Healthcare lead generation: secrets to quality leads

healthcare lead generation

Before we dive into healthcare lead generation, take a look at this desperate email that landed in my inbox one day.

What the hell is “the Growth at [company]”?

Ignore that the message in this mass-email is “disguised” as a personal email for a minute. If we only consider whether the business I work for is a good fit for this product, the answer is simple: we offer care to patients via our clinics and have nothing to do with virtual events.

But imagine for a second that this was relevant. Imagine eating a free meal while listening to that sales pitch…

If you didn’t need a shower after reading that email, you’ll surely need it after the lunch.

This reeks of a desperate attempt at buying an email list and pushing a generic automated email sequence to squeeze out a sale or two.

While this email itself has room for improvement, improving it will have little effect. I’m not trying to trash the person who sent this email, but it’s a great example of a problem most of us have experienced with healthcare lead generation.

We tend to focus far too much on our message and far too little on who sees it.

Why your healthcare lead generation campaigns aren’t delivering high quality leads

My point is that it isn’t hard to get leads. If that’s all you want, get a phone book, a copy of the Yellow Pages, or use one of the thousand services online.

There is no shortage of leads… but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably found high quality leads to be few and far between. 

A big list of leads looks mouthwatering to a salesman but comes with a hidden cost.

The sales team has to build a relationship with each individual lead and understand things like:

  • How serious are they? Are they shopping around or ready to pull the trigger?
  • How focused are they on cost vs benefit?
  • How well do they understand their problem? (I.e. is their lack of sales volume a product, marketing, or sales problem?)

That is a crazy time suck and I can’t think of anything worse than hiring good sales people only to keep them busy with poor leads.

Some turn to alternatives like building automated email campaigns blasting messages about how great they are, before pitching the few that haven’t thrown their computer out the window yet.

Those email sequences can work, but often feel like an attempt to squeeze the last drop of water out of a used cloth (remember that email you saw at the beginning of this article?)

A more powerful alternative for healthcare lead generation is building ad campaigns that drive leads from different awareness stages before even considering the email sequences.

If you aren’t sure what “awareness stages” are, let me give you a quick run down from Eugene Schwartz’s legendary book Breakthrough Advertising.

There are five stages:

  1. Unaware: you don’t realize you have a problem
  2. Problem Aware: you realize you have a problem, but don’t know how to solve it
  3. Solution Aware: you realize you have a problem and know of some ways to solve it
  4. Product Aware: you know the problem, the solutions, and certain brands or products that can solve it
  5. Most Aware: you’re aware of all of the above along with most ways and brands to solve the problem

The more aware a lead is, the more ready they are to pull the trigger, meaning we can focus our energy on closing them with pricing and benefits.

The less aware the leads are, the more we have to walk them through the rest of the steps first.

Do you have this common problem with lead gen campaigns?

On the surface, it seems obvious to swoop in and pitch the leads when they are at the last stage and the easiest to close, right?

It’s true, but everyone else you’re competing with has the same idea.

Since it’s the last stage, the least number of leads will have made it through to this point. That means you’ll be paying a premium to get in front of them.

Unless your healthcare lead generation campaigns are built with tight targeting, they’ll often return plenty of leads but of low quality. Campaigns tend to auto-optimize for cheaper eyeballs at an earlier awareness stage if they get the chance.

That leads some marketers to “counter-steer” by adding more fields to their lead forms in order to create more hoops for the leads to jump through.

It’s a quick fix that tends to squeeze out a bit extra, but it doesn’t turn a mediocre campaign into a winner. It doesn’t solve the targeting challenge. 

A more effective fix is building campaigns for each awareness stage.

For example, the hard sell with a form, pricing, and benefits tends to work well when targeting leads searching for competitors, product pricing, discounts, or where to buy.

New York Center for Cosmetic Surgery‘s landing page

But you might gain leads at a lower cost by reaching them earlier in their buying process, when they have a problem but don’t yet know the best solutions.

Here, you can present several solutions while throwing your own in the mix and choose your positioning against competitors when they first discover all of you. It’s powerful.

It also requires more work, which is why it often feels hard to prioritize. A good alternative can be working with a partner if they understand the sales psychology of delivering high quality leads.

Pitfalls of partnering and buying healthcare lead generation by the lead

Speaking of partners, there are different types you can work with for healthcare lead generation:

  1. Upwork/Fiverr freelancers delivering a spreadsheet with contact details
  2. Freelance marketers building inbound campaigns for you
  3. Specialized agencies (re)selling leads they get from owning a channel (or running ads)

All partners will get you leads but often only those cultivating their own unique channel will be able to offer you high quality leads.

These partners tend to be hard to find and you’re often forced to churn through different vendors to get the cream of the cream.

You can save yourself a headache, and weed through many irrelevant partners, by asking them the following before starting a project:

  1. If they will provide you with a list of leads or build the (ad) campaigns in your accounts
  2. If you’ll get cold leads or if they warm them up before handing them over to you
  3. If the leads are expecting that your brand will be reaching out to them about X offer

If you don’t clarify these points with your partner before starting a project, you’ll almost certainly not get the lead quality you’re looking for as healthcare lead generation agencies are incentivized to prioritize volume over quality.

When winning your business, many partners will begin building search ad campaigns to generate leads. 

There is nothing wrong with that if you get what you need. But if you don’t, you might as well pay them on an hourly- or project basis to build out the same campaigns in your ad accounts. That way, you own them alongside the data and insights.

You’ll likely end up with a cost per lead in the same ballpark and if you want to revisit the project in the future, you can jump right in rather than spending cash to learn the same insights all over again.

On the other hand, by not doing it you’re offering valuable data insights to the agency for free that they can use in your competitors’ campaigns. Data insights that you’ve paid to unlock but don’t have access to.

That leads me to my next point.

Building your own inbound lead gen machine

The elephant in the room is that when you stop paying for the ads, the leads will stop coming.

The obvious alternative is the do-it-yourself approach: building your own inbound healthcare lead generation machine.

It can be a game changer for your business by driving loads of high quality leads that are ready to buy, day in and day out, on “auto-pilot”. You get full control of the pre-sell phase and the power that comes with it.

No wonder this long-term play sounds sexy as hell to businesses I speak with.

But, it’s not a perfect machine…

The leads feel like they’re coming in on auto-pilot… until performance begins to slow down as the campaign decays. “Auto-pilot” in healthcare lead generation tends to be more of a buzzword than a real-world truth. 

There’s no self-sustaining lead generation machine. You’ll need to fuel it with fresh content so you’re prepared for when it would otherwise decay.

Despite that, I’ve seen attempts spending thousands of dollars on content with little to show for it after months of hard work. It drove bucketloads of extra organic traffic, but after diving into the numbers there was no impact on sales. In fact, sales had declined.

This problem usually happens because we reach the wrong people and the interest “breaks” somewhere throughout the funnel, often because we reach them at the wrong awareness stage. It’s a shame because it’s easy to side-step this problem by running ad campaigns with conversion tracking before building the organic machine.

If you build content for the keywords you know convert with ads, you don’t have to gamble with what you create.


  • In healthcare lead generation, lead quality is everything and it’s often more affordable to build that quality via marketing than during the sales process
  • If working with an external partner, you’re often better off getting them to build the lead campaigns as a project in your accounts rather than paying on a cost per lead basis
  • There’s no such thing as autopilot in the long run as even the best healthcare lead generation machines require maintenance


What is lead generation in healthcare technology?

Lead generation in healthcare technology means to generate interest in your products or services from those who may buy them. It’s often defined by someone expressing interest by signing up for your newsletter or filling in other forms with name, email, or phone number.

How do you generate leads in b2b healthcare?

One of the most affordable ways to generate leads in B2B healthcare is through digital advertising. Ads on search engines and LinkedIn tend to be popular but often aren’t cheap due to their popularity.

How do you get medical leads?

In order to get medical leads it’s common to run ads on search engines for keywords that leads tend to target. That allows you to reach leads when they are looking for help. On the other hand, it tends to be expensive because it’s a popular approach.

What is an example of lead generation?

An example of lead generation is when someone expresses interest in LASIK (eye) surgery by entering their name, email, or phone number on your website expecting you to contact them.

By Aske

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