Why Do Medical and Healthcare Websites Spend More on Marketing?

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An online survey was conducted to 668 American small and medium-sized businesses in October 2013, a huge portion of these businesses (reached over 20%) categorized themselves as being part of the Health & Medical Industry.

Respondents are comprised of many healthcare professionals such as general physicians, psychologists, pharmacies, dentists, mental health professionals and chiropractors. The queries are related to their outlook, use of mobile and Internet marketing, and their involvement with search agencies. On a positive note it was found they use their time more on marketing than other small-scale businesses.

Below are responses from the Health & Medical SMB survey and looked for similar responses to the all-industry results:

Q1. How Much Money Do You Allocate To Marketing Your Business Each Month?

Key Findings:

  1.  Money spent on marketing: $475/month which is 16% more than the average in all-industries
  2. Businesses allocate $1,000/month and more, compared to all industries which are only 7%


Health & Medical SMBs have more allocation on marketing than the normal small and medium-sized business. In this industry, a customer’s value can be very high -- this can be from treatments or a specialist, so it’s safe to say that businesses in the healthcare and medical industry tops as spending more money on marketing than the average SMB.

Therefore, the healthcare and medical industry is great for marketing and search agencies to look after; however, the purchase volume is low and time frame from queries to sale can be long.

Q2. What Percentage Of Your Marketing Money Do You Spend On Mobile Or Internet Marketing?

Key findings:

1.Money allocated for marketing budget on Internet marketing shows as 42% by SMB. All industries show as 46%


Health or Medical SMB shows a significantly lower percentage vs all industries when it comes to Internet marketing. Below are possible conclusions that can be interpreted also as:

  1. Online marketing is simply not that thoroughly effective for healthcare businesses (also refer to Charts in Q3).
  2. Effective offline marketing is preferred and more practiced, though this is unlikely
  3. A lot of medical professionals simply aren’t knowledgeable enough about search marketing.


Q3. Which Of The Following Marketing Channels Are Most Effective At Bringing You New Leads & Customers?

Key Findings:

  1. The most effective marketing channel and is selected by 29.5% of the respondents is word-of-mouth; across all industries show only a percentage of 26%
  2. The second most effective marketing channel is SEO, at 17% compared to 19% across all industries
  3. On PPC (or pay-per-click marketing) only 1% of businesses claimed that it was an effective medium when it comes to acquiring customers


It’s not surprising that the most preferred marketing channel is word-to-mouth and is considered traditional marketing, which solidly applies more so to the Health and Medical industry (29.5%)  than the average SMB (26%). It’s also worthy to note and mention that many of the customers/patients tend to heed the advice of family and friends, or colleagues first before considering going to see a medical expert. That said, personal recommendations play a major part in customers before seeking medical care.

In addition, traditional offline marketing holds a very strong position strong in this industry. Channels such as paper directories, newspapers, flyers and other advertising do as much, similar to digital channels in the likes of mobile marketing and email marketing.

Pay-per-click (PPC) was the least performing channel, with only 1% of respondents with businesses claiming it was an effective channel for them. Aggregating the channels into online and offline, it can be seen that offline channels are proven to be much more effective.

Key Findings:

  1. Offline marketing is still practiced by many SMB, and deemed as the most effective channel
  2. Online channels only got 44.8% votes compared to 54.1% on all industries

Q4. Do You Have A Mobile Ready/Mobile Optimized Website?

Key Findings:

  1. 42% of the respondents claim to have a mobile site compared to 59% across all industries
  2. 39% of the respondents claim they do not have a mobile site compared to 26% across all industries


Health and Medical businesses are already getting behind from other industries in mobile; only 17% of businesses have an optimized/mobile-ready site, and many of them are not even certain if they do. Because of the medical industry’s nature of service, it is no surprise that going mobile may be given little to no consideration at all.

Selecting the research phase is lengthy and more focused, so the final selection is very much considered.

As one becomes future-oriented, the health and medical industry is split on the significance of mobile and mobile marketing to their business.

Key Findings:

  1. Respondents (55%) claim that mobile is going to be an important medium compared to 77% across all industries
  2. Respondents (45%) are either uncertain about mobile and mobile marketing, or simply have  thought going mobile is even necessary to their business

In a quarterly research (Q2 2012 to Q3 2013) done by RKG, it appears that one quarter of all organic visits are mainly from mobile devices, yet this is one part where health/medical SMBs are getting behind other industries.

Q5. How Many Times Per Week Are You Contacted By An Internet/SEO Agency?

Key Findings:

  1. 27%of the respondents are contacted and communicate with Internet/SEO agencies compared to 32% across all industries
  2. 18% of the respondents say two to three times a week  compared to 25% across all industries
  3. 21% of the respondents say they are rarely contacted compared to 12% across all industries


It can be concluded that healthcare and medical SMBs are not often contacted by internet marketing companies than SMBs from other industries.

Once more, there are plenty of conclusions that could be made from this. It’s been shown that health/medical SMBs are not that enthusiastic about internet marketing compared to SMBs from other industries, so it could be safe to suggest that this has gone through to agencies, who have become more hesitant to fully concentrate with a target market that proved to be not being quite receptive in the previous years.


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