Should You Advertise Your Urgent Care Startup on a Billboard?

Should You Advertise Your Urgent Care Startup on a Billboard?

You’re starting an urgent care center and are ready to promote it on a big, bright billboard. But is a billboard really the best use of your new clinic’s marketing dollars?

Before investing in billboard advertising, make sure you understand how to strategically use this marketing tactic to maximize your urgent care startup’s marketing messaging.

When an Urgent Care Startup Should Use Billboards

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: billboards are rarely effective as a standalone tactic to advertise an urgent care clinic. Cost ranges from $750 to $5,000 per month depending on location, traffic and visibility, and you can’t target your messaging to a specific audience. This means you’ll spend quite a bit of your marketing budget to reach a lot of consumers who will never convert after seeing your billboard because of location, insurance and other factors.

However, that doesn’t mean you should nix billboards completely. There are two strategic ways you can use billboards in your urgent care marketing plan.

  1. Extend an Urgent Care Clinic’s Signage
    The most effective use of billboard advertising for an urgent care startup is to extend the signage of your urgent care clinic to enhance its visibility. The best use is a billboard across the street with an arrow pointing to the clinic, but you can also use the billboard as directional signage with brief text that states something like “urgent care ½ mile ahead on left.” This reinforces the physical location where patients can go to get care when an urgent medical need arises.
  2. Enhance Your Urgent Care’s Radio Campaign
    Visuals are proven to help people comprehend and recall messaging. If you have a radio campaign running, you can use a billboard to enhance that messaging. Drivers hear your commercial on the radio and then drive by the billboard. They are exposed to your messaging twice through two different mediums, solidifying your audience’s comprehension of that messaging and increasing the likelihood they’ll remember it. Because this tactic does not make a connection between medical care and a specific location, it generally works better with an urgent care clinic that is already known in their community. Urgent care startups should wait to use this tactic until they have established themselves in their communities.

Tips for Successful Urgent Care Billboard Ads

An ad design might look great on your small computer screen or a print-out, but remember that it’s going to be blown up to a much larger size and viewed as people drive by. Can they safely read all of the text while driving 45 miles per hour? Will it even grab their attention among all of the other driving distractions? Follow these tips to make sure you get the most out of your billboard investment:

Make it “Right Read”
Make sure your billboard is “right read” or on the right side of the road so it’s easier for drivers to see and read your ad. Because there are so many factors vying for their attention, drivers may not even notice your billboard if it’s on the left side of the road.

Research Traffic Counts
If your billboard is located on a street that doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic, you won’t get a good return on your investment. Check the traffic counts for proposed locations to ensure your billboard will be seen by enough people to justify the cost.

Drive by Proposed Locations
So your proposed billboard location gets a lot of traffic, but how visible will your billboard be to drivers? The best way to determine if your billboard is highly visible is to drive by any proposed locations to experience it yourself. Look for anything that might obstruct a driver’s view of your billboard, such as power lines, another billboard, business signage and more. Also, pay attention to the speed limit. The faster the speed limit, the less time drivers have to read your billboard.

Keep It Simple
Remember: Drivers have only a few seconds to notice, read, and comprehend your billboard messaging. When you do your drive-by of proposed locations, pay attention to how much messaging you’re able to read and comprehend on existing billboards based on the location and speed limit. This will help you determine how to design your billboard. Resist the urge to fill your billboard with text, and keep the design simple, such as “Urgent Care” with a directional arrow and the name and logo of the practice. If a tagline is required, keep it short. “Walk-in care for illness and injury” will suffice.

Billboards are an expensive investment that can eat up your marketing budget really quickly. However, when used strategically, they can effectively bring in more foot traffic to your clinic. Remember to integrate billboard advertising into your overall marketing plan rather than using them as a standalone marketing tactic, and do your research before signing that ad contract. This will ensure you get the most bang for your marketing buck.

From Startup to Success: BestMed Urgent Care – Lumberton, TX

From Startup to Success: BestMed Urgent Care – Lumberton, TX

Listen to testimonial from BestMed Urgent Care in Lumberton, TX. Just one year into opening a new urgent care center under the tutelage of Urgent Care Consultants, BestMed has seen over 9000 patients!  They have also surpassed over 40 patients per day.  Congratulations!

Video Transcript

I’ve been a Practicing Emergency Medicine Physician for the past thirteen years. I chose to go into urgent care because I wanted to have a place close by for me, something I could do that wasn’t working in the hospital, and really just a change of pace.

He approached me with wanting to start an urgent care. There’s a lot of need in the community – a lot of rural area.

I did a Google search, contacted Urgent Care Consultants, spoke to someone that very same day, immediately loved what I was hearing, got involved from the get-go, and with them, six months later was able to produce a new urgent care clinic.

Well, our first trip to Illinois to meet with Dr. Stern, Dr. Jeff Thompson and myself had a couple of places that we thought would be great locations just based on our personal research and traffic because we live in the area. And so, when we went to propose these two locations, Dr. Stern, he looked us in the eye and made us tell him why we thought this location would be a great location. And so, we thought that we told him why we had a great location – our initial location. And then he spent the next ten minutes telling us how our thinking was not based on an urgent care flow of traffic – based on hospital.

I would probably be in a different location if I had not listened to their advice early on. And that location area now has four urgent cares within a mile and a half area. So, I’m glad to be a little bit away, and I think their help led us to success.

This physical plant was an old Aaron’s facility – Aaron’s rental facility – and it had been vacant for about seven years. It was an eyesore for the community. We did some work on the outside. Urgent Care Consultants helped us with some of the design – what attracts a person’s eyes as you drive by, advertising, all of it. They’ve been instrumental in every step of the stage of creating our clinic.

When we set things up, they’re very good at helping you develop things from the get-go. It’s not a matter of just, “All right, we’ll help you build it up. Here are your manuals. Good luck.” It’s looking into the area, evaluation for the market that’s there, helping you develop a marketing plan, helping you develop your budgets for the short-term and long-term.

Urgent Care Consultants actually gave us guidelines as to what – based on our demographic population and the hours of operation for local hospitals, other clinics in the area, even doctor’s offices – they helped us tailor our hours of operation to maximize patient throughput.

We came in estimating that we’d start with 10-15 patients and over the course of nine months, get ourselves to a point where we were seeing 30 patients a day. Within the first month we were seeing 30 patients a day.

We have a lot of outlying areas that don’t have adequate access to healthcare, and BestMed Urgent Care – based on the tutelage of Urgent Care Consultants and getting this location – we’re able to draw patients and provide quality care for those who otherwise would have to drive even further. We would not be as successful in our first location choice. This was our second, and it has done very well for us and we’re very pleased. I don’t even dare to fathom the complexity that the physical plant of our urgent care today would be had it not been for the guidance of Urgent Care Consultants.

The most valuable part of the relationship with Urgent Care Consultants is two-fold: one is their past history. They’ve done this with a lot of different people who were in the same position that I was who were interested but didn’t know where to start at first. They have that long track record. But two, there’s a personal touch. Dealing with Heather and Bonnie has been a tremendous, wonderful experience.

We just recently had a Southwest conference, and I was able to walk into a corner and Bonnie and Heather and the other team sees me and they recognize me personally. It’s not just that they’re wanting me to buy in to a system and then they’re off to the next sale; they actually take ownership in our success. And I believe that that relationship is tantamount to why we are a success today.

You’re working in the hospitals?

Yes. Yes, I’m still a full-time Emergency Medicine Physician. I work at three different hospitals. I think working in an urgent care and owning an urgent care is very conducive to an Emergency Medicine Physician’s lifestyle. I think partnering with the right mid-levels is important, but more importantly partnering with the right company that’s going to help you every step of the way so that you can still do what you do, which is practice emergency medicine. I’m looking forward to when I wind down from emergency medicine and transitioning into full-time work at the urgent care. Hopefully by then we’ll have two or three locations, so I’ll get to work at different places.

I have no doubt that Urgent Care Consultants will be instrumental in us selecting a site that’s appropriate, that would be best for the community and for BestMed Urgent Care. They’ve always been there for us days, nights, and weekends, and I expect that that relationship will continue to grow and improve throughout the next decade.