Location-Based Marketing in Healthcare

by | Jun 7, 2017 | Digital Strategy

With location-based marketing in healthcare, audience segmentation is no longer just about patient population. Now, it can be about location, location, location.

You probably already know how to target personalized ads to specific patient populations based on demographics—now it’s time to apply that to location. Imagine a patient sitting in a competing hospital’s emergency department lobby with a knee injury, waiting hours to be seen, killing time on his smartphone as he waits. What if you could feed that patient an advertisement about your facility’s short ER wait times or your urgent care facility’s capabilities? This scenario is a possibility in today’s high-tech world, thanks to built-in GPS navigation found on most smart devices.

Location-based marketing in healthcare allows marketers to find patient prospects in real time. The data comes from applications that mobile users have given permission to capture location. While not everyone who uses mobile devices will elect to allow location tracking, they are more likely to provide access to their location if there is some kind of incentive for them, according to one study.

Location-based healthcare marketing information can help inform specialists learn where patients or prospects who opt-in to location capture are going, how often they frequent the location, and which marketing messages to deliver based on these facts. Are they visiting a gym? A nearby medical facility? A farmer’s market? Do they work in the vicinity?

Marketers can use what they learn to determine what people need from their facility, build ads based on services their facility can provide, and deliver them to the appropriate geographical audience through paid search, Facebook, or other types of ads.

Location-based healthcare marketing: Geofencing Versus Geoconquesting

Two of the most useful geotargeting methods available to healthcare marketers are geofencing and geoconquesting.

Geofencing involves defining a perimeter around a specific location that could include your hospital, clinical, physical therapy facility, or local businesses. When your patient or prospect shows up at that location and uses their smart device, you can have an ad ready to feed to that’s tailored to that location. Geofencing healthcare strategies should be implemented considering those perimeters.

Examples include ads for nutrition classes or the importance of wellness visits feeding to smartphones at a gym or farmers market, ads at your facilities reminding patients of the health benefits of exercise or a healthy diet, or even ads targeted specifically to men or women at businesses you think they may be more likely to frequent. It's important to find a balance between seeking information about potential customers and evaluating the ethical issue with geofencing, so consult your entire team when it comes time for those discussions.

With geoconquesting, you set up a similar perimeter at hospitals or clinics other than your own. Creating a perimeter around competing hospitals or clinics allows you to distribute ads that may tap into competing facility patient frustrations about long wait times or inattentive care. Through geotargeted advertising, you inform these patients of an alternative. The future of marketing and technology continue to evolve, so stay prepared for what comes by becoming well-versed in these strategies.

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