The Grim Reality that Not Everyone Who Wants, Needs and Deserves Treatment will Be Able to Afford It

It’s a heavy burden to carry, especially for well-meaning private practices that have chosen to offer services that are out-of-network. Nevertheless, it’s a burden that must be carried if the practice is to survive as a business.

The steps that can be taken to target an audience of people who can afford your services through your medical marketing and advertising initiatives. Some leads will inevitably trickle through who simply can’t afford it – what do you do then? This blog post attempts to summarize M.Ad’s advice based on our experience working with many out-of-network private practices across the United States who struggle to strike a healthy balance between fair market pricing and compassion.

“How much is it?” and “Do you take insurance?”

The two questions we would imagine every receptionist in every medical office in the United States hears day in and day out. If the practice is out-of-network, they’re unable to accept insurance which is the most common reason leads from medical marketing and advertising services don’t convert into patients.

Sometimes, leads won’t be able to convert into patients – even if they’re great candidates for treatment.

There is a balance between making your services affordable for new patients and maintaining pricing that is consistent with competitors and industry standards. Sometimes, leads won’t be able to convert into patients – even if they’re great candidates for treatment. To avoid wasting valuable time and resources, it’s important to know when to present hesitant leads with financing options and when to focus your energies elsewhere. Of course, the best case scenario for most private practices who are out-of-network is to reach customers who can afford the services they offer. But, this is easier said than done.

What Can You Do to Reach Leads Who Can Afford Your Services Through Advertising?

Household Income Targeting

This is by far one of the most advantageous additions to Google Ads in ages. For years the only way to target someone by their estimated net worth was to geotarget higher income neighborhoods. In their latest update Google Ads added an option under ‘demographic targeting’ to target people by the household income tier they fall into. Here’s a screenshot to illustrate the new interface – notice how you can Enable them, Exclude them, or adjust bids at the ad group level:

Audience Targeting through Remarketing

Remarketing can be a questionable marketing channel when it comes to medical advertising accounts because it’s not always allowed. Google has strict rules on what kinds of audiences can be cached and re-marketed to. Often, Google won’t let advertisers cache audiences that have visited their site because it violates federal laws on collecting personal health information (PHI). However, in general, this marketing channel is incredibly effective so it’s worth giving it a try because some medical niches are permitted. 

Remarketing lists can be setup using Google Analytics and can be used for a variety of marketing initiatives but are commonly used to more carefully target advertising efforts. Here are some general audiences it’s usually a good idea to cache separately (if relevant):

  1. Visitors to the homepage
  2. Visitors to any blog page
  3. Visitors to the ‘contact page’ 
  4. Visitors to any ‘product’ or ‘service’ page

If you’re trying to use this feature to target an audience that can afford your services M.Ad recommends creating a page on ‘Pricing and Insurance’ policies and caching the audience that visits it. Now, instead of targeting this audience directly. Create an inverse of it. That is, create an audience comprised of users who visited a product or service page and did not visit the pricing and insurance page.

Location Targeting 

Location targeting is a simple but effective way to reach a larger audience of people who can afford your services, particularly if you’re working with a limited budget and don’t want to waist marketing dollars on irrelevant leads. The idea here is to target audiences in more affluent neighborhoods around your business. You may have some idea of which neighborhoods those are already. But if you don’t, is a great place to start researching the best areas to spend more of your marketing dollars.

Once you have data on which locations you want to target, installing bid adjustments is fairly easy. Bid adjustments are installed based on the percent increase you’re willing to increase your bid by. The interface for installing these percent bid adjustments looks like this:

Don’t Lower Your Pricing but Keep it as Flexible as Possible

Sometimes it’s tempting to lower your pricing to accommodate patients who can’t afford treatment. In our opinion, it’s important not to lower your pricing in these instances as it usually triggers a race to the bottom of the barrel among competitors. If you’d like conversion rates to increase or you want to accommodate more patients we’ve found it far more effective to offer long-term payment plans so patients can pay off the cost of their treatment in intervals. Helping patients access and fill out their reimbursement forms for their insurance providers is also an easy way to make patients feel more comfortable about converting. Finally, offering little freebies that don’t cost your business much up-front is another great strategy. It will help incoming patients who haven’t worked with your practice before warm to the idea.