Big Marketing on a Small Budget

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media , April 27, 2011

Other health systems have websites boasting patient success stories and examples of what services they offer. The upside of funneling some of this information into a blog that requires registration can allow marketers to appropriately measure who chooses their services as a result. They can even cross-check names when patients check-in to see which ones are signed up for the blog.

Genesis spent $16,000 on media advertising ---a flexible number based upon the health system’s financial resources. The same goes for allocated staff time and resources. The bloggers were not compensated, but their work time spent on the blog must be factored into expenses. Here's the breakdown according to A Marketer’s Guide to Measuring ROI:

  • Blog development --- $1,000
  • Staff time --- $2,500
  • Media advertising --- $16,000
  • Total = $19,500

Genesis tracked new patients resulting from this effort by asking new registrants for the bariatric surgery program if they used the blog. Factoring out business they would have received anyway --- the total of new cases as a result of the campaign was 30. The average net revenue per case is $1,500:

        Net Revenue ($45,000) – marketing expense ($19,500)

        Marketing expense ($19,500)

= ROI% (131%)

More Quick ROI tips:
  • Factor out business you would have received anyway.
  • Designate a time period in which you expect the efforts to pay off
  • Designate a service you can measure (to the best of your ability)
  • Measure net revenue derived from patient volumes

The resulting positive ROI (131%) of the bariatric surgery blog shows it did, in fact, boost patient volume for Genesis Health System.

Here's another tip: Provide a section for the patient to enter a patient identification number. This way, the fact that they follow the blog can be included on their electronic medical record (EMR). This way, data is centralized and easy to find.

Genesis Health System's blogs are an example of a marketing effort that is well-connected. Staff act as bloggers and champions of the services, a simple questionnaire at check-in helps monitor blog patient volume, and media efforts promoting the blog also help to boost awareness.

How do you measure your marketing ROI? Discuss in our comments section below.

Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Anna Webster, Online Content Coordinator for HealthLeaders Media, can be reached at
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