Retaining and attracting new patients to your healthcare organization isn’t easy, but understanding the distinct differences between group practices and private practices in healthcare marketing can be a game-changer (and help you stand out from the competition) when it comes time to put together a winning strategy.

When done right, marketing customization can provide significant results, such as:

  • Enhanced engagement, created from healthcare marketing campaigns that leverage relevant tactics designed to drive patient satisfaction
  • Improved conversion rates, achieved as a result of targeted, compelling marketing messages that address your patients’ unique needs and preferences of your patients
  • Higher return on investment, delivered with resource allocation strategies based on cost-effectiveness
  • Competitive advantage, supported by advertising efforts that help you better differentiate your healthcare organization from other providers
  • Stronger data-driven decision-making (and more adaptability), thanks to real-time insights into patient behavior, preferences, and trends

Having spent the last 20 years using the differences between group practices and private practices in healthcare marketing to help clients achieve greater marketing success, I’ve learned a thing or two.

In the following article, I highlight some of the unique challenges faced by healthcare marketing professionals working at private practices and group practices. Plus, I share some tips on how to ensure your healthcare organization uses every marketing dollar to its greatest potential. Let’s begin.

What is healthcare marketing?

The question is deceptively simple, but the truth is that healthcare marketing has many definitions. For the purpose of this article, it refers to any online or offline outreach strategy that promotes your healthcare organization with the goal of building brand awareness and increasing new patient leads.

What are some of the differences between group practices and private practices in healthcare marketing?

To answer this question, the first thing you must think about is how group practices and private practices approach healthcare marketing.

Marketing for group practices

A group practice involves a team of healthcare professionals working together under one roof, sometimes with different specialties. The business structure is already set up, and overhead expenses are shared among them.

Group practices can market a one-stop shop of multi-specialty healthcare services in one location. Group practices can pool their resources and reputation to attract new patients.

Marketing for private practices

A private practice is a single healthcare professional working independently. The owner of the private practice has control of the patients they see, the hours they work, and any decisions of the practice.

Private practices may focus on the personal touch, individual attention, and specialized services patients receive from working with a single provider. Private practices often rely on word of mouth for referrals.

Once you have a clearer understanding of the difference between group practice and private practice healthcare marketing, it’s easier to figure out which tactics are best for increasing patient load.

How can healthcare marketing help group and private practices reach more potential patients?

Healthcare marketing can be a powerful tool to help group practices and private practices. Here are a few specific must-have tasks for any healthcare organization interested in growth:

Develop an online presence

An up-to-date, professional website and an active social media presence are great ways to engage with patients, share relevant healthcare information, and educate potential patients about your practice’s services. Using search engine optimization, a group practice and private practice can increase visibility when patients search for specific healthcare keywords and phrases.

Use targeted ad campaigns

To reach patients needing their services, group practices and private practices can use targeted paid advertising campaigns on channels.

Some of the best places to use ads to capture the attention of potential patients in your target audience might include:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Build a referral network

Primary care physicians, insurance providers, other healthcare professionals, and (especially) satisfied patients can be valuable sources for attracting new patients. Group practices and private practices should develop relationships with these referral sources and maintain open and ongoing lines of communication.

3 ways healthcare marketing is different from corporate promotions-focused communications

Healthcare marketing has a unique set of challenges different from the marketing campaigns of corporate and non-health organizations.

Specifically, marketing teams at group practices and private practices need to worry about:

HIPAA-related compliance breaches

Unlike small businesses or corporations, group practices and private practices must conform to the marketing and advertising guidelines imposed by their state licensing boards.

The restrictive, complicated policies paired with strict penalties and sanctions for breaking them intimidate many healthcare practitioners from attempting legitimate and ethical marketing campaigns.

If they studied the fine print, they would understand that those guidelines restrict or prohibit the most fundamental illegal or unethical practices, such as not misleading or misinforming the public or disparaging a professional colleague or competitor.

The most challenging restriction many boards impose is not stating anything that makes your healthcare practice appear better than your competitors. Since the foundation of marketing is demonstrating how you are different, this can present a significant challenge to healthcare marketers.

Complex reputation management

Healthcare marketing has the big and sometimes overwhelming job of managing the online reputation of doctors, specialty offices, directories, and locations. Most businesses need this level of complex reputation management.


Caring for someone’s health and overall well-being is one of the most personal and essential referrals someone can make. It takes time to build that kind of trust with potential patients.

Marketing initiatives can be effective at forming those relationships. Still, the business side of your practice must have the processes in place, capacity, and staff buy-in to support those efforts and keep the patients happy and satisfied.

How to navigate the complexities of healthcare marketing for your group or private practice

While the complexities of healthcare marketing for group practices and private practices can be challenging, you can effectively promote your practice by keeping a few fundamental marketing tips in mind:

Know your target audience

Ask questions, listen to their feedback, and understand their needs. Direct all of your marketing messages in a way that solves their problems.

Have a content marketing strategy

Have a thoughtful, deliberate, and detailed marketing plan. Don’t just throw content out there and hope it sticks. Work on your plan and pay close attention to your metrics.

Adjust your strategy as needed.

Be consistent

Regular, valuable, and clear communication is a great way to build trust with your potential patients. Respond to questions promptly. Offer resources that will help. Show up regularly in the community. These are ways to build trust.

FAQs on the differences between group practices and private practices in healthcare marketing

Still have questions about private practice versus group practice healthcare marketing? Here are other popular related topics:

Is the customer journey different for patients who see specialists at group practices versus physicians at private practices? Are the tactics different?

The customer journeys of group and private practices may differ in some ways.

Patients who see specialists in group practices may be more likely to prioritize convenience and efficiency. They may like being able to schedule appointments with multiple specialists on the same day and same location.

Patients who see private practice physicians may emphasize a personal relationship with their provider and enjoy longer appointment times and more individuated attention.

Your marketing tactics to attract and retain patients differ based on these preferences.

How is healthcare SEO different for group practices vs. single practitioner practices?

Since the patients searching for group practices are looking for another service than those searching for private practices, your SEO tactics must differ. You will want to use words and phrases specific to your potential patients’ search terms.

How much will HIPAA influence my healthcare marketing campaigns?

HIPAA will impact your healthcare marketing campaigns because you must protect and secure your patients’ personal health information. Always. You will also need to provide individuals with a way to opt out of receiving marketing communications with you.

Choose the best healthcare marketing partner to achieve your business goals

As a healthcare practice, you have many marketing partners to choose from. We advise you to partner with a marketing agency with years of experience, knows the healthcare space, and understands your unique challenges.

TBH Creative is an award-winning healthcare marketing agency with a proven record. We have worked with many healthcare providers and helped them achieve long-lasting success.

Ready to start an exciting, innovative marketing campaign for your group or private practice? Contact us today.