Marketing Bariatric/Weight-Loss Surgery Online

We all know that obesity has reached crisis proportions in America today. One in three American adults is overweight, as well as one in six children. Recently, the federal government declared that obesity is a disease, and its unfortunate consequences cost Americans $147 billion annually.

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is a revolutionary—and profitable—surgery that literally fixes obesity. The patient wins (as weight loss is almost assured), and the hospital wins, as it can charge up to $30,000 for the surgery. Put simply, a smaller stomach leads to less hunger, and less hunger leads to less food intake. As the Affordable Care Act takes effect, hospitals are going to rely on profitable surgeries like the gastric bypass to subsidize areas of the hospital that are losing money, like the emergency department.

So, if your hospital is thinking about marketing your bariatric offerings to the wider public, here are some tactics to get you started:

  • Pay-per-click: With an estimated contribution margin of $15,000, your hospital can easily afford to advertise via pay-per-click marketing. If only 1 in 10 people who click your ad actually fill out your online form, and 1 in 10 of them actually goes under the knife, that means 1 in 100 clicks will actually turn into a patient. So, doing some quick math, that means you could spend up to $150 per click and still make a profit. There are many affordable products offered by search engines that should drive clicks for far less than $150 apiece, and that’s where having your pay-per-click campaigns managed by an agency like Fathom makes a lot of sense.
  • Search-engine optimization: Undertaking an invasive surgery like bariatrics is a big decision, and potential patients are going to have questions and concerns. And, like everyone else, they’ll go to search engines to find those answers. Does the content on your website help your department get found? Once a potential patient lands on your site, are they able to find the content that speaks to them? Optimizing your website through SEO is about providing valuable content that potential patients are looking for, so they feel comfortable choosing your hospital over your competitors.
  • Marketing automation: As patients get more and more sophisticated, they are going to take longer and longer to decide which provider gets their business. You can build trust with your prospects and stay top-of-mind through marketing automation—or what I like to call “email 2.0.” These emails adapt to the behavior, demographics, and interests of each recipient, allowing for truly personalized, one-to-one communication on a mass scale. As bariatrics brings in literally millions of dollars for major hospitals, isn’t it worth investing in the technology that can make the difference for your patients?

About Matthew Fieldman

With 12 years of experience working in nonprofits all over the world, Matt became a leader in Fathom’s healthcare practice in 2012. Matt’s healthcare clients include organizations from small regional addiction recovery centers to massive hospital systems, from regional health insurance providers to the nation’s largest provider of senior assisted living solutions. Matt’s educational background includes earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida in 2000, a Master’s in Business Administration from The George Washington University in 2005, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. He attended the 2013 Mayo Clinic Social Media Residency in June 2013 and spoke at the Greystone Healthcare Internet Conference in November 2013. Matt is an alum of Cleveland Bridge Builders 2011, was named as an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow, and was selected to Cleveland’s “25 Under 35.”