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Healthcare Advertising or Healthcare Brand Reputation, Start where!?

Healthcare practices need to reach more prospective patients to drive growth in today’s increasingly competitive landscape. You may be wondering, what are the best ways to reach patients at this critical point in their decision-making process?

According to a survey of more than 1,700 adults, 63% of patients choose one provider over another based on a strong online presence. Studies like this one clearly show that patients in need of a new doctor turn to reviews to find the most qualified candidate, making reputation management increasingly important. Doctors having their brand reputation well in hand can build trust and authority. Otherwise, they risk losing the best market share and having to work harder to attract patients.

On the other hand, advertising is an easy way to drive traffic to your webpage. When managed properly it can be a cost-effective part of your healthcare marketing strategy. However, even a minor piece of negative information can create a bias and avert the patient from choosing your practice. 

When we compare advertising vs brand reputation, it’s evident that both strategies can be very effective parts of healthcare marketing. Rich audience targeting and a strong online presence can drive serious bottom-line results. But, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why it’s important to be consistent in measuring the marketing spend, identify what works best for you, and reallocate the budget to those strategies that help grow your practice the right way.

Advertising vs Brand Reputation: What Comes First?

Many healthcare providers still believe that the best method of reputation management is simply to provide their patients with exceptional in-person service and care, then wait for those patients to tell others about their experience. While it may start with patient care, brand reputation management certainly doesn’t end there. Technology advancements have empowered consumers with an abundance of choices. Now healthcare providers are required to develop a solid understanding of all the channels they can control and monitor. All to ensure their online presence remains as accurate and positive as possible.

According to a Local Consumer Review Survey, 86% of customers always read reviews before making a purchase and 84% of them trust online reviews as if they were personal recommendations. When comparing advertising vs brand reputation, it’s important to remember that online ratings and reviews are critical factors. They affect whether or not potential patients will choose your practice over your competition. At the same time, having one or two stars is as bad as having no stars at all. So advertising in this situation means that you are paying to send potential patients to your competitors.

Online presence is how you make the first impression, and since you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression, always start with managing your reputation first and then use advertising to shine another light on it. While advertising can be used as a part of brand reputation to help you gain more space at the top of a search results page, if you don’t have your reputation under control, negative reviews in combination with the paid search will only make things worse for your practice. Brand reputation can help you stand out among the top search results. It will persuade new patients to choose your practice over others. That’s what makes it a key healthcare marketing component in the process of driving patient acquisition and long-term practice growth.

Should You Start Advertising Campaigns If Your Brand Reputation Isn’t Great?

In a word — no. If online reviews are hurting your reputation, advertising will simply underline that and cause you to lose revenue. Focus on improving your brand reputation first, then use advertising to get in front of more patients and grow your practice. 

When comparing advertising vs brand reputation, it’s clear that paid search can provide immediate results. Paid search promotes practice growth and gives you the opportunity to be seen by more potential patients. Also, with the use of predictive analytics tools, you can control who sees your ads and market only to the people you’re trying to reach. Perhaps you want to reach people of a certain age. Maybe individuals who live within a certain radius of your practice. 

You may also want to focus on keywords more likely to be searched by prospective patients. They are ready to book an appointment, rather than those who may be starting their research. Either way, advertising helps you target people with specific interests that correlate to your ideal patient and increase your revenue more quickly.

However, what you’re pushing for people to see with advertising is your current online presence followed by your reputation. Paying to have them see a poor rating or a bunch of negative reviews won’t work in your favor. 

If you’re wondering whether you can fix a poor brand reputation with advertising, the answer is also — no. Advertising plays a significant role in boosting your visibility, but when it comes to improving your brand reputation, you need to turn to other, organic healthcare marketing strategies. For example, implement some of these simple and effective tips on how to build a five-star brand reputation.

Tracking Brand Reputation and Advertising Campaigns for Better Results

Using different strategies in healthcare marketing goes beyond simply attracting high-value patients. It’s equally important to measure the success of each campaign and define the value of your healthcare marketing efforts. 

Choosing the right strategies and optimizing them may seem intimidating. But healthcare marketing doesn’t need to be expensive to be effective. You need to find a way to be seen and chosen by the right patients. When comparing advertising vs brand reputation, remember that your brand reputation serves to educate. Your unique competitive advantage influences desired patients to choose you as their healthcare provider. Having a strong online presence that allows you to show your expertise and stand out against your competitors is what you should strive for before adding advertising campaigns to your healthcare marketing strategies.

At SocialClimb, we understand how frustrating it may be to find the best angle and choose the best healthcare marketing strategies, including advertising vs brand reputation. Take advantage of our cutting-edge healthcare marketing platform. Improve your brand reputation and enhance your online visibility in both organic and paid search results. Attract the patients you want to grow your practice’s revenue, and measure your marketing ROI while keeping HIPAA compliance.

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