The fertility options available to patients struggling with conception are greater than ever. Effective marketing of your fertility clinic is key in helping your patients progress on their path to treatment.
Interest in fertility treatments is higher than ever. According to treatents grew threefold in the United States from 25,000 in 1996, to 75,000 in 2016.These numbers continue to exponentially grow as awareness and sympathetic backing of fertility options increases and as reproductive science advances.
(Pew Research Center)
The interest is there. Now you need to market your clinic to make it accessible for patients at every stage of their fertility journeys.
Infertility Marketing is a delicate science.
For many, fertility is incredibly personal and unknown to even their closest family and friends. You need to tread lightly by giving your patients space to privately learn their options before they will book a treatment.
More than other types of medical clinics, you are walking a line between offering hope and realistic expectations of your patients’ chances of success with your treatments.
Don’t over-promise in your marketing. As you well know, not every patient that gets IVF will get their hoped-for outcome. If your patients feel that they were promised success and then it doesn’t happen, the heartache and negative ripples of their experiences on future bookings are multiplied.
Your marketing needs to highlight the hope of success stories, while also not being deceptive about your patient’s chances.
Instead of over-promising results, your goal should be to give your prospective patients the right information at the right time. The initial experiences with your clinic should be about education, not necessarily about getting them to book.
While there’s a lot of information you could share, you need to be intentional with how you deliver your information. Done poorly, your would-be patients can become discouraged and overwhelmed. Done well, your patients will be encouraged to go further down the path to treatment with your practice.
For example, the cost of IVF should probably not be the first information given about your treatments. Would-be patients often come to you with hesitation and heaviness, and the staggering cost can quickly shut down a conversation. Instead of jumping to a number like $12,000 for one IVF cycle, your prospective patients need to learn that IVF is ONE option, but the best course for them might be education on when to have intercourse, medication like clomifene, donor gametes, etc. IVF isn’t right for everyone. There is a group that wished they had learned more about it sooner and a group that felt pushed into it before exploring other less invasive options.
Fertility paths that lead to conception, adoption, etc. are different for each person and couple. Your clinic’s marketing needs to empathetically and professionally show the range of options available to your patients, and encourage your patients on in their fertility journey.
This guide will go over how to use some of the main marketing channels (SEO, Email, Google Paid Ads and Social Media) to inform and meet your prospective patients where they are on their fertility path.
The importance of your clinic’s website can not be overstated. Your fertility clinic needs to be ranking high on Google so would-be patients can FIND YOUR PRACTICE in their fertility research.
SEO (search engine optimization) is a series of actions you can take to make your website accessible to patients seeking your services.
Keep in mind that the internet is the primary gateway for prospective patients to find information and discreetly begin their fertility journey. Because of fertility’s private nature, most patients will avoid face-to-face appointments for as long as possible. Your clinic’s website can be the initial haven for research and considering treatment options.
So what can you do to rank well and become that haven? SEO all begins with your content. Focus on providing helpful and digestible content for your patients. Educate your patients right away that there are multiple routes to combat infertility including medicine, surgery, and assisted conception. Explain that medicines such as Clomifene, Tamoxifen, Gonadotrophins, etc. can help stimulate women’s ovulation. Alternatively, surgical procedures such as Fallopian tube surgery, Laparoscopic surgery, etc. can remove any physical obstacles that are leading to infertility. Lastly, assisted conception can be the best path whether it’s through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, or ultimately connecting with a donor. Whatever their routes, empathetically talk about your patients’ fertility journeys through every stage of their experience.
Not only will patients feel more able to move forward after learning their options, but your website will rank better too. Google highly ranks content that provides clear treatment comparisons because they help your patients weigh and navigate their real-life decisions.
In addition to treatment comparisons, make sure to address frequently asked questions. A FAQ page will be some of your most viewed content. Many in the first steps of researching their options don’t know what questions to ask yet and find what others are asking to be helpful. Always provide clear guidance on what steps they can take (Calls to Action). In all you do, make sure you are writing to your patients’ needs.
Only when you have content that is rich in value to your patients, should you move on to tactical search engine optimizations that will improve your ranking and readability. For one, make your content digestible with clear headers that include the phrases (keywords) that your patients are searching for. Don’t overstuff keywords, but provide headers that will help your patients find the content they are looking for and improve your google ranking.
In addition, link to only the highest quality sources within your content. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile usability through simple optimizations like compressing your image size. (To learn more, visit our comprehensive guide on SEO).
Search Engine Optimization is a crucial part of your marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter how great your clinic is if your would-be patients can’t find you online. Optimize your website!
Now that you have strengthened your content, you need to direct potential patients to your site!
Google Paid Ads is the go-to marketing tool to reach new patients. How do Ads work? You will need to bid on keywords that you think your potential base will be searching for like “fertility clinics near me.” When a patient types in that keyword on google, your ad will appear. From there, your ads will work on a pay-per-click basis. Only when a prospective patient clicks your ads will you be charged.
After you’ve set up your ads, choose a budget and launch.
Broad keywords will generally reach those in the first steps of their fertility journey seeking information. The ads for these keywords should build awareness of your clinic and offer helpful resources like downloadable content or webinars about specific treatments.
On the other hand, more specific keywords will target patients further along on the treatment path who are looking to book. Your ads tied to specific keywords should guide would-be patients to book treatments.
Google ads are especially effective for fertility clinics. Because of fertility’s private nature, your prospective patients are generally not turning to friends and family for referrals. A well-placed ad can perfectly reach a patient that is researching fertility options on their own.
Google Ads are well worth the slice of your clinic’s budget. Reach new patients and increase awareness of your clinic by becoming accessible in your would-be patients’ web searches.
*Expert Tip: While Google Ads can be highly effective, it’s also easy to burn money without seeing results. Remember, fertility keywords are competitive. Working with an experienced marketer can help you maximize results and skip over pitfalls that are likely to come without experience. Choose an experienced partner to run Google Ads for your fertility practice.
Would-be fertility patients want information. Before they will step a foot into your practice, most patients want at least a general understanding of their fertility options. Promotional and educational e-mails are a great way to give your prospective patients the knowledge they need to move forward with their fertility treatments.
One of the first CTA’s (calls to action) on your site should be to sign up for your clinic’s emails. Depending on where your patient is in their fertility journey, they might need different content. For example, those who are interacting with your clinic for the first time could be included in a welcome series that introduces the members of your clinic, highlights the key differentiators of your fertility practice, and goes over treatment specialties. Alternately an educational series that goes over frequently asked questions, overviews treatments, or details a treatment experience can be just what your patient needs. Read our guide on email marketing to learn more.(Guide on email marketing)
In addition to prospective patients, tailor outgoing e-mails for general practice physicians. Always keep in mind that the majority of your patient base will come through referrals from other doctors. Patients will first bring their fertility questions to their general practice physicians, who will then refer them as they need more specialized reproductive care.
Your patients’ regular doctors CARE about getting their patients the best help available. E-mails from your clinic are a great way to 1) educate doctors about what is developing in the continuously advancing field of reproductive health and 2) persuade doctors that your fertility clinic is worthy of their referrals as a professional and dedicated practice.
Don’t let Google be your patient’s only source for information on their fertility journey. Build trust and direct would-be patients to your practice through helpful and informative emails.
More than any other medical community, your infertility patients depend on each other through the ups and downs of their treatments.
Your patients look for hope from others’ testimonials that their daily shots etc. can be worth it in the end. On the other hand, they also need comfort to keep going or explore other options when their hoped-for outcome doesn’t happen. Whatever the results, they need to know they are not alone.
Through Social Media, your practice can help facilitate the social support that your patients need. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are great platforms to create a community for you and your patients to give support and interact.
We’ll go over two aspects (your clinic's platforms, and influencer collaboration) that can help build the community your patients need.
Those who know someone who has received treatment, whether in person or online, are more likely to move forward with their own treatment.
Create a space to share personal experiences by regularly highlighting and reposting user-generated content (any post or other content that is created by your patients and NOT your practice). Share your patients’ stories, posts, and testimonials. This content markets your practice and creates connections for your patients with others in similar situations.
Post frequently. Your patients are likely following a range of clinics and fertility influencers. Help your clinic stand out and build brand recognition through regularly delivering content (at least 3 times a week). Vary your content between traditional posts, video content offering a real-time view into your practice, polls, etc.
Educate your patient base. Social media is increasingly becoming a platform for research. The negative side of this is that your patients are often being influenced by information from unsourced or potentially untrue information. Use your platforms to educate! Highlight your doctors and give them opportunities to educate your patient base from a reliable source.
Engage often. Make the effort to engage back whenever a patient engages with your practice. Even if it’s just a share or smiley face, make the effort to like or respond to their comments with something as simple as a “thank you.” Strive to respond to Direct Messages as quickly as possible.
In all you do on Social Media, show your patients you are there for them!
Fertility Influencers are THRIVING on Social Media.
There’s long been a need for personal and outside-of-practice content when it comes to infertility. Influencers are filling this gap by sharing their patient journey in a very straightforward and often vulnerable manner. Would-be-patients TRUST the honest “I”m going to tell you how it really is” influencer approach. Patients gain from following their setbacks and triumphs while also navigating their own decisions.
So how can your clinic tap into the value that influencers offer? Seek to work with influencers! Recommend and ask for permission to share influencer content with your base. If possible, create content together. For example, a live discussion on an Instagram Video with one of your doctors and an influencer could go far with your existing base and also bring in new patients.
Here are three popular fertility accounts that showcase the appeal of fertility influencers. In the case of infertility, being “local” is less important than having a large following. Infertility patients are often willing to travel, so try to collaborate with influencers that have the widest reach.
This couple’s account is ideal for those dealing with long-term infertility.
This account compiles firsthand stories of hope from a range of different infertility experiences.
A great example of a personal and raw account of life with IVF.
Never forget that Social Media can take on a huge role in filling your patients’ need for community. Both on your practice’s platforms and through influencer collaboration, create the social media community your patients need to move forward with their infertility treatments.
You can help your patients progress along their sensitive fertility journeys. With the least amount of mental and emotional cost, you can educate your patients to and through the treatments that are right for their unique situations.
As you utilize SEO, Google Paid Ads, Email’s, and Social Media you will reach new patients seeking your services and see increased engagement. Your marketing can put your practice in the right place to aid your patients down their paths to fertility treatment.