Effectively marketing to doctors and physicians in today’s fast-paced healthcare landscape is no small feat. With physicians handling an increasing number of patients and the healthcare industry investing more in advertising, the competition for their attention has never been fiercer.
- In 2023, pharma surpassed technology to become the second-largest industry in advertising spending.1
- The most significant percentage of physicians see between 11 and 20 patients a day.2
- By the year 2032, a shortage of 46,000 to 121,900 physicians is expected in the United States, including a shortage of approximately 25,000 to 65,000 surgical specialists.3
Navigating the healthcare market in a way that allows you to stand out and disrupt the marketplace requires a well-crafted marketing strategy. This article explores how healthcare marketers can connect with doctors, capturing their attention with relevant ads while still managing their budget. Discover ten key tactics to market to doctors and physicians in 2024 successfully.
- Form a doctor marketing strategy by hand-crafting targeted audiences that reach doctors in their personal lives so you can build authentic connections, foster trust, and deliver messages that resonate on a human level.
- Craft content that emphasizes values, outcomes, and thought leadership, while simplifying the user journey with user-friendly ads, refined landing pages, and mobile optimizations.
- Create a seamless progression through the marketing funnel with display ads, social media, PPC, email marketing, and conferences.
- Implement a data-driven approach that allows you to measure success and optimize campaigns.
10 Strategies to Marketing to Doctors and Physicians in 2024
1. Handcraft Doctor and Physician Audiences
Between the decline of third-party cookies, the importance of ad personalization, and the shifting sentiment around ads, the data powering doctor marketing campaigns will be under more pressure than ever. However, there is a way to reach doctors and HCPs outside these channels: first-party HCP data. Using first-party HCP data allows precise targeting of doctors who match the ideal customer profile (ICP), considering factors like medical specialty and other relevant characteristics. This data ensures better engagement with doctors who are genuinely interested in your brand, thereby increasing engagement rates. At the same time, you’ll save money by not showing ads to people who don’t know about your brand or aren’t ready to purchase.
Additionally, because it can be challenging to reach HCPs directly, consider tailoring your marketing approach to resonate with their support staff, including Physician Assistants (PAs), nurses, and office assistants. These professionals can play a significant role in the initial assessment of new products or services, influence the decision-making process, and act as advocates for your offerings.
2. Advertise to Doctors and Physicians in Their Personal Lives
In today’s healthcare market, the conversation centers around reaching HCPs in their professional lives. However, HCPs spend more time using their personal accounts and emails on digital devices. Like other consumers, their time is occupied with staying up to date on the news, playing games, following sports, shopping, finding recipes, streaming content, and pursuing content for their other hobbies and interests. Understanding HCPs’ personal digital lives helps build authentic connections, foster trust, and deliver messages that resonate on a human level beyond their professional roles, thereby making marketing efforts more impactful and meaningful.
Additionally, advertising to HCPs on channels they’re using outside the workplace can be a productive way to continue the conversation when they’re not focused on the whirlwind of daily activity at the office. For example, CTV and OTT ads are an intelligent strategy for tapping into a growing addressable audience; the ad types available give marketers ample opportunity to engage their audience with an immersive experience that’s harder to deliver on smaller screens. Streaming services like Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Netflix continue to increase in popularity. Around 88% of U.S. households were reachable by CTV programmatic advertising in 2023.4
3. Speak Their Language
When building a doctor marketing strategy, every aspect of your ads, including the copy, imagery, and CTAs, must focus on what your audience cares about. Focus on values instead of features to best engage and entice doctors with your ads. For example, if you’re promoting a new drug to treat neurological conditions, instead of creating copy and imagery that states how “great” the drug is, draw physicians in with the advantages their patients will receive from it or how it is an improvement from other similar drugs. Marketing to doctors and physicians in 2024 is all about outcomes. At the end of the day, if you can show them how your product, medication, or device can help them, ad engagement will follow.
Another means to engage HCPs and gain credibility is to position your brand as a knowledgeable resource through thought leadership content. Create educational content that provides valuable insights, updates, and trends relevant to their specialties. Sharing helpful content in formats like articles, webinars, or whitepapers engages HCPs intellectually, keeps them aware of your brand, and builds trust. Channels like social media, newsletters, and industry publications are excellent avenues to connect with doctors and physicians.
4. Ensure a Simple User Journey and Experience
It’s just as essential to create an enjoyable user experience for your audience as it is to reach them. Ads only serve the initial leg of the customer journey. Once a doctor has clicked on the ad, it is up to your brand’s landing pages, media, and communication to keep them engaged. Streamline the user journey in healthcare marketing to capture and retain busy doctors’ attention.
Optimize online presence with user-friendly ads and landing pages, minimizing clicks and simplifying form submissions. Prioritize mobile optimization for on-the-go accessibility. Foster ongoing engagement by delivering valuable content, personalized recommendations, and accessible exploration avenues. Create an easy-to-use form that encourages conversions. Utilize feedback mechanisms and analytics for real-time insights, ensuring a lasting positive connection with your healthcare brand.
5. Build Awareness with Display Ads
Programmatically displaying ads directly to HCPs provides a creative and effective way to connect with doctors outside the typical medical websites, ensuring your message reaches them in diverse online spaces where they actively engage. While endemic websites such as healthline.com, nih.gov, and mayoclinic.org boast a substantial medical-first audience, their popularity often comes at a high cost for advertisers. As these sites are in high demand, advertising expenses can be prohibitive in the long run.
Creating a successful awareness strategy involves cross-device targeting, spanning mobile, PC, and CTV. Strategic placements in diverse environments, such as contextual, premium sites, and in-app spaces, amplify the impact of your outreach. Diversifying your ad formats—incorporating high-impact, native, and video ads—combined with refined strategies like retargeting and point-of-care advertising leads to cost efficiency and introduces a heightened level of versatility to your healthcare marketing strategy.
6. Establish Authority on Social
Leveraging social media is pivotal for marketing to doctors in 2024. Platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X (formerly known as Twitter) are central hubs for doctors and physicians to communicate, conduct research, and connect with like-minded peers. By aligning messaging with the nuances of each platform, advertisers enhance relevance and maximize the impact of their outreach.
To tap into social productively, marketers must understand the specific dynamics of each platform. For example, social media influencers are popular on Instagram and TikTok and can be an excellent tool to reach doctors based on their unique interests. Find influencers in the healthcare community with a sizeable doctor-based following and use them to help spread awareness of your brand and its value offerings.
7. Include Pay-Per-Click (PPC) for Conversion-Driven Campaigns
Integrating PPC advertising into your marketing strategy for doctors is particularly impactful due to its prowess in driving conversions. PPC campaigns offer a direct and targeted approach to reaching doctors actively seeking specific information or services. PPC also positions your brand strategically to convert their interest into meaningful actions.
By bidding on relevant keywords, your ads appear prominently in search engine results, ensuring visibility when doctors are in the decision-making phase. This strategy enhances the likelihood of conversions, as physicians are more likely to click on an ad that aligns precisely with their current needs or interests.
8. Create an Email Marketing Strategy for Physicians and Doctors
With their hectic schedules, doctors often rely on concise and relevant content delivered directly to their inboxes. Email marketing is an effective channel to enhance engagement, establish authority, and increase brand awareness. While most HCPs prefer email communications, it’s essential to distinguish your brand amidst the noise by crafting targeted, relevant content that captures their attention and offers value.
Segment email lists based on specialties, interests, and professional needs to successfully market to doctors. Personalization is critical, as it fosters a greater connection to your value offerings. Additionally, sharing valuable content such as industry insights, the latest medical advancements and research findings, and continuing education opportunities establishes credibility and fosters trust.
Consistency and timing are also vital; sending emails at optimal times on a regular schedule boosts engagement and keeps healthcare professionals informed and captivated by your offerings.
By prioritizing creating a targeted email marketing strategy, healthcare organizations can improve communication and marketing efforts to HCPs, ultimately improving patient care and advancing medical knowledge.
9. Leverage Geofencing to Target Doctors at Conferences
Industry conferences and in-person meetings can enhance strategies and add authenticity in a digital-first world. While these tactics can be costly from a financial and bandwidth standpoint, they can pay dividends if they’re woven strategically into online tactics such as geofencing technology. Geofencing allows advertisers to reach doctors in their workplace, at conferences, and where they spend the most time.
For example, a healthcare brand could launch a campaign aimed at doctors and physicians working at a particular hospital or healthcare executives attending an industry conference.
A representative from your brand can use an industry event as an opportunity to get face time with doctors to foster a relationship. Then, you can deploy follow-up ads in the coming weeks and months to reinforce the benefits HCPs can gain by working with you. Those digital ads will continue your story after they leave the conference.
10. Build a Data-focused Doctor Marketing Strategy
Crafting a data-focused marketing strategy is critical to reaching doctors effectively. First-party data has become an advertising game-changer by providing insights into doctors’ preferences, behaviors, and needs, enabling precise targeting and personalized campaigns. With the decline of third-party cookies, relying on first-party HCP data is a must. It allows marketers to target doctors by specialty and other relevant characteristics, providing interest in your ads.
To implement a successful data-focused doctor marketing strategy, activate first-party HCP data. Leverage this data to create targeted campaigns that resonate with doctors, driving meaningful engagement and optimizing advertising budgets.
Create Effective Strategies to Market to Doctors With Adfire Health
Implementing best practices to target doctors is paramount to achieving marketing goals. By tailoring strategies to align with doctors’ unique interests and recognize their expertise, agencies can optimize engagement and drive desired campaign goals. Partnering with a healthcare ad agency with access to doctor-marketing expertise and brand-safe HCP data, like Adfire Health, allows your healthcare brand to engage more doctors at a better price — and do it all without crossing any privacy or data-regulation lines. Speak with an Adfire Health representative today to learn how to market to HCPs in 2024 successfully.
At Adfire Health, we work with healthcare marketers to create optimized, highly effective, data-based digital engagement strategies. With Thumbprint™, our segmented data ecosystem of over 8.2 million healthcare professionals, we can offer nationwide 1:1 engagement and access to healthcare professionals.
We bring our years of hands-on experience to every new campaign and work with you to get the best results possible. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for your business.
- Taylor, N.P. (2023, April 13). Pharma passes tech to climb to 2nd place on ad spend leaderboard amid boom in digital promotions. Fierce Pharma. https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/pharma-passes-tech-climb-2nd-place-ad-spend-leaderboard-amid-boom-digital-promotions. Accessed January, 24, 2024.
- Yang, J. (2023, November 30). Number of patients that physicians in the U.S. saw per day from 2012 to 2018. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/613959/us-physicans-patients-seen-per-day/#:~:text=In%202018%20the%20largest%20percentage,malpractice%20could%20be%20a%20result. Accessed January 15, 2024.
- Statista. (2023, November 30). U.S. physician shortage predictions for 2032. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095062/predicted-physician-shortage-2032/#:~:text=By%20the%20year%202032%2C%20a,in%20the%20U.S.%20by%202032.
- Majidi, M. Statista Research Department. (2023, December 18). Connected TV advertising in the U.S. – Statistics & facts. Statista. https://www.statista.com/topics/8075/ctv-advertising-in-the-us/. Accessed January 15, 2024.