Marketing for Hospitals: Boost Patient Acquisition [2023]

Ellie Whims
Ellie Whims

The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly competitive, and we are now seeing both small and large hospitals alike expanding their marketing efforts. 

However, not all marketing campaigns are created equal. If you’re looking to put your advertising budget to its fullest use, continue reading for the best tips on how to boost patient acquisition. 

Who Is Your Target?

The most successful advertisements appeal directly to the consumers who are most likely to solicit your services. So, if your hospital has a specialty, be sure to center your advertising content around it. The marketing material for orthopedic, psychiatric, and cardiac hospitals all differ greatly for this reason.

Once you’ve identified your target audience, you’ll need to consider what they are looking for in a hospital and the best advertising mediums to reach them.  

What Are Their Biggest Pain Points?

The core of any business is addressing problems that consumers would pay you to solve. To do this, you must intimately understand the problems, or paint points, that your target audience associates with hospitals. 

These pain points could be insecurity with the quality of treatment, financial concerns, or emotional stress to just name a few. 

Once you’ve made a list of the top pain points your target audience is likely to possess, the next step is to create advertising material that acknowledges them. The goal is to first validate their concerns and then reassure prospective patients that your healthcare organization can uniquely address them. 

How Can You Get In Front Of Them?

Creating compelling advertising content is an important step, but it’s just as important to select the correct marketing channels to reach your audience. 

We can breakdown hospital marketing approaches into two categories: 

  • Outbound marketing: This strategy characterizes all marketing efforts where the hospital is the one soliciting consumers in the hopes of acquiring new patients. Some examples of outbound marketing include billboards, print ads, direct mail, and sanitizing stations. 
  • Inbound marketing: Inbound marketing differs from outbound in that it attracts potential patients by creating content and experiences that align with their interests. The best way to get consumers to seek your brand out is through creating blog posts, social media content, and by utilizing search engine optimization (SEO). 

It’s a good idea to use both inbound and outbound marketing together through an omnichannel approach that reaches consumers at multiple touch points. By targeting consumers through multiple mediums, you have the best chance of boosting your hospital brand awareness and bringing in new patients. 

Wellness Billboards

Wellness billboards are a fantastic approach for promoting your brand to an ideal consumer base. These billboards dispense sanitizing wipes below a prominently featured advertisement and can be installed at supermarket storefronts, gyms, and pharmacy wait areas. 

Pharmacy wait areas offer the ideal contextual setting for healthcare marketing. This effect is compounded by the delivery of sanitizing wipes that directly appeal to health-conscious consumers and the fact that they bring the implied endorsement of the local supermarket or drug store the pharmacy is located in. Terraboost is an innovator in this advertising medium and has partnerships with prominent pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens. 

These sanitizing stations can offer some of the highest returns on investment (ROI) through the use of the latest marketing tools like geofencing and retargeting. These tools use shoppers’ anonymized mobile data to deliver digital ads to their devices after they’ve interacted with a wellness billboard. Geofencing and retargeting make synergizing your physical and digital advertising mediums extremely easy. 

Independent studies have shown the effectiveness of Terraboost’s wellness billboards with 89% of shoppers taking a wipe and 50% taking a coupon or brochure to learn more about the sponsored brand. 


Physical and digital advertising are both immensely effective, but don’t underestimate the utility of word-of-mouth marketing! Hospitals can utilize both patient and doctor referral programs to boost patient acquisition

Physician referral programs

Partnering with local physicians near your hospitals is a proven way to boost awareness and credibility within your community. 

Physician referral programs are so effective because patients trust their primary care providers and much of that trust will be transferred to your hospital. One way to rapidly grow this type of referral program is through a physician liaison who reaches out to doctors and helps forge lasting connections. 

Many doctors actively seek out partnerships with hospitals as this can greatly improve patient outcomes by providing their clients with specialized services they aren’t able to provide. 

To better understand how to effectively market to this group, consider reading about marketing to healthcare professionals.

Patient referral programs

Leveraging your existing patient base to bring in new patients is a great way to make use of all your available resources. Patient referral programs generally incentivize your current clients to bring in their friends and family through things like gift cards or future discounted services. 

Patients acquired from these referral programs tend to place trust in your hospital since it was recommended by someone close to them. 

Google Map Pack Ads

86% of internet users use Google Maps to find local products and services, which means it’s essential for hospital marketing plans to fully understand and utilize this search platform. 

The Google Map Pack refers to the top three search results that come up when consumers search for a service near them. Breaking into the Google Map Pack isn’t easy. To rank highly in the search results, you’ll need to continually update your Google My Business profile and acquire as many 4 and 5-star reviews as possible. The best way to acquire more reviews is to ask satisfied patients to take time out of their day and review your business online.

The number of reviews is not the only metric that the Google algorithm uses to rank businesses. Google also takes into account how often your business is cited online, meaning how many different social media pages and review sites feature your hospital. 

If organically securing a place in the Google Map Pack is too difficult, you can take the shortcut and pay to be sponsored in the top search results. However, consumers will be notified that this is a sponsored ad and these placements tend to have lower clickthrough rates than organically placed businesses.  

Social Media Video Ads

People spend an increasing amount of their time on the Internet on social media platforms, which makes this a key location to target prospective patients at a high frequency. 

Video marketing in the healthcare industry has always relied heavily on patient testimonials to create an emotional connection and encourage people to place trust in the advertised institution. While your ads may not appear on cable television, this is still the best plan to use. If you’re looking for a prime example of this marketing strategy, watch this testimonial video of a lung cancer survivor:

Consider creating different ads to appeal to different demographic groups that your hospital services. For example, a psychiatric hospital could produce one video featuring a senior citizen recovering from depression and another on a teenager who overcame her anxiety disorder. By focusing on unique patient experiences, you’ll have the best chance of winning over different audiences.

For social media videos, you’ll want to post them to your hospital’s official account and then push them out as sponsored ads that appear in user feeds. If a user finds your advertisement engaging, they’ll click on your hospital’s profile where they can watch more testimonials and see your other promotional content. 

The primary downside of video content marketing on social media is the cost that comes with it. An effective testimonial video will require an experienced producer or professional content creator to film, edit, and publish the advertisement. On top of that, you’ll need to pay for premium targeting to reach your ideal audience. 

Organic Local SEO

Organic local search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way to drive inbound traffic to your hospital. The goal of search engine optimization is to have your hospital rank highly in the search listings when prospective patients type in certain phrases online. 

Keyword research is the first step to optimizing your hospital’s search rankings. You’ll need to spend time curating a list of the relevant terms and phrases your target audience is most likely to type into Google when researching healthcare services or their illness. The next step is to strategically place the key terms from your list throughout your hospital’s website to ensure the Google algorithm ranks you highly. 

To further increase your hospital’s online visibility, consider creating high-quality articles and blogs that address common patient questions from your specialty. Healthcare marketers should also fill this content with those key terms and phrases they previously gathered. By creating a variety of healthcare content, Google’s algorithm will recognize you as a public educator and a reputable hospital to recommend to users. 

For more insights into effective healthcare marketing strategies, be sure to check out this resource.

Creating a successful hospital marketing campaign is difficult and requires a significant amount of experience. If you’re looking for some key industry insights and a clear path forward, reach out to a Terraboost agent today for a free personalized quote

Your hospital could soon be featured on some of our 120,000+ wellness billboards that deliver 8.8 billion monthly engagements. Through our partnerships with CVS and Walgreens, your hospital’s advertisements will be positioned in the best locations to reach your target audience.