We have curated six examples of cross platform hashtag campaigns, video marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, and/or website-centric marketing campaigns run by hospitals, health care systems, and/or nursing homes (assisted living homes) in the United States. For each example identified, we have, where possible, provided when it ran, how it performed, the messaging/design strategy, and its target audiences. Separately, we have also presented five pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding the challenges for advertising healthcare on Google.
Table of Contents
Marketing Campaign Examples: Run by Hospitals, Health Care Systems, and/or Nursing Homes (Assisted Living Homes)
1. Carilion Clinic
- Carilion Clinic, according to its website, is a “not–for–profit health care organization based in Roanoke, Va. Through [their] comprehensive network of hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices and other complementary services, [they work hand in hand] to provide quality care close to home for nearly 1 million Virginians.”
- Carilion Clinic of Virginia’s Roanoke Valley started the #YESMAMM hashtag campaign in 2011 to highlight and focus in on the need for early detection surrounding breast cancer. The hashtag was successfully used on social media platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest to not only raise awareness, but to drive traffic to their website. The hashtag was used when answering questions about breast cancer, which in turn led women to the Carilion Clinic website where they could easily find information that would encourage them to make an appointment at one of the clinic’s screening locations.
- The campaign was started when it became apparent to medical professionals that many women over 40 in the Roanoke Valley were not getting mammograms. To help remedy that, Carilion Clinic deployed screening locations throughout Western Virginia for all women. Paying for a mammogram can often be a barrier for many women, but in this case, if someone could not pay for it, the cost was covered.
- The campaign demonstrates how using social media can be an effective way to encourage a commonly avoided health practice, like mammograms, as well as the effect a clever hashtag can have when used properly and across multiple channels.
- Carilion’s Twitter follower count increased from under 3,000 to 4,605 during the campaign itself, and it now sits at 6,701 followers.
2. Highgate Senior Living
- Highgate Senior Living is an assisted living and memory care provider and has nine locations across four states on the west coast with a total of 703 total apartments.
- Highgate Senior Living had two key goals to achieve in 2017: “improve search engine ranking results and increase lead generation of qualified leads company-wide.”
- “To improve search, as well as lead quantity and quality, a multi-faceted approach to optimizing for on-page and off-page SEO was followed. The strategy also included implementation of content marketing.”
- It was also determined that buyer personas would be useful when developing a content marketing strategy. To fashion three personas, twenty-seven customer interviews and nine sales director interviews were examined. From those interviews, the buyer journey was documented. This included “consumption methods, motivations, values & fears, goals, and challenges.”
- Once the buyer personas were completed and targeted keyword strategy was created, “twenty-one website pages were optimized for search including URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, image alt text and page copy based on the targeted keyword strategy.”
- “Lead generation included development of over 200 pieces of content including eBooks, vlogs, blog articles, infographics, slideshows and quizzes. Social channels were utilized to promote and expand the reach of content and improve search engine rankings.”
- Results and ROI April 2017-December 2017: A 42% increase in organic traffic, a 37% increase in lead generation, and an eight times increase in ROI investment (for every $1 spent on services, $8 of additional revenue was generated from increased occupancy). “Email open rates averaged 35% with an average click through rate of 18.7%, as compared to an industry average of 19.18% open rate and 6.69% click through rate. Blog content generated 4,597 views.”
3. Fisher-Titus Medical Center
- According to its website, Fisher-Titus Medical Center is a “99- bed acute care hospital; Norwalk Memorial Home, a 69-bed skilled nursing facility; Carriage House, a 48-unit assisted living facility; a Home Health Center; emergency transport through North Central EMS; and outpatient services, including lab services, imaging and physical rehabilitation.”
- Fisher-Titus Medical Center approached Kuno Creative to help them determine their priorities for the services they offer and how to best market them. Together, they narrowed it down to the hospital’s eight key service lines. “With this direction in mind, Kuno developed a content strategy, website optimization and demand generation efforts to support these service lines. This included publishing weekly blog posts optimized for highly searched keywords in these areas and conducting keyword research before optimizing webpage copy.”
- “Kuno worked with Fisher-Titus to determine the appropriate budget and timing to focus on each one, aligning with the health system’s efforts in promoting its services. The new website launched four months after the physician directory launched.”
- “The team also identified the following goals: improve user experience, improve on-page SEO and organic traffic, and incorporate staff into website photography rather than using stock photography.”
- Key success metrics include their SEO health score increased from 52% To 96%, a whooping 406% increase in keywords ranked in the top 100 in just one year, they enjoyed a 110% organic traffic increase in one year, and a 212% increase in their blog subscribers year over year.
- An increase in organic website traffic, secured Google snippets, and an improved user experience were the key objectives that were reached.
4. Pella Regional Health Center
- Pella Regional Health Center is, according to its website, a “private, non-profit provider of health care that is accredited by The Joint Commission. Since opening its doors in 1960, Pella Regional has grown from a facility to care for the acutely ill to an entire system that includes the hospital, outpatient services and numerous medical clinics. The hospital is operated as a Critical Access Hospital, staffing 25 acute care beds.”
- “Pella Regional Health Center (Pella Regional) has seen a steady increase in mobile traffic since 2017, and as the organization continued to expand into more rural communities they expected this trend to continue.” In fact, since 2017, Pella had seen a 36% increase in mobile traffic. Clearly investing in a mobile user experience was only going to enhance this growth.
- “Before the redesign, the health system worked with their agency, Geonetric, to assess the mobile experience on their current site and provide recommendations for the new site. From design to navigation the new site engages mobile users at every turn and boasts new functionality, including ratings and reviews and geographic targeting personalization.”
- The new site, which launched in June 2019 has seen the bounce rate for mobile decrease by 23%, pages per session from mobile users has increased by 17%, and the average session duration on mobile has increased by 21%. “Users on mobile accounted for 71% of the activity on wait times and 80% of interactions with the task navigation.”
- “To support their mission and focus on the organization’s caring and compassionate values, the new site showcases photography with real staff and patients. The large homepage hero image featuring a family visiting a new baby sets the stage for the type of patient-focused care a person receives at Pella Regional.”
5. Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals
- The marketing strategy that the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals stays focused on is their service and they do this across all platforms. According to their website, they are dedicated to raising “funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity’s Miracle Balloon icon. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.”
- This mission lends itself extremely well to social media as they can regale people with heartwarming and touching stories that attract leading publications to feature their work. This source provides an example of a Twitter post where CMN shared a Good Morning America video from February 2020 covering one of their patients.
- One of CMN’s campaigns called #ChildrensHospitalsWeek Live-athon won the Facebook Live category at the Shorty Awards in 2018.
- “This Facebook live event was structured like The Ellen DeGeneres Show might be: Allison Holker-Boss and Stephen “tWitch” Boss interviewed each child and the child’s story was accompanied by a surprise. Some of those surprises involved celebrities like Lindsey Sterling, Katy Perry, and many others. The Live-athon became the most viewed streamed event ever and received more than 612,000 views, earned more than 2.75 million impressions, and raised more than $76,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.”
6. Caregiver Homes
- Caregiver Homes asserts that they “believe that the caregivers of our nation should never be alone in providing care for their loved ones. This belief originated with the founding of Seniorlink in 2000 by E. Byron Hensley, Jr. Impassioned by his own family caregiving experience, Mr. Hensley wanted to expand the choices available to other families in need of care and support. In 2005, Seniorlink launched Caregiver Homes, an innovative Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program, which received the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) highest level of Case Management Accreditation.”
- “Caregiver Homes is an innovative new model for families making elder care decisions. Families who live together may be eligible for Medicaid benefits by providing daily living care.”
- With numerous choices available and with those choices tied up with emotions and financial considerations, families must often react quickly to changing circumstances. Sometimes medical needs present suddenly, putting enormous time pressures on families who are already stressed out.
- As a new service, it was deemed very important to focus on digital advertising in order to reach people at the beginning of this journey where they would be facing difficult decisions.
- “Demographic, geographic, and behavioral targeting allowed campaigns to reach the target audience and compel clicks into a conversion experience that included a mini-qualifier.”
- “Campaign goals included building a broad awareness among families in advance of an urgent decision event. This would be achieved by focusing on keywords that might reflect an early curiosity about conditions affecting seniors, like signs of dementia.” They iterated creative banners and the landing page to optimize performance and utilized localization to support teams in the field. They were also determined to identify, as early as possible, applicants who would not meet Medicaid requirements before dedicating unnecessary staff time
- “The results were dramatically better than prior form-fill campaigns.” In the first four months awareness of the campaign was quantified with 10.8+ million ad impressions and over 95,000 visits to the landing page. When digging into the conversion rates, they more than doubled the prior rate for qualified leads, and had a nearly perfect completion rate.
7. Challenges Surrounding Advertising Healthcare on Google
- There are certain healthcare products and services that simply cannot be advertised at all on Google. Healthcare marketers are advised to check the list of country-specific restrictions for every country where they plan to advertise before proceeding with any advertising. One example of a ban is for any advertisements for CBD oil. Advertising for some pharmaceuticals and addiction treatment centers is only possible in select countries, and even then a certification from Google is required before doing so.
- Avoiding certain phrasing is another challenge that faces healthcare marketers when using Google Ads. This applies to not only the ad copy which is what is readable in the Google search results, but also the actual landing page phrasing, which is where consumers end up when they click on the advertisement. There are cases where Google will outright reject the ad, or if it manages to make it through, Google will take it down afterwards if they decide it is against their policies.
- In complete juxtaposition to the previous bullet point, healthcare advertisers must also make sure to include certain types of phrasing in advertisements. For example, there cannot be an absolute guarantee that a consumer will get exact and specific results from a product or service that is being highlighted in the advertisement. The landing page must include phrasing similar to: “Results vary and are not guaranteed” if the healthcare facility is deploying testimonials as a tactic. Additionally, it is imperative that the ad copy aligns with the landing page copy. Google has highly effective algorithms that can swiftly detect that an ad for a medical practice that is advertising certain services and subsequently leads to a landing page without any information about that certain service whatsoever.
- Healthcare marketers are not permitted to retarget prospective patients with advertising, which is referred to as re-marketing and/or re-targeting. In other words, if a consumer lands on a website or even clicks on the ad, hospitals and physician practices are not permitted to deploy display advertising, which are advertisements that show up on other websites. Display advertising is used to convince consumers to come back to the original website, but because of privacy concerns surrounding healthcare, marketers are not permitted to do this. A way to circumvent this is to make sure the website for hospitals and/or health care systems have a great landing page for conversions. This would mean making it super easy on that landing page to fill out a form or even for the consumer to call, and express interest in the services being offered.
- Most of the challenges healthcare related companies will face with Google Ads will be associated with personalized advertising, which Google defines as ads that employ “online user data to target users with more relevant advertising content.” Under the personalized advertising policy, “advertisers cannot create and then deploy ads that fall into sensitive interest categories, including personal hardships, identity and belief, and sexual interests.”