Healthcare marketing is crucial for building an emotional, trust-based connection with patients. Given the sheer range of marketing tools and techniques available, however, it can be difficult to know where to start. Thankfully, inspiration abounds. Many organizations and professionals have mastered the art of patient outreach, developing strong relationships that form the basis of effective and compassionate care.
While the best marketing content is carefully targeted based on the unique audience and mission of the organization in question, it's important to get a sense of industry trends and determine which concepts are best suited for you. To provide you with some inspiration for your next campaign, we curated a list of examples of healthcare marketing done right across some of today’s most popular digital and social media marketing channels.
As you browse these examples, make note of how these organizations executed their marketing strategies while staying compliant with HIPAA rules and regulations. Remember that, while storytelling can play a central role in your marketing efforts, you’ll need to obtain express permission from any patients featured on social media or in blog posts. Authorization forms will ensure that patients are fully aware of your intentions to share their stories. If you need a refresher on HIPAA guidance when it comes to healthcare marketing, we’ve provided a list of great resources at the bottom of this article that will help you brush up on everything you need to know.
1. The Mother Baby Center
Check It Out: The Mother Baby Center’s Facebook Page
As an integrative maternal services provider, the Mother Baby Center in Minnesota faces the marketing challenge of attracting attention and goodwill from patients involved in many health systems. The Mother Baby Center Facebook page allows the provider to present clear, effective messaging to expectant mothers and their partners.
The “About” section emphasizes that the Mother Baby Center is a "great place to have a baby" and a "great place to be a baby." The page also emphasizes that the organization's various locations "bring together a few of the best-known names in mother and baby care."
In the status update and photo sections, the Mother Baby Center focuses on storytelling as a means of building trust among prospective patients. Narratives about successful births are accompanied by touching pictures of a new baby with their loved ones. This builds an emotional connection, thereby driving action among patients who might otherwise be slow to commit. This connection is enhanced by quotes from lactation consultants and other friendly professionals.
2. BALANCE Eating Disorder Treatment Center
Given Instagram's emphasis on curated images, it's easy to see why the site would be a minefield for those recovering from eating disorders. New York's BALANCE Eating Disorder Treatment Center’s Instagram account avoids this trap by focusing on punchy quotes and intriguing statistics to break users out of their unhealthy scrolling habits. The center also uses its Instagram page to promote its webinars, which form a core component of its overarching digital marketing strategy. This is just one example of how to make a mark in the modern social media landscape without relying on fancy photography.
3. Baylor Scott & White Health
Check It Out: Baylor Scott & White Health’s Pinterest Board
At first glance, Pinterest might not seem like a go-to solution for healthcare marketing. But if Baylor Scott & White Health’s Pinterest page demonstrates anything, it's the power of this social strategy for getting community members engaged. The organization's pins generally lead to its “Scrubbing In” blog, which is noteworthy in and of itself. Updates reference interesting topics, such as plasma therapy, mammograms, and telehealth for veterans.
Baylor Scott & White's Pinterest uploads are divided into pinboards for everything from heart health to animal therapy. Bright photos and captions keep the page cheery, as does the tagline in the bio: "Changing healthcare for the better." Followers can easily save their favorite pins and return to this content whenever they need the inspiration to keep their healthy lifestyle on track.
4. Dr. Leslie
Check It Out: Dr. Leslie’s TikTok Account
TikTok may be the social media site of choice for Gen Z dance challenges, but that doesn't mean it's incapable of being a serious source of information in the healthcare sector. This was especially evident at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when several healthcare professionals took to TikTok to combat inaccurate assumptions about the disease.
At this time, Dr. Leslie’s TikTok page stood out. Offering daily facts in a humorous, yet straightforward manner, she quickly garnered a huge following on the popular video site. Her honest feedback granted her an impressive spot on a list known as “The Year on TikTok: Top 100.” In fact, she earned first place in the category "Voices of Change: Most Impactful Creators."
While Dr. Leslie's strategies are effective for capturing the attention of young users, her intention was certainly not to become TikTok famous. Rather, her success lies in her earnest desire to do good.
"I’m very passionate about health education and making sure that people understand their bodies, understand their health, and they understand news related to health that’s going on in the world," she said.
5. Andrea A. Tooley, MD
Check It Out: Andrea A. Tooley, MD’s Twitter Page
Featuring insights from an oculoplastic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic, Andrea A. Tooley, MD’s Twitter page exemplifies how individual healthcare providers can play a key role in conveying a vast organization's values. Her Twitter page is loaded with expertise but maintains a warm, caring tone to keep followers smiling. She shares a wealth of original content that followers find compelling, as well as some of the best retweets.
Tooley's warmth and compassion can quickly be seen in her responses to fellow healthcare professionals and other Twitter users. In one comment, for example, she explains:
"I wholeheartedly believe that saying 'yes' (even when you doubt yourself!) will bring you opportunities and open doors you never imagined were there for you!"
This cheery attitude is reflected across all of the doctor’s platforms.
6. Mayo Clinic
Check It Out: The Mayo Clinic’s website
The Mayo Clinic is one of the world's most respected medical institutions, so it should come as no surprise that its website is just as esteemed. The Mayo Clinic website boasts a compendium of accurate medical information. This includes several A-Z categories, such as Diseases & Conditions, Tests & Procedures, and Symptoms.
By developing such a thorough and easy-to-navigate digital resource, Mayo Clinic has cemented its status as a leader in the healthcare sphere. While geographic limitations may keep some website visitors from seriously considering the Mayo Clinic for regular care, the page's exceptional content and effective SEO strategy allow the organization to remain top-of-mind. Should patients need major surgery or emergency care, they can feel confident that Mayo is the absolute best resource.
7. UCLA Health Connect Blog
Check It Out: UCLA Health Connect's blog
With a motto referencing the need for connection, sharing, and transformation, this blog puts the organization's spirit of service front and center. UCLA Health’s blog includes a variety of helpful articles about mindfulness, healthy aging, and pediatrics. These guides break down complex topics in a way that readers can understand without feeling patronizing. Instead, they are loaded with statistics, expert quotes, and actionable advice.
The patient stories demonstrate how impressive outcomes are possible with the right caretakers. These narratives are submitted by satisfied patients, who can also send specific care compliments about staff members who have made the greatest difference. These stories are excellent for marketing purposes, but they never feel “sales-y.” Rather, they serve to inspire struggling patients on the hunt for viable medical solutions—and a much-needed source of hope.
8. Mama Doctor Jones
Check It Out: Mama Doctor Jones' YouTube Channel
Another healthcare YouTube channel worth examining for marketing purposes, Mama Doctor Jones provides insight into the many confusing or even bizarre aspects of women's health that people tend to ignore—even when doing so leads to discomfort or major health problems. Jones removes the mystery while normalizing a variety of concerns that viewers might otherwise be reluctant to discuss.
Her YouTube channel represents just one of several social media tools this influencer has aced. She’s also active on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, where her content is just as informative and entertaining as it is on her popular YouTube channel. Her ability to construct a loyal following can be seen in the success of her online store, where she sells shirts with quotes like "Vaccinated… Because science."
9. SpineCare Decompression and Chiropractic Center
Dr. Michael Row relies on his business’ YouTube channel to get the word out about the general aches and pains that prospective clients face daily. This page includes practical tips for addressing common issues, such as lower back pain and tight shoulder blades—all from the comfort of home.
Short, easy-to-digest videos explain the exercises, stretches, and other simple steps required for dealing with common complaints—but under the assumption that, in many cases, further assistance may be needed from a chiropractic provider. Straightforward and to-the-point, these videos include tips that can be implemented almost immediately to give viewers relief. This builds goodwill, but it also encourages viewers to get engaged by subscribing to the channel or getting in touch with the center.
Summing It Up
If the examples outlined above are any indication, healthcare marketing holds a promising future. With so many marketing tools available, it's possible to provide the useful, engaging content that today's patients crave. Still, it's important to heed the words of caution from Al Chaney, of the Chaney Marketing Strategy, who advises that organizations avoid the urge to mimic competitors. Instead, he emphasizes the power of brand differentiation.
"Talk about the benefits,” he said. “Focus on your consumer."
Ultimately, the best healthcare marketing strategy is the one that puts the patient first. Demonstrate your ability to provide the kindhearted, expert care your patients deserve, and they'll reward your healthcare organization with steadfast trust and loyalty.
Bonus: Resources for HIPAA-Compliant Marketing Tactics
Here’s a list of HIPAA-related resources you can use to ensure your healthcare marketing campaigns are set up properly to keep your patients’ information safe and secure:
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: “HIPAA Guidance Materials”
- Berxi: “HIPAA & Social Media: What You Can & Can’t Post If You Work in Healthcare”
- Berxi: “What Is a HIPAA Violation? Your 5-Minute Summary”
- Compliancy Group: “How HIPAA & Marketing Intersect: Social Media, Website, and Email Marketing”
Image courtesy of iStock.com/alexsl
With over a decade of experience writing web content, Stephanie Lica is passionate about breaking down complicated marketing topics and helping a variety of businesses develop effective strategies for digital outreach.