How Digital Ads Can Fill Your Therapist’s Office Hours
Are you finding your therapy practice short on appointments? Or maybe your staff has openings they haven’t quite filled?
We’re here to tell you, you can fix that.
This post covers how to build a digital ad strategy and measure the results so you can take your open appointment slots and fill them with online ads.
How to Build a Healthcare Digital Ad Strategy
First of all, any digital marketing strategy should be intentional and strategic. We’ve covered how to focus your healthcare marketing strategy when you’re busy, but what about when there’s a lull?
As we’ve said before, the right marketing strategy allows you to re-engage with your current clientele and attract new patients to your practice — as well as establishing yourself as a thought leader in your community.
The first step to building your online ads strategy is to identify your problem.
For many therapy practices, there’s an ebb and flow of scheduled appointments. You may find yourself with appointments needing to be filled. That’s the problem.
For this particular problem, we have seen success using online ads as a way to drive traffic to your website and increase calls to your practice. This is the solution.
When using this tactic, there are three important things to keep in mind.
- Ad Format
Let’s dig in.
You need to have somewhere for your potential patients to go. Before anything gets built on an ad platform, make sure there’s a relevant place to land once the click takes place through to your website.
With the goal of scheduling more appointments in mind, have opportunities to do so on your website — such as a place for potential patients to contact someone at your office for more information.
Your site should also include information on what someone can expect when they come in for an appointment. Having relevant information on the landing page for your digital ads will both improve your client’s experience and will also improve your website’s performance.
Once you’ve got somewhere for people to go, it’s time to start thinking about how they’ll get there.
Platforms like Facebook, Google and Microsoft Ads (formerly known as Bing) allow you to build different ad formats encouraging website visits or direct calls to your office.
Click-to-call ads, call extension ads, lead ads and other standard ad formats are all ways to encourage more appointments, since they allow for calls to your office or link to your website contact page or online scheduler.
Click-to-call ads perform exactly as it sounds, delivering phone calls directly to your office. On Facebook and Google, these can be set to run during business hours so that callers aren’t directed to voicemail and you aren’t receiving calls at night or on the weekend.
This is an example of what the creative and ad schedule might look like on Facebook.
Call extensions display a phone number directly in your Facebook ad or Google or Microsoft search ad. These perform similarly to click-to-call ads, but also allow the user to click through to the website if they so choose.
Lead ads let you gather basic contact information, so someone on your team can follow up with them and schedule an appointment.
Due to HIPAA regulations, information should not be stored in a lead center or local device. It should be transferred to your secure patient database and deleted elsewhere.
The most important consideration with your ad creative in any format is that you never assume someone needs your services. Simply, explain what you have available and let your targeting do the work.
All online ad platforms allow you to target ads to certain demographics based on age, location and other relevant interests and factors to your offerings. Platforms like Facebook, Google and Microsoft also allow you to retarget visitors that have previously been to your website.
There are six important considerations when building your targeted audience for your ads. As we mentioned earlier, it’s key to remember that due to HIPAA regulations, most healthcare advertisers cannot upload patient lists to use for Facebook ad targeting. So you’ll need to find another way.
In this case study on one therapy practice, we ran Facebook ads targeted to people within the client’s geographical radius who had interests related to the type of therapy offered. We also created custom audiences of people who had viewed the service page and/or its related blog posts, and we retargeted those web visitors with ads encouraging them to learn more.
Our client shared with us that her number of phone calls and appointments increased significantly after running ads for only a few months.
The most important element of your targeting strategy should be testing what works — and what doesn’t.
Okay, so you’ve got ads up and running. Great!
The next step in your digital ad strategy is analyzing the results of the campaigns.
Each ad platform has metrics for clicks, cost, conversions and more. Based on the goal of your campaign creative, take a look at how each ad type is performing.
If you’re running a click-to-call campaign, how many clicks is it getting? What’s the cost per click? Measure those against the industry benchmarks and adjust accordingly.
You’ll want to also look at Google Analytics for web traffic and goal completions. Are folks visiting your appointment page? Are they filling out a form? This will help inform your strategy going forward.
It’s also important to look at your records internally to see the whole picture. Did you receive more phone calls after the ad started to run? Did you see an increase in appointments scheduled during that time frame?
The main rule of thumb in any digital marketing strategy is do not proceed if you don’t have a clear goal.
Analyze your results to avoid missing out on opportunities or wasting your dollars where there’s no return.
Set Your Therapy Practice Up for Success
We’ve seen real results with healthcare digital advertising aimed at increasing patient appointments.
If you’re not sure where to start, we can help with that. Check out how we’ve helped healthcare professionals big and small, and see what services may work best for your practice.