7 Clinical Trial Advertising Tips for Research Sites

A pharmaceutical company chose your site for a new trial, and your team is ready to start creating a clinical trial patient recruitment plan. Knowing that 80% of clinical trials are delayed because of recruitment problems, the process can be daunting. In addition to reaching out to patients in your site's database, chances are you'll also experiment with clinical trial advertising to meet your goals. These tips can help you position your site to meet its enrollment goals and give patients a positive experience, too, starting from when they share their interest in your trial.

1. Get to know your patient population, then choose your outreach channels.

First, thoroughly research your patient population and the trial. From there, you can start developing outreach materials to submit to your Institutional Review Board (IRB) and choose the best outreach channels (Facebook, Google Ads, display ads, etc.) for your patient population. A few questions to answer in your research include:

  • How common is the condition? Does it affect some demographics more than others?
  • How might the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the trial reduce the number of patients eligible to participate?
  • What are the most challenging parts of living with the condition? How could this trial help?
  • What barriers to participation may exist for this trial? How can your site help mitigate them?

If you're looking for more help structuring your campaign, our free clinical trial patient recruitment template includes more detail and tips on designing a strong plan.

2. Mention your location.

This simple tip can make a big difference in the success of your ads. Patients report that knowing the trial location is one of the most important factors in their decision to participate in a trial. In your outreach materials, consider highlighting the name of your site, or other location indicators, such as how far it is from downtown. If nothing else, mention the name of the city in your ad copy so potential participants know the ad is relevant to them.

3. Use geotargeting tools through Facebook and Google AdWords.

Choosing the right locations for your ads is one of the most important parts of setting up effective trial advertising. By precisely geo-targeting your ads, you’ll reach the right patients and save money, too. Most ad platforms, such as Facebook and Google, allow you to choose a radius around a particular city or location. Consider how far patients in your area might be willing to travel for a trial. If the trial is for a rare disease or a condition with few treatment options, patients may be willing to travel farther. Patients in rural areas may also be more likely to drive an hour or two to your site than patients in more urban areas.

4. Connect with local organizations.

Local patient organizations in your area can also help spread the word about your trial opportunity. If you’re working with a patient recruitment agency, ask if they have relationships with organizations or patient advocacy groups in your area. Some organizations may also be willing to promote your trial through their own channels, often for a fee. You may also be able to attend local health fairs or other events where you can reach patients.

5. Maintain your own online presence.

Keeping up a website for your site can help attract sponsor interest as well as patients for your trials. To help build trust from patients who may search for your site online after seeing your ads, include biographies for the investigators or doctors at your site, including their medical credentials and prior research experience. If you have testimonials from patients who have received care or participated in a trial at your site, include them, too. Stories from other patients can help encourage others to take part in research at your site. Don't forget to include your site's contact information and IRB-approved information about the trial, too.

6. Make every interaction count.

Starting with the recruitment process, your interactions with patients should be as positive and helpful as possible. Make sure you have staff available to answer questions left as comments on Facebook ads, and to answer phone calls. It's also smart to reach out to patients via both phone and email to share the next steps of your trial with them. In your email, consider leaving the site's phone number so patients can reach out to you at their convenience.

7. Consider working with a recruitment company.

If you don't have a dedicated marketing team, or person, you may consider enlisting the help of a clinical trial recruitment company. A recruitment company may be able to connect you with a database of patients, or run ads to connect you with patients in your area. We put together a guide on working with a patient recruitment agency for help getting started, including what questions to ask and how to ensure your projects run smoothly.

Need help finding patients for your trial? Download our case studies to learn how we work with 250+ patient organizations to connect your site with engaged patients.