Making Gmail Ads Part of Your Medical Practice’s Digital Marketing Strategy

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Highly targeted and customizable, Gmail ads are an effective way to reach the inboxes of potential patients.

On average, consumers spend 2.5 hours checking their email each day. Factor in Gmail’s 1.5 billion monthly active users, and Gmail advertising has the potential to reach vast numbers of potential patients as they browse through the day’s messages.

Gmail ads are popular among retail companies offering promotions, but they can also provide unique value for healthcare providers. As part of the Google Ads platform, Gmail ads offer advanced targeting capabilities that can help medical marketers drive clicks and conversions. Further, even though they help build valuable brand awareness, bidding for these ads tends to be less competitive than for typical search ads.

Here’s what you need to know about advertising your medical practice on Gmail — and how to create content that keeps users engaged.

How Gmail Ads Work

Gmail ads appear at the top of the Promotions tab in a user’s inbox. They look like a regular email, but are marked by a small box reading, “Ad.” Most include an image and a call to action, as well as a sidebar describing the ad content. Gmail ads are highly customizable, but most marketers decide to use an image combined with a compelling call to action.

To build a Gmail ad, first open the Google Ads platform, then follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Campaigns.
  2. Click the “+” button to add a new campaign.
  3. Choose your goal: sales, leads, or website traffic (or, select a campaign goal after you create your campaign).
  4. Select “Display” for “Campaign Type.”
  5. Choose “Gmail Campaign.”
  6. Build your ad.

Once you’ve created your ad, you’ll want to make sure it’s displayed to the right users. Google offers a few different strategies for effective audience targeting. They include:

Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting allows you to show ads to users who express interest in relevant keywords or phrases. These might range from “orthopedic surgery” to “Phoenix, AZ.” Medical marketers may even want to target keywords related to their competitors, and then serve ads offering their services as an alternative.

Audience Targeting

You can target specific audiences by uploading lists of patients, subscribers, and more. Medical practices can also leverage this feature to target users who have engaged with their website or previous ad content. To expand your reach even further, Google Ads can create similar audiences based on existing email lists.

Demographic Targeting

As a medical practice, your ideal audience is anyone who is likely to visit your website and make an appointment. While you’re probably very familiar with your patient demographics, you might be surprised by who is actually visiting your website. For instance, while your practice may work primarily with elderly patients, their younger children may be the ones who tend to visit your site and book appointments.

To target these users, you can use Google Analytics to determine who is converting on your website. After identifying your key demographics, update your demographic targeting settings in Google Ads to serve ads to potential patients that meet these parameters.

Gmail Ads Best Practices for Medical Marketers

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll want to follow a few best practices to create the most effective ads for your medical practice. First, keep in mind that the headline/subject line of your ad can only be 25 characters, so it’s important to convey your message in as few words as possible. In addition to being concise, the copy should read like a compelling email subject line and not a search ad headline.

To determine how well your Gmail ads are performing, there are a few key metrics to pay attention to: Gmail Forwards, Gmail Saves, and Gmail Clicks to Website. Gmail Clicks to Website is particularly useful because it only counts users who click on your ad and then visit your website — as opposed to those who open the ad and bounce.

As a strategic component of a comprehensive digital marketing plan, Gmail ads can help medical practices connect with — and ultimately convert — new patients. They reach users who are already in the Promotions tab, meaning they are likely looking to make a purchase or book a service. Plus, by utilizing the channel’s advanced targeting capabilities, you can attract audiences that are relevant, engaged, and more likely to schedule an appointment at your practice.

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