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Big Mistake Number 12: Choosing the Wrong Healthcare Advertising Channel

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Car going into water warning street signOne of the most common medical advertising mistakes that doctors and hospitals make every day—one of many that we discover all too frequently—is using the wrong advertising channels.

Physicians, hospital executives and other healthcare marketing decision-makers are distracted by a hundred other daily demands on their time, and they fail to fully evaluate their media options. Or perhaps they trust that “doing the same thing again” will be good enough.

But “good enough” has never been a path to success. The unfortunate result is, that even people with the best intentions—people who have been advertising for years—spend thousands of dollars ineffectively, with marginal to unacceptable performance.

What we call Advertising Mistake #12—using the wrong advertising channels—raised its ugly head again in the Little Blue Book (LBB) survey data that we wrote about last week: Doctors Think Their Website is a Failure. It seems that among those doctors who advertise for new patients, there is a heavy reliance on word-of-mouth and professional referrals, and a smattering of only a few other media options.

If this survey is representative of most medical advertising, it suggests that other, highly effective advertising opportunities are being ignored. In fact, there are many cost effective ways to reach prospective patients. (The expanding range of options can be bewildering.)

In the traditional media column, there are newspapers, direct mail, radio, television, billboards, Yellow Pages, postcards and newsletters to name a few. Plus, there are the digital channels of email, the Internet, mobile, Facebook, Twitter, pay-per-click, and others.

Each of these has its purpose and each has the potential to attract new patients when used properly. The challenge is to use the proper advertising channels…those that fit your budget and produce a strong Return-on-Investment.

Your final plan should be based on a through evaluation of the options, the demographics of your target audience, the media’s past performance in attracting patients, how various advertising channels work together, and other considerations in your overall marketing plan.

We know from experience that it’s not easy to construct the right formula, but we can provide some professional guidance with this if you'd like. You request a copy of our free White Paper, How to Avoid 19 Critical Medical Advertising Mistakes Doctors and Hospitals Make Every Day. And from our healthcare marketing library, read: How to Avoid the #1 Mistake in Your Medical Practice Marketing Plan.

Lonnie Hirsch

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