ing how long the ads run, the level of competition for the keywords you want to be associated with, and the geographic area you want to cover. It can be expensive but also lucrative in terms of generating clicks to your web- site or other content.

This matchup of immediate con- sumer intent and perfectly timed ad placement is what makes SEM so valuable for ASC marketing. Outside of a strong website, ASCs can make great strides in reaching potential patients by leveraging both paid and organic search.

Social Media Many marketing agencies are hawk- ing the value of having a strong social presence. While this is true for certain companies, it gets a little more com- plicated for ASCs. In general, it is dif- ficult to communicate any valuable information on Facebook, for instance, without first navigating a minefield of compliance issues, especially the Health

Insurance Portability and

Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Title II privacy regulations. If you can navigate those issues,

however, social media could provide another opportunity for your ASC to be more visible to your immedi- ate community, engage with poten- tial patients and brag about your suc- cesses. It also is possible that some of your physicians might already have active social profiles, and you will want to be sure that they are inte- grated into the profile of your ASC. Remember too that once your ASC is on social media, you do not neces- sarily control the conversation; you can only participate and steer. If you are thinking about using social media, consider working with a partner that can help you generate content on an ongoing basis and keep a fresh per- spective on how your ASC is different or special in some way, all the while being careful and compliant.


Once you have a patient inquiry, you should work to garner an email address so you can stay in contact. You can keep both patients and patient prospects up- to-date about developments at your facility, such as new physicians joining the practice, new services offered and new equipment. Email is an excellent add-on to any of your digital marketing activities because it is relatively inex- pensive and easy to scale and measure.

Mobile Display Advertising

Display ads, also called banner ads or interstitials, are an excellent way to ensure that a large number of peo- ple see your message. Like many other forms of advertising, the interaction time is short and, therefore, you must crystallize your most important mes- sage into the fewest words possible, usually by relating some core benefit to the potential patient. Display advertising is a paid market- ing channel, so you must choose care- fully where you advertise. For ASCs, there are limited places to advertise but since you can target by ZIP code, almost anywhere that your audience might be is likely to be a good match. Your ASC can advertise on other med- ical websites or on general health and wellness sites and, depending on your specific area of treatment, there might be

certain contextualized places to

advertise. For instance, if your ASC provides pediatric ear, nose and throat surgeries, you might want to place ads where parents are looking up various information for their children, like edu- cation sites and vacation sites. Remem- ber that ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, also are display advertising opportunities.


Similar to email, you can keep patients and anyone else who offers their mobile number up-to-date on your ASC through periodic text messag- ing. You might even consider devel- oping an app that allows patients to stay informed with calendar updates, reminders for follow-up visits and even individualized content, like vid- eos, rehab plans and therapy options.

Summary All ASCs should employ some com- bination of digital marketing activities if they want to capitalize on prospec- tive patients. While it might seem a lit- tle difficult to manage, digital market- ing is highly measurable, and you can see—often in real time—exactly how your marketing activity is performing. Start with a good hard look at your website, then carefully integrate at least two other channels to provide a frame- work for potential patients to become more educated on your ASC’s ser- vices and specialties. To be as effective as possible, consider engaging with a partner—like a marketing/advertising or digital services agency—that under- stands these channels and can handle the detail and labor associated with building this kind of marketing system.

Nader Ashway is the principal and creative director of moddern marketing in New York City, New York. Write him at nader@ with “ASCA article question” in the subject line.

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