Pollard’s company, Intuition Communications, launched its first directory-cum-health guide Privatehealthcare.co.uk in September 2003. It’s a comprehensive online portal for patients looking for top doctors, premium private clinics, hospitals and medical insurance.
The site has four main revenue streams. Around 25 per cent comes through lead generation. When visitors to the site fill out an enquiry form, Private Healthcare sends then three or four options in return. These firms and individuals pay for the privilege of being referred.
A further 25 per cent comes from classic banner advertising. Privatehealthcare.co.uk has the highest conversion rates in the industry. “We always sell out all our advertising space on the site,” says Pollard. “I’m looking for ways to create more!"
The other 50 per cent comes from content sponsorship, highlighted listings and advertorial. Google loves Private Healthcare, so any organisations that are referenced and linked to by the site are bounced into the top ten in natural searches.
Over the past 14 months, Pollard has received over 1,000 advertising enquiries from interested parties. “None of my sales people have every had to make a cold call,” he says. No wonder Private Healthcare has been profitable from the off with latest turnover hitting £2m.
Whether it’s body dysmorphics after cosmetic surgery, or grannies after a new hip, medical tourism is a boom sector. Over 500,000 visitors flock to the site each month, and the numbers are still on the rise. And the industry is recession proof.
“Doesn’t matter how the economy is looking,” says Pollard. “People will always need surgery.”