How to effectively advertise health clinics and medical services?

13 November 2020

Health care expenses are constantly growing, and this applies not only to Poland, but also to the whole world. The standard of living of Poles is improving, and society's growing awareness of health and health-promoting practices means that we decide to use medical care in private medical practices more often than ever. All this encourages doctors to open their own medical offices, outpatient clinics and specialized clinics. According to the Central Statistical Office data, several thousand doctors open their own businesses every year. How to effectively advertise health clinics and medical services when the market is becoming more and more crowded?

From the article you will learn: 

  • what is advertising for medical services and what limitations does it have?
  • Why does the market require the owners of clinics to use medical marketing?
  • how to effectively advertise health clinics and medical services on the Internet?

Medical advertising — legal or not?

Advertising literally medical services is not allowed. This is regulated by regulations, specifically the Act on Medical Activities of April 15, 2011 and Article 63 of the Code of Medical Ethics. According to them, a doctor cannot promote his services by persuading or making promises regarding the procedures performed.

What a doctor can do is inform the patient about the services he provides and the type and scope of his activities. Therefore, if the promotion of the clinic is based on informing and not encouraging to use medical services (using e.g. evaluative terms such as best, safest, most effective), it can be used.

In addition, online promotion does not always have to be based on paid medical advertising. Doctors have a number of tools at their disposal called medical services marketing. These include, among others: websites of clinics and medical offices, presence in social media, specialized and expert articles, patient education in the field of health and disease prevention, and SEO activities.

The market for private medical services is becoming more and more crowded

As I mentioned at the beginning, society is increasingly willing to invest private funds in health.

We will look at statistical data and market research.

  • According to the latest CBOS research, although it has recently decreased the percentage of people using medical services (from 88% in 2018 to 70% in 2020), the number of people who pay for medical services only out of their own pocket has increased.
  • The CBOS research announcement "Zdrowie online" shows that in 2020 as many as 80% of surveyed Internet users searched for medical information online, and over half (56%) contacted a doctor or medical facility this way.

In today's world affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the medical profession is particularly valued. Only now can we see how serious the effects of many years of neglect in the medical sector are. When the public health service is at the limit of capacity, patients see even more hope in private medical care. Although the epidemic brought major turmoil in the medical industry and resulted in a decline in the dynamics of GDP growth in Poland (resulting in a decline in the wealth of citizens), the post-pandemic period will probably bring a revival in the long run. A society taught by experience will pay even more attention to health and disease prevention.

All this makes everyone want to fight for the patient not only offline, but also online. After entering the phrase "private medical clinic" in the search engine, we receive almost 12 million results, and the first page has space only for a few clinics operating most dynamically in the field of online marketing.

Example: Number of resources; indexed in Google for the phrase "private medical clinic"

Of course, the more specialized the clinic is, the more competition there will beless numerous, which does not mean that it is less determined to appear in the TOP 3 or TOP 10 results. How to effectively advertise health clinics and medical services? What should you do to ensure that the patient finds your clinic on the Internet when seeking help? More on that in a moment.

Medical clinic website

The website of a medical clinic is its business card on the Internet and one of the forms of advertising the medical office. I have already mentioned that Internet users look for health-related information. There is no doubt that potential patients should come to your website when looking for answers to their questions. What should the website of your office be like? How to design a website for a clinic or medical business? Mandatory elements of a modern doctor's office website include:

  • description of activities and specializations,
  • scope of the offer,
  • location and opening hours,
  • contact details, including a clearly visible telephone number,
  • introduction of medical staff.

Example: Website of the Balumed private medical clinic

Tabs that are worth having on your website include: appointment schedule, with the option of online booking, contact form, description of preparation for tests and procedures, photo/video gallery, patient opinions, medical blog , information about news and novelties, FAQ.

Example: Patient guide on the clinic website

In addition, a website that is intended to meet users' expectations should be:

  • modern,
  • mobile friendly,
  • useful, readable and intuitive, 
  • rich in valuable content,
  • visually attractive,
  • fast (page loading speed should be as low as possible),
  • free of errors,
  • safe (secured with an SSL certificate).

Example: Mobile version of the website of the eye clinic Dzięgielewska Instytut Oka

If the practice website has all or most of these elements, then the first step to medical office marketing success has been taken. But this is just the beginning.

SEO/positioning for a doctor's office and technical website optimization

For a medical business website to be well positioned, i.e. to appear in the first places in search results, it must precisely respond to queries entered into the search engine window by users. This will happen if the website is optimized for SEO. If you already have your own office website, it is worth trying to perform an SEO audit, which will allow you to assess the quality of the website in this respect, identify gaps and problem areas and set a course of action.

The first step in building content on the website is to identify key phrases important from the patients' point of view. So you need to answer the question: What are my potential patients looking for on the Internet?

Example: Organic search results for the phrase "hip joint ultrasound"

When you already have a list of the most important words and key phrases for a medical clinic in a given specialty, it's time for the next question: what can I do to ensure that content containing these phrases appears on the office's website and substantively responds to the patient's needs? ;In?

Further steps are a matter of saturating the content with keywords, using appropriate meta data descriptions, proper technical configuration of the website and a consistently conducted, long-term SEO strategy.

Medical articles on the blog

A medical blog is a marketing communication tool, creating the image of doctors as experts and building a strong website position in Google. Let's focus on this last aspect. Often, the mere description of a medical clinic's activities, the offer subpage and the list of treatments are not enough to build a strong position of the website in the search engine. A place is needed that will provide greater opportunities to publish content and topics that also contain keywords and keyword phrases.

What to write about on a medical clinic blog? There are many topicsand medical services? Although advertising in its pure form is not allowed in the medical industry, the pool of marketing tools is so large that it still gives doctors a wide range of promotion possibilities. Having a modern website, SEO activities, local positioning, a medical blog, video marketing are just some of the forms of marketing communication that you can use as a doctor to fight for acquiring new patients. Promoting a medical clinic or office becomes particularly important during the difficult time of the pandemic, when competition among private clinics is still very high. That's why it's worth and even necessary to do it.

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