Author: Shei Wah, TAN

As they say, creativity within constraints is challenging, and this is especially true if you’re a marketer like me who runs ad campaigns for clinics, healthcare practices and medical services. But it’s not for lack of creative ideas, it’s a question of whether those creative ideas comply with medical advertising guidelines, like PHMC (Advertisement) Regulations in Singapore or AHPRA Guidelines in Australia.

Let me paint you a picture: Try making an eye-catching video, but be careful not to use certain words, images, or methods that outrightly say how great you are as a doctor. Or why your clinic is the best in your district. And that might well be true, but you just can’t say it.

You just never know when some regulatory watchdog or competitor calls you out and gets you fined. For instance, a PHMC Regulations violation could cost you SGD2,000, while an AHPRA violation would set you back by up to AUD127,500. But it’s not just government agencies, advertising platforms also have stringent regulations for medical ads.

Google, for one, has Healthcare and medicines advertising policies, while Meta has Personal Attributes advertising policies which prohibit you (the advertiser) from implying that your target audience has a certain condition or disease (no matter if they actually do).

Bottomline: the medical advertising guidelines and regulations are in place to protect the public from misleading and inappropriate information. As such, advertisers must ensure that their content doesn’t exaggerate the effectiveness of treatments, make unsubstantiated claims, or use testimonials.

Striking A Balance

Listen, it’s crystal clear these days—if your practice isn’t online, it’s like you’re invisible. And that’s not where you want to be, right? In fact, 1 out of every 20 Google searches is about health. People are hitting up Google before they hit up the doctor’s office. Seriously, 5% of all those searches are folks looking to get relief or find a doctor, that’s huge.

If the whole digital marketing gig feels like you’re trying to do a waltz on quicksand, you’re not alone. I’ve seen plenty of medical practices just like yours, starting from scratch and feeling out of their depth. Thankfully, many of them are still with us, and now they’re killing it online years later. I like to think we’ve played a part in that. We’ve been in the trenches, and that’s what gives us our edge.

But hey, it’s not just about following the rules to the letter for the sake of compliance. Healthcare providers have an ethical responsibility to ensure that their advertisements are truthful and in the best interest of the public. It’s not just being fined by the regulators—it’s your reputation on the line.

5 Ways To Get Creative & Stay Compliant

Whether we’re talking about paid ads or organic marketing content for the healthcare sector, striking a balance between being informative and creative can be tricky. Advertisers and marketers have to make sure the message is not lost in the creative presentation and following the prescribed medical advertising guidelines. Lucky for me, I work with a team of creatives who have been doing this for a long time, and they know what they’re doing too. Here are some pro tips they’d like to share.

1. Stories That Stick. You want your ads to tell stories that stick in people’s minds—relatable, empathic, memorable. But remember, we need to keep it honest and backed by solid evidence. No laudatory pronouncements, no testimonials, no endorsements.

2. Visuals That Click. We’re making short videos and reels for most of our medical clients now. Think bold and bright infographics that can turn that complex medical mumbo-jumbo into something everyone can grasp.

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3. Interactivity That Engages: We’re talking about giving people a reason to lean in, not just lean back. Like a health quiz or a tool that helps them understand their symptoms. It’s like inviting them to play a game where they learn something valuable. Just gotta have that fine print in place to keep it legit.

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4. Simplicity That Speaks Volumes. Break it down with relatable analogies, strip away the jargon, and present it in plain, clear English. No complicated guesswork, just straight talk that gets the message across. Sometimes the smartest way to go is the simplest.

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5. Proper Dose Of Pride. By focusing on clear, truthful, and straightforward presentation of your credentials and your capabilities, you can build trust with potential clients while maintaining compliance with regulatory standards.

Need Help With Medical & Healthcare Ads?

Here’s the straight talk: you’ve got your hands full with taking care of your patients. That’s a 24/7 commitment, and I respect that. But digital marketing is a beast of its own, and you can’t expect to do it alone. Most of our clients tried it on their own before signing with us.

It’s not about the odd social media post or an ad here and there. It’s about staying on the pulse, keeping your strategies fresh and your outreach effective. It’s a full-time undertaking, and it’s got its own set of rules that keep changing. And, yes there are the medical advertising guidelines you need to comply with.

That’s where NEO360 comes in. We live and breathe digital marketing, so you don’t have to. We’re the pros behind the scenes, tuning your digital strategy so that it sings to your audience, getting you noticed, and keeping your practice front-of-mind. Trust us to take the wheel on this, and you keep doing what you do best—taking care of your patients.