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Increasing Awareness of Health Services Through Digital Marketing

By August 10, 2017December 5th, 2018In Other News


SFSH-STATS 371x522Digital marketing has quickly become the largest medium for advertising and the most effective way to target potential customers. In fact, paid search, display advertising, social media advertising, online video advertising, and email marketing are expected to account for almost 50 percent of all advertising impressions in the United States by 2021.

Knowing this trend, when HenkinSchultz was asked to partner with Midwest Digestive Health to increase awareness of its health services, the agency did so with a focus on digital marketing.


Midwest Digestive Health, a division of Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the digestive system. Known for innovative and personalized care, it attracts people from around the region who are seeking treatment for a number of different ailments, including everything from trouble swallowing to persistent stomach aches.

Wanting to increase awareness of its broad range of GI services, Midwest Digestive Health turned to HenkinSchultz to craft a marketing strategy that would reach potential patients. The agency gathered its digital team to discuss the appropriate strategic plan and how to best help more people find these digestive health services.


By gathering more information about Midwest Digestive Health, the latest marketing trends, and the healthcare industry in general, HenkinSchultz was able to determine the target audience for this campaign and begin to look at the best ways to reach them.

The agency decided Facebook and Instagram, as well as search, display, and retargeting ads were the best way to efficiently and effectively reach this target audience.

Since more than 80 percent of people between 18-49 use social media on a regular basis, advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be very effective with the right targeting methods.

Google advertising is an often-utilized tactic because companies continue to see the value it provides. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the platform, though, as even small changes can have a big impact.

For example, the average number of organic results on Google search pages has dropped from 10 to 8.5, in order to make room for more paid ads, images, and maps. This makes Google Search Ads more important than ever because less than 17 percent of people go past the first page of Google results when looking for services.

The agency used programmatic retargeting to deliver ads to web visitors after they left Midwest Digestive Health’s site. This programmatic ad campaign also had an AI feature that continually targeted potential new patients who were similar in demographic and behavior to current website visitors.

“Our clients need to have top-tier digital strategies, but don’t have the time to devote to the constantly changing industry. My job is to make sure they have an informed expert they can rely on.”

Emily SorensonDigital Marketing Director

HenkinSchultz also created a behavior-based digital ad campaign that targeted people who had previously indicated they suffer from digestive issues, or have credit card spend data that indicates they purchase products to relieve those symptoms.

“Keeping up with digital trends is the most important part of my job,” said Emily Sorenson, Digital Marketing Director. “Our clients need to have top-tier digital strategies, but don’t have the time to devote to the constantly changing industry. My job is to make sure they have an informed expert they can rely on.”

In addition to delivering ads throughout the Sioux Falls metro area, HenkinSchultz also targeted several smaller cities within a 200 mile radius in hopes of reaching a demographic that does not have access to in-town digestive health services.

Once the strategy was finalized, HenkinSchultz’s copywriters and designers made sure the ads would break through the clutter and reach potential patients. The team created a new branded campaign that talked about the topic in a way that was tastefully fun, without being offensive to those with a heightened sense of propriety.

HenkinSchultz used headlines such as “Memorized every bathroom in town?” and “Your middle matters” in order to approach the topic with a little levity and make it easier to discuss.


Midwest Digestive Health started running digital advertising in March 2017 as a way to kick off Colon Cancer Awareness Month. In just four months, these social media and digital ads delivered hundreds of thousands of impressions throughout the region and generated more than 2,100 patient leads for the specialty practice.

While all of the digital advertising tactics contributed to the success of the campaign, Google Search Ads were especially effective. People searching for digestive health-related keywords responded strongly to the ads, resulting in a click-through rate (CTR) of 2.18 percent, or 22 percent higher than the industry average.

Particularly impressive were search ads for diet-related digestive problems such as fructose and lactose intolerance. These ads had a CTR of 5.29 percent, or 195 percent higher than the industry average.

In addition to bringing in new patients, these digital ads helped provide data and insight that will make its future marketing efforts more efficient and effective. This helps ensure Midwest Digestive Health will continue to serve patients in the region for years to come.