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7 Fatal Facebook Marketing Mistakes Medical Professionals Make

Facebook marketing can be an ideal medium for medical professionals to connect with potential patients.

A recent report from the GWI showed that people spent an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media every day in 2019. 

But Facebook marketing is also complex, with many layers and settings that can be confusing to anyone unfamiliar with the platform. Many medical professionals like physicians, dentists, surgeons, plastic surgeons, chiropractors, med spa owners, and others are unaware of the deep pitfalls they can fall into if they do not understand how Facebook ads work, best practices, and potential risks. 

We’ve seen many well-meaning medical professionals waste significant amounts of money on Facebook without even realizing what was happening. Since wasted spend is pretty much our worst nightmare, we wanted to take the time to discuss 7 of the worst mistakes you can make if you are a medical professional advertising on Facebook – the 7 deadly sins, if you will, the 7 fatal Facebook marketing mistakes that can really kill your medical marketing efforts – and tell you how to avoid them!

1. Keeping your audience too small  

If you’re a medical professional, you want to target specific patients depending on your specialty. You don’t want to just serve Facebook ads to everyone within a 20-mile radius; the beauty of Facebook advertising is that you can decide who sees your ads, and you absolutely should take advantage of this in order to achieve a higher ROI.

You can target people based on age, sex, occupation, interests, marital status, education level, and more. For example, if you are a plastic surgeon, you may want to put yourself in front of a Millennial audience (as data is showing an increasing trend of younger people undergoing cosmetic procedures), but if you are an orthopedic surgeon, you are likely seeking out an older audience (who are struggling with joint pain). 

However, if you try to define your audience too narrowly, you will end up having an audience smaller than optimal size. When you create too small of an audience in Facebook, there are two possible outcomes, both of them negative. Either your ads will not be served at all (Facebook requires a certain audience size to serve ads), or they will be served too frequently to the same audience. This results in less engagement (or negative engagement because people are annoyed by constantly seeing your ads). Oversaturation results in a higher lead cost or in no leads at all. 

Avoid making this mistake by following Facebook’s suggestions for audience size; they will tell you during audience creation if you need to extend your criteria or if your audience is well-defined. 

2. Using all placements 

In an effort to satisfy the need of advertisers (including medical) to spend more of their budget on their platform, Facebook offers many different placements where you can serve your ads. You can advertise with Instagram posts, Instagram stories, Facebook stories, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Instant Articles, etc. But the best performing placements for medical professionals are typically directly in the newsfeed. While you can use multiple placements (and you should test them – the best performing placement for you may vary depending on your audience and your specialty), when you use the best performing placement to show your ads, you’ll spend less money on lower performing sources and see better results. 

3. Showing the same offer over long periods of time 

Suppose you advertise for an offer you think is truly terrific – a great deal with great value propositions that no sane person would possibly not want to take you up on. Within the first week, the lead cost is amazing, and you’re patting yourself on the back thinking that you’re going to make a lot of revenue from this campaign. But after several weeks, the lead cost goes up a little. And it keeps rising every day until it’s making you nervous. You try switching settings or budgets or bids, but none of that seems to make a difference. The lead cost is spiraling out of control. 

Why is this happening to you? Your current audience is tired of seeing the same offer so much. That’s what’s causing the shift in lead cost – lack of engagement or negative engagement. To combat ad staleness, you need to switch out your offers every few weeks, no matter how golden you think one may be. Keep them fresh, exciting, and new if you want to keep your audience engaged with your ads. 

Medical professionals luck out in this area because there are so many different services you can offer discounts or deals on. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, check out what your competition is offering with the Facebook Ad Library or consult with a marketing agency who can advise you on which offers perform best.

4. Not experimenting with new audiences

Great audiences can get stale just like great offers. If you find a good demographic that works for you, that’s great – use it – but don’t expect it to last (although audience life tends to be a little longer than special offers).  It’s always a good idea to diversify your audiences portfolio. Try targeting people in different locations or who have different interests related to the medical services you offer. Get creative – if you’re advertising around the holidays, target people looking to buy gifts for their spouses, grandparents, or other family members.

5. Scaling too fast 

This is a common mistake we often see medical professionals making. When you run Google ads, scaling is straightforward, but Facebook ads are more delicate. Unless you have a massive audience, you need allocate budget slowly. Bringing in new consults is exciting, but scale incrementally. If you double your budget suddenly, it will throw your Facebook algorithm off and they will likely over-deliver your ads, causing your cost to go up but not bringing in more leads. We recommend increasing your budget at 10-20% intervals. 

6. Not following up on leads or not cross-selling 

Getting great leads is just half the battle. If your practice does not have a follow up strategy in place, the leads will quickly die off. Go after these leads; contact them immediately. You need to know that your reception staff is trained and skilled at answering patients’ questions and discovering more about their needs so you can determine what services they may need right now and what services they may be interested in in the future. 

7. Giving up on Facebook too quickly/never trying it  

Sometimes we hear medical professionals complain about the lead quality or performance that they’ve seen when they tried Facebook Ads. But Facebook definitely works, and it can work for you. The quality of leads and performance depend on how the ads were being run, the offers that were advertised, and the content of the ads, and many other factors. In order for you to get the right results from Facebook, you need to have a cohesive funnel that targets your desired audience. Don’t give up on what could be your most profitable lead source after one bad experience!

Have questions about more tips regarding Facebook marketing for medical professionals? We’ve got you covered! Empirical360 is a Google Premier Partner that specializes in managing ads for all kinds of medical professionals. We know what it takes to get a high return on your investment and grow your practice! Contact us today for a free consultation. 



Shea Antonucci - Author

Director of Content Marketing

Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!