, leading to several businesses offering online assessments, quizzes, and calculators to evaluate a person’s habits, behaviors, and overall well-being.

Healthy Minds Philly offers several free online screening assessments to help individuals identify possible signs and symptoms of mental health and/or addiction challenges and provide local resources as a next step. Not only do these tools offer anonymity, something many people facing addiction and mental health struggles appreciate, but they also move these individuals closer to help with value-added resources.

7. Leverage Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising remains an effective marketing tool for older generations, especially when integrated with digital marketing initiatives.

Today’s traditional marketing channels extend beyond billboards, cable TV, and newspaper ads. Consider integrating radio, streaming, and CTV ads with digital marketing efforts to build awareness, credibility, and trust among a broader audience.

8. Participate in Community Outreach and Events

Participation in community outreach programs allows hospitals and health systems to raise awareness about available preventive healthcare services in your local communities and encourage healthy lifestyle habits. Consider hosting health fairs, wellness workshops, or informational seminars (webinars) focused on prioritizing preventive healthcare like in-person cancer screenings, heart health, colonoscopies, diabetes prevention, mental wellness, and more.

Partnering or co-hosting with local organizations, libraries, schools, or businesses can also help extend your reach and attract a wider audience.

9. Measure, Test, Optimize, and Repeat

Measuring performance data can help you understand which campaigns are working well and which aren’t. These metrics can also help your organization track and analyze user behavior from each marketing channel to gain actionable insights, improve your campaigns, maximize your efforts, and optimize your budget.

Key metrics often include:

  • Organic website traffic.
  • Email opens.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Social media engagement.
  • Conversion rates.
  • Qualified lead volume.
  • Cost per lead.
  • Cost per acquisition.

This data also helps you determine which messaging, content types, and channels resonate with your target audience, allowing you to adjust and optimize as needed.

We also recommend testing various headlines, copy, CTAs, landing pages, and images to iterate, improve, and optimize your preventive healthcare marketing strategies.

A Final Word on How to Market Preventive Care Services

Preventive healthcare marketing strategies are essential for improving patient outcomes and reducing the burden of chronic disease on health systems.

Healthcare organizations can influence consumer behavior and promote a proactive health and wellness culture by understanding their audience, effectively leveraging content marketing, and measuring results.

Integrate these strategies into your preventive healthcare marketing efforts to make a difference in your community and business.

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