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Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s hernia program was officially recognized by the Surgical Review Corporation as a Center of Excellence in 2020. Around the same time, the global pandemic hit Georgia and changed everything about the way patients were accessing care, especially surgeries.

Digital drives superior ROI for a niche medical specialty

One of our longest-standing clients, Northeast Georgia Health System is a not-for-profit community health system with four hospital campuses and more than 700 beds. Their hernia program was named a Center of Excellence shortly before the pandemic swept through Georgia and the marketing landscape completely changed. 

Once elective procedures were opened back up, the health system needed to drive surgical revenue to recover from losses and ensure patients felt comfortable coming in for surgery. 

Ultimately, our goals were to:

  1. Focus on the strength of digital by (a) utilizing A/B testing, (b) creating custom real-time reports, and (c) staying flexible and keeping a read on patient concerns as the pandemic unfolded.
  2. Drive new patients and reach a positive return on investment.
  3. Influence physician referrals through digital marketing. Hernia repair is a specialty that is up to 80% physician referral driven.

Our Strategy

NGMC and Full Media often collaborate on overall marketing strategy, including traditional and digital tactics. Understanding each of the tactics enables us to build comprehensive custom reporting that can demonstrate how many leads each tactic is driving, including mediums like print, direct mail, streaming radio and more. This enables them to adjust their budget on the go to put their investment in the tactics driving the most new patient appointments and surgeries.


Our Marketing Tactics Included:

Google Display Ads   Social Media Ads   Google Search Ads   Content Creation & Optimization   Reporting & Analytics

Google Display Ads

The physician referral team identified the practices they usually targeted for in-person outreach, and we developed a low-cost campaign with a tight geofence around those physician practices to ensure that target medical practices knew about the Hernia Center of NGMC’s expertise.

This tactic turned out to be particularly effective, with an average cost per conversion of $111.


Social Media Ads

Utilizing Facebook and Instagram’s powerful audience targeting, we built a campaign targeting only internal medicine practitioners in NGMC’s service area.



Google Search Ads

We targeted consumers searching for information about hernia surgery and discovered that many patients are seeking out care themselves, not solely through a referral.

Google Search Ads, a specialty of Full Media’s, was far and away the most successful tactic in the campaign, generating 60% of all of the patient appointment requests during the campaign. Our average cost to acquire a patient lead (phone call or form submission) was just $71.


Content Creation & Optimization

We collaborated with NGHS’s content writers to develop a series of blog topics and FAQs that would help answer common questions and lower barriers that patients had to going ahead and scheduling surgery. These topics we developed were based on the most common search queries in our Google Paid Search ads as well as our own keyword research to determine what topics patients had concerns about.

These blogs have been incredibly successful, outpacing any of the other blogs on the website in terms of organic traffic generated. They also have directly contributed to new patient appointments.





Reporting & Analytics

The overall campaign also included radio ads and interviews and traditional print advertising. While Full Media’s team did not manage or place these additional promotions, we were able to lend our strengths in analytics to build comprehensive reporting that included traditional media.

Through these reports, we are able to track and compare key statistics, like cost per action in each medium. This helped us make key strategic decisions about how to shift our budget over time to schedule more surgeries and increase ROI.

Based on the reporting and our successes in 2020, we were able to confidently determine our mix of tactics for 2021 and set an even greater goal for ROI the following year based on the results from 2020.

hernia report example - datastudio

The Results

Ultimately, enough surgeries were scheduled as a result of the campaign that we paid for the entire marketing budget in just three months in a six-month marketing campaign. That meant that any surgeries scheduled for the remaining three months were pure profit for NGMC because we had already covered our marketing costs.


6 to 1
Average ROI for
all marketing tactics
18 to 1
Average ROI for
digital tactics
60% Increase
in Surgeries
From October through
December 2021 compared to 2020

* We know that these tactics work together and many of patients interacted with a variety of different marketing channels before converting. Ultimately, we partnered with NGHS to analyze a combination of digital analytics and patient reported “how did you hear about us” data to determine which marketing channel resulted in a surgery.

Keys to Success

The main factors in this campaign’s success were:

  • The collaborative partnership between the entire team. A broad array of stakeholders came together to make this campaign successful, including NGMC’s in-house marketing staff, Full Media’s digital specialists, the hernia surgeons, the business development team and hernia center’s operational team. Each person collaborated on the strategy and contributed data that helped us improve our results over time.
  • In-depth reporting and analytics that enabled us to see what on-site actions our marketing channels were driving. Paired with data from NGMC’s operations team, we could trace a lead throughout their patient journey to measure success.
  • As a HIPAA compliant digital marketing company, Full Media was able to get into the weeds about how marketing leads were turning into true financial success for Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Learn more about why HIPAA compliance is important in a digital vendor.