Because regenerative medicine is a newer field, and treatments are generally nonsurgical in nature, the approach to marketing this type of practice is a bit different than what we would recommend for a surgical practice.
Whether you are a practice that solely focuses on regenerative medicine, or an orthopedic practice that offers regenerative medicine as a potential treatment option, marketing these services is different than marketing an already-established procedure.
For one, most patients will have limited or no knowledge of regenerative medicine options since they are relatively new. Part of marketing the procedure is building awareness of these options and how they can help. The other issue you have to combat is that insurance plans will not cover regenerative medicine procedures, so patients will have to pay out of pocket.
This is a topic our company president, Scott Zeitzer, discussed in a presentation at the 2019 Orthopaedic Summit meeting. The panel, called “Achieving and Maintaining Success in Practice: Are You Ready?”, covered the business needs of a regenerative medicine practice, in addition to marketing. Scott recapped the meeting in Episode 23 of our podcast.
With all of that said, the goal is finding the patients that are the right fit for regenerative medicine procedures. The key is structuring your marketing plans to get in front of these patients.
1. Focus on conditions treated, rather than the treatments themselves.
Because regenerative medicine treatments are newer, patients may not know enough to seek them out by name. Furthermore, the regenerative treatments that are more known, like stem cells and PRP, are offered by a lot of different clinics for a variety of uses, so there is a lot of competition to contend with.
By focusing instead on what you treat, you can help potential patients better understand what you do and the benefits of regenerative medicine. You might consider using phrases like “alternative treatments,” “avoiding surgery,” and “injections for pain relief,” as these are common phrases that are used by patients. We recommend adding content on your key treatment areas, then explain the recommended regenerative treatments for each of those conditions and why they help.
It’s also important to focus on your experience and training. There are several clinics who offer regenerative medicine procedures, and many of them are not specialized and are not basing their recommendations on relevant research and training. This is a way to differentiate yourself from all of the other clinics out there and make patients feel more comfortable with seeing you.
2. Be clear about insurance coverage.
We recommend that all of the practices we work with have a page that explains the insurance plans they work with. However, since regenerative medicine is not covered by insurance, the approach needs to be a bit different. This is especially true if your practice only offers regenerative medicine.
Some patients simply may not have the means or the desire to pay out of pocket for treatment. For this reason, we recommend that you have an “Insurance” page that explains why regenerative medicine is not covered by insurance. On the same page, you can also explain how regenerative medicine may be a more cost-effective option for patients who have high deductibles and may otherwise need costly surgery.
You don’t have to list your prices, but this information helps patients make a decision on whether or not they want to try regenerative medicine. Plus, it helps you pre-qualify patients before they make an appointment because they already understand that they’ll have to pay cash.
3. Online advertising options are limited, but it is still possible to explore advertising through the right platforms.
Many orthopedic practices turn to Google Ads to attract more patients to their practices because paid search ads have a high level of intent and generally result in more patient appointments than other networks. However, many advertising platforms limit the advertising of regenerative medicine procedures. In fact, Google Ads outright bans practices from advertising regenerative medicine procedures, along with any other procedures that are not FDA approved for certain treatment areas.
While Google Ads isn’t a viable option for regenerative medicine at this time, social media ads can help build awareness about your treatment options. We have run Facebook ad campaigns focusing on regenerative medicine for clients with no issue. Depending on your target audience, Instagram ads could work, as well.
While social media ads tend to be lower-converting than paid search ads, they can help to build awareness of these newer procedures that many potential patients don’t know about. As with your website content, we recommend focusing on the condition rather than the treatment itself. Social media ads show up in the news feeds of those targeted by the campaign, so you have to choose ads that will catch their attention. People are much more likely to pay attention to an ad offering a solution to their problem than they are on an ad that focuses on a treatment they’ve never heard of.
Because regenerative medicine is being studied so closely, the approach to marketing these procedures will very likely evolve over time. With any new procedure, practices have to be ready to adapt their strategies over time as things change. Regenerative medicine may become more commonplace over time, and eventually some of the advertising restrictions may be lifted, opening your practice up to more marketing options. By staying up to date on the latest marketing guidelines, your practice can stay ahead of the curve.