Medical Practice Advertising Spend: What’s a Good Return?

1/11/2021
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Zed Williamson

As a specialty physician with your own medical practice, business depends on maintaining and building your patient count.

One way to do that? Advertising.

But there’s a lot to consider. In our experience, most specialty physicians always ask the same questions about advertising their practice:

  • What will we be doing?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What results will it produce?
  • How long will it take to see results?

Here, we’ll establish the benchmarks of a successful advertising campaign for your medical practice, and tell you just exactly what is a good return on advertising spend (ROAS) for your medical practice.

First, a PSA on the difference between branding, marketing, and advertising…

  • Branding: The practice of creating a name, logo, and design that identifies and differentiates your product or service.
  • Marketing: The process of identifying customer needs and determining how best to meet those needs.
  • Advertising: The exercise of promoting a company and its products or services through paid channels.

For the purposes of this article, let’s assume your practice has a compelling logo and a distinct message that really grabs your ideal patient.

Solid branding—check.

Great market understanding and awareness—check.

So, you should be pretty confident in your practice’s ability to identify and resonate with your target customer. Now it’s time to find them and show them how you can help.

It’s time to start advertising.

Whether your ad campaigns target online channels…

  • Google ads
  • Mobile ads
  • Social media ads
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

Or more “traditional” offline channels…

  • Direct mail
  • Print
  • Radio
  • Television

It’s good to have a baseline of expectations before you begin.

How Much Do Physicians Spend on Advertising?

We’ve seen specialty practices looking to rapidly grow their patient base get pretty aggressive with advertising, but it really depends on many factors. What’s the competition like in your specialty? In your region? How much of your business is based on referrals?

Some physicians spend nothing on advertising and depend strictly on word of mouth, while others spend thousands of dollars a day or more to guarantee a strong presence and ensure they outrank their competitors.

As a benchmark, the average advertising spend for a medical practice is $1,371 a month, according to Zocdoc.

In the end, no matter how much you’re willing to invest in advertising your practice, you should know what to expect before getting started with your agency of choice.

And it all begins with an understanding of return on advertising spend.

What is Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)?

How much revenue does your business earn for every dollar you spend on advertising? The answer is your “return on advertising spend” (ROAS). The higher your ROAS, the better.

For example, if you’re running an ad campaign that costs $4,000 and it’s directly responsible for $20,000 in new business for your practice, your ROAS is $5.

Return on ad spend equation

What’s a Good ROAS for a Medical Practice?

The example we outlined above is a pretty good indicator on what you should be getting when it comes to return on your advertising spend. When advertising your medical practice, you typically want to see the returns equal 3-5 times your spend.

So, $3 to $5 for every $1 you spend, $300 to $500 back to your business for every $100 you spend…you get the idea.

Think about it in terms of investing in the stock market, and how medical advertising ROAS compares. A 12 percent return on stock market investment is considered excellent. In reality, the same return from investing in your medical practice—your business—should be acceptable.

But the fact is, if you’re advertising your practice the right way, your returns will be much higher. Even a 2:1 or 100% ROAS for medical advertising should be considered a big win.

TrackableMed return on ad spend

How to Maximize Your ROAS

Enough about money already…it’s time to focus on the patient!

Revenue is ultimately what keeps your business going and allows you to continue treating patients in need. Ultimately, that’s the bottom line for any specialty medical practice: treating patients.  

Financials aside, the true return on your advertising spend should be measured in patient growth. And in order to accomplish that, it’s the message of your advertising that drives your success by viscerally connecting with people.

Before developing an ad campaign (regardless of the medium), ask yourself:

  • Does it solve a patient pain?
  • Is it clear what pain you’re solving?
  • Is the call-to-action simple and direct?

If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes” to all three of those questions, you’ll most likely be disappointed with your ROAS.

Right and wrong images for medical ads

Backed by years of behavioral science research and study, TrackableMed takes a different approach to medical practice advertising. Instead of campaigns that focus on the accolades, techniques, and procedures of your practice, we create a deep emotional connection with your potential patients.

How Long Will It Take to See Results?

If you’re doing it right, not long at all. Yes, many advertising campaigns claim it’ll be at least 90 days before you get a reliable ROAS. But in the medical space, you shouldn’t have to wait that long to see results.

As long as patient data is informing and determining your advertising platforms and creative, a positive ROAS should be almost immediate. After all, if you’re doing it right, you’re talking to patients who have a physical ailment and they WANT to find relief. Many of them may be thinking they’re out of options or they just have to live with a condition, such as chronic pain, chronic sinusitis, skin conditions, etc. When the message of your ad and the correct placement and frequency is done right, patients take action as a response to your ads!

Expert Tip: Make sure you’re using patient response and interaction with your ads to determine actionable adjustments.

That’s how we do it at TrackableMed, and if you’d like to learn more about maximizing your ad spend—or are simply curious on how and where to get started—contact us today for a free consultation.

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