What is Geofencing? | Healthcare Success

When it comes to marketing, location is everything—especially for health systems and providers. Today’s healthcare consumers expect high-quality options close to where they live or work.

And healthcare marketers are always looking for the most cost-effective channels to reach them.

Location data has been a hot topic in the digital space for years, but the way marketers use that data is constantly evolving.

Tactics like geofencing leverage location data from mobile devices, allowing healthcare marketers to reach consumers or providers in their local communities.

Adding geofencing into your marketing mix gives you a treasure trove of location-based data, better opportunities to promote your services/brand, and more real time engagement with your target audience.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What geofencing is
  • 5 benefits of geofencing for healthcare businesses
  • Creative use cases of geofencing in healthcare advertising
  • How it fits into your larger marketing campaign

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is a location-based service that triggers a pre-set action to devices inside a virtual boundary.

This means you can send in-app push notifications, text messages, and targeted advertisements on social media to consumer or provider devices anytime they cross into, out of, or through a specific boundary.

Geofencing marketing is a terrific tool to target nearby consumers who are likely to use your service because of proximity, demographics, or brand affinity.

Do You Need an App to Set Up Geofencing?

No, but apps can help you deliver marketing messages to a hyper-specific audience. If you have a mobile app for your business, you can set up geofencing to send push notifications to those who have your app installed on their mobile device anytime they enter your virtual boundary.

However, if your hospital or medical practice does not have a mobile app, you can still set up (and enjoy the benefits of) geofencing.

Using Google Ads, you can assign several demographic parameters and define where your ads will appear (e.g., Google search results, YouTube, and social media). This method also gives marketers the opportunity to define additional levels of targeting, such as keyword targeting.

What Locations Can You Target With Geofencing?

Unlike real fences, geofences can be any size or shape. These areas can be large and include multiple zip codes, or they can be very small and precise, like an office building, healthcare conference, or event. They can even be a straight line between two points.

According to Google, “near me” searches originating from mobile devices have grown by over 200% in the last two years. 

This means people are looking for high-quality, local services everywhere, all the time. 

Healthcare marketers can set up a virtual boundary around their hospital or medical practice to target local consumers or providers anytime they’re nearby. They can also define when their ads will appear to ensure they are only seeing their marketing messages during business hours.

What’s more, healthcare businesses can also target consumers and providers in and around their competitors.

5 Benefits of Geofencing Marketing for Healthcare Businesses

Location-based marketing has many benefits for healthcare brands and marketers. They include:

1. Increased foot traffic

Target your local community as they walk past your office or, better yet, your competitor’s offices. Share special promotions to increase brand awareness and draw in more traffic.

2. Better crowd engagement

Location-based advertising, like geofencing, allows businesses to share the right content at the right time. For example, companies can drive traffic to their convention booth by promoting when they will hold in-person raffles, live demos, or giveaways.

3. Ability to hyper-target competitors’ customers: 

Setting up a virtual perimeter around competitor offices hyper-targets high-value patients in your local community. Healthcare businesses can offer special promotions for first-time patients or promote popular products or services your competitor may not offer.

4. Improved understanding of consumer behavior

Unlike typical online marketing, geotargeted ads allow businesses to collect data about high-intent healthcare consumers in real time. Once enough data is collected, companies can leverage this information to improve their advertising strategies and increase conversions.

5. More cost-effective

You may have heard that location-based advertising is costly. While the average cost-per-mile ad is higher than the average cost-per-click ad, the fact that you can hyper-target geographic locations makes them highly cost-effective. When deployed correctly, geofencing marketing helps businesses reach a large concentration of high-intent consumers or providers, helping you increase sales and revenue.

Ethical Considerations

The main ethical concern with location-based ads is privacy. Laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protect private consumer data. This data includes any information that can directly or indirectly identify a person (e.g., name, address, phone number, email address, etc.).

Most location-based ads generate anonymous data. However, location data is still categorized as personal information in the CCPA and GDPR. 

Businesses can protect themselves and implement geofencing by giving their app users a choice to opt in or out of location services and store notifications.

Creative Use Cases of Geofencing in Healthcare Advertising 

Geofencing is a highly effective marketing tool for the healthcare industry. 

Here are a few examples to inspire your next campaign:

  • Hospitals
    A medical supply company could use geofencing for advertising surgical masks, hospital gowns, uniforms, and scrubs to healthcare professionals at specific hospitals.
  • Medical Practices and Urgent Care Centers
    Medical practices and urgent care centers can use geofencing marketing to target healthcare consumers entering competitor practices and centers in the same neighborhood.
  • Specialty Centers
    Healthcare marketers could employ geofencing around specific specialty centers to attract more attendees to an upcoming conference using a special discount.
  • Mental Health & Addiction Treatment Centers
    A meditation or online therapy app could promote their convenient online services to healthcare consumers and professionals at specific mental health and addiction treatment center locations.
  • Assisted Living Facilities
    Insurance companies could leverage geofencing around skilled nursing homes to promote low-cost alternatives to residents and their families.
  • Industry Conferences and Expos
    A medical device company could promote its products to healthcare conference attendees, advertise its booth number and location, and offer free demos. 
  • Non-Industry Conferences and Expos
    An OBGYN practice could promote its services to non-healthcare conference attendees (e.g., bridal expos). 

How Does Geofencing Marketing Fit Into Your Larger, Integrated Marketing Strategy?

The rise of healthcare consumerism has required businesses in every industry to deliver high-quality, personalized experiences online and off. While personalized retention strategies are essential for competing in today’s healthcare market, geofencing allows businesses to target and attract high-quality leads and prospects.

Location-based marketing lets you make the most of your content, campaigns, and promotions. When you send hyper-targeted notifications at the right time and place, you’re focusing on the consumers who are most likely to engage and take action.

For example, a DSO marketing their new All-On-4 dental implant on their website, social media platforms, paid search ads, and landing pages can leverage geofencing to hyper-target their local audience or passersby during business hours. This allows the DSO to be more strategic and maximize its advertising dollars. 

Making the most out of your advertising budget is essential for geofencing marketing campaigns as they range from $3.50 to $15 CPM (cost per mile), whereas the average cost per click on Google Ads is $3.78 to $4.00.

Talk to one of our skilled senior marketing strategists if you want to take your marketing to the next level. We can help maximize your budget and attract high-quality leads to your business by integrating geofencing into your marketing mix.