5 Outdated Healthcare Marketing Ideas That Medical Practices Should Stop Investing In

healthcare marketing ideas for medical practices james turrell the inner way 1999

It’s a sad fact that far too many medical practices are investing heavily in various healthcare marketing ideas without any concrete methods of measuring how well their medical marketing ideas are performing. In many cases they are failing miserably, but the medical practice leaders and key decision-making management do not have the data to truly grasp such failure. 

Do you feel like you might be in this same boat?

Marketing as a doctor or a health practitioner isn’t necessarily different than marketing any other business, but you do need to make sure that it is properly tailored to your specific medical practice services. This means that your healthcare marketing ideas need to resonate with your ideal patients and you must be relatable to them.

It is also crucial that you are able to measure the return on investment (ROI) that you get from your medical practice marketing ideas. Data from your medical practice website will help you understand what’s working, what isn’t, and where you can improve.

Without this data behind your healthcare marketing ideas, you are simply flying blind. 

outbound media medical marketing ideas

Outbound Medical Marketing Ideas You Are Wasting Your Money On

Consumers have changed their habits in many major ways over the past two decades. However, traditional outbound marketing methods do not reflect this. These tactics include television, radio, direct mail and billboards. These outdated healthcare marketing methods are expensive, and they rely on brute force.

The logic of outbound marketing being that the more eyeballs that come across your medical practice brand and see your content, the more likely it is that some of those prospects will convert. There are many drawbacks to these efforts, however. For instance, you are paying to reach many people who are not all necessarily interested in your offer. As such, only a few will ultimately end up contacting your medical practice.

outbound healthcare marketing ideas

These outbound medical marketing ideas are also almost entirely impossible to track and measure. Was someone primarily attracted to the direct piece of mail you sent out, or was it the radio ad they heard in the car? Maybe they even came to you because they saw a billboard or sign on their daily commute. There is simply no way of knowing which piece of marketing content was the most effective. 

Here are 5 of the most common outbound healthcare marketing ideas that are outdated and simply not worth your marketing dollars. 

Television Advertising

TV commercials might be the most expensive marketing option of them all. A typical medical practice business owner would usually place ads on local cable channels, and even though these are not large networks airing the Super Bowl, these ads are still pricey. Not only that, but they provide a poor ROI. And it’s only getting worse.

More and more people have PVR for their television watching, which means that they often skip right over these intrusive commercials. With more streaming options than ever before, fewer people in general are even consuming content that has commercial breaks. Many people download programs for the sole reason of skipping the commercials. With so many options, the TV market is incredibly fractured, with very few programs drawing in the numbers of viewers that they did even 10 years ago. 

What does this mean?

It means that you could consider an alternative medical marketing strategy to try getting tangible results minus as big of an ad spend. This is where Google enters the picture. Your ideal and most qualified patients will respond much more positively to content that they find naturally as and when they need it without you imposing your brand down their throats while they are enjoying their favourite TV show.

Your ideal patients who actually have the money to afford your high-value medical services are also very likely to look for opinions, testimonials and reviews about potential care providers online. A simple search for your medical practice brand name on Google should deliver these results. If you meet them where they are most naturally searching for you, then you are much more likely to attract them within your medical practice marketing field of bliss. 

Billboards and Signs

You’ve seen them. All over the place.

Large billboards on the side of the road, or signs with neon-colored lights advertising products and services. Billboards are just like television ads, but on a smaller scale. You have no idea who is seeing them, but when showcased in the right place, you can target a lot of people.

That said, they can cost several thousands of dollars, and there are so many variables at play when drivers pass them by. Also, unfortunately, there are many distracted drivers on the road who are looking at their smartphones and not paying attention. All this adds up to billboards being a waste of money and being incredibly inefficient at targeting a consistent volume of your most qualified prospects who can afford your medical services.

Direct Mailing

Postcards and advertising material that are sent directly to potential patients’ homes is a popular marketing choice. However, the ROI on these healthcare marketing ideas is rarely satisfying. For one, almost half of all direct mail is placed directly into the recycling without even being opened. Not only that, but it takes time to sort addresses and names to get things prepared for the printers and mailers. Traditional mail simply isn’t an outlet that captures the attention of the regular public anymore to get any positive response out of them.

An alternate would be an email newsletter. You can have people sign up through your website, and you will already know they were interested in your practice. You can also target email marketing to a specific target audience. To be successful, you must have engaging and interesting content on your website that people will want to read. That means having a medical practice blog that has high-expert information addressing the most burning questions of your ideal patients.

It’s important the information on your medical website is very specific to your area of practice. The more relevant information you have on your medical practice website, the more the potentially qualified patients will trust you and make that choice to schedule an appointment. 

Yellow Page Ads

Eons ago, advertising in the Yellow Pages was absolutely necessary for small businesses. That’s because when someone needed to see a health practitioner, or call a plumber, or required any other type of service, they hauled out the phone book and went to the yellow section. They looked at all of the businesses listed there, picked one, and phoned the number.

In many cases, the business with the flashiest or most effective advertisement would be the choice. However, while the Yellow Pages are still being produced, they are not an effective method to attract new patients. Sure, there are some people, mostly over the age of 60, who still rely on the Yellow Pages, but that number is steadily dropping towards zero. 

Instead of pulling out a large book to peruse the listings, millions of people simply pull out their smartphone nowadays and do a search. The phone book is rarely, if ever, opened in most homes around the country. Instead of wasting your time on the Yellow Pages, invest your time on search engine optimization (SEO) and other inbound medical marketing ideas to draw people in who are searching for your type of practice.

You can advertise with certain listing sites, for instance, or with search engines to ensure that you have an ad at the top of search ranking pages. Effective SEO will help to ensure that your medical practice comes up near the top for searches related to your medical services. The key takeaway here is that these are already prospects who are motivated to seek out your medical practice niche, and thus have a much higher likelihood of converting. 


Local sponsorships are a popular way for health practices and other small businesses to get their names out there. However, having your logo on some paraphernalia is probably not what will attract people to your practice. Sure, maybe you want to support your child’s team, or there is a charity having a fun run that you want to support. That’s fine, but you should do it with the intention of being charitable and helping out, and not do it with the intention of finding new patients. Else, you are sure to be disappointed on that front in terms of business results. 

Marketing today is more complicated and involved than in the past. Gone are the days when you could (or should) throw as much money as possible at any or all of these traditional outbound marketing tactics and hope for the best. With so many options for entertainment and so much content drawing eyeballs, you need to be much more targeted and selective with your marketing to make sure to get the best ROI possible.

This is why you need to avoid outbound marketing strategies and adopt innovative inbound healthcare marketing ideas and strategies to expose motivated potential new patients to your brand and convert them into more new business opportunities for you. 

Innovative Healthcare Marketing Ideas | Going Inbound

The overriding statistic that should dictate all your medical practice marketing ideas is your ROI. This doesn’t mean that you should be solely focused on making as much money as possible. However, having a good return on investment means spending as little as possible to generate as outsized a return as possible. That’s why inbound medical marketing can be so valuable to your medical practice.

innovative healthcare marketing ideas

Inbound marketing ensures you are providing high-expert content to your most ideal and qualified patients who are actively searching for your high-niche, high-value medical services in Google. This is as opposed to traditional, or outbound marketing, which casts a broad net in hopes that a relatively small number of the people who consume then come to your business.

Your inbound marketing recipe should be targeted towards the interests and the most pressing questions in the minds of your potential patients. As such, the attraction via these set of healthcare marketing ideas is more natural, since you are matching your audience with exactly what they want.

More than ever before, patients are turning to the web to research potential doctors and healthcare practitioners. That means that you need to spend your marketing dollars where those patients are. Using digital channels can best achieve that goal, and doing this can also save you money in your marketing budget.

Online content is much more affordable, and can deliver you a much better medical practice marketing ROI than traditional outbound marketing strategies.