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December 11th, 2015
Marketing is so much more than just a radio or print advertisement. Marketing is any activity that moves your practice forward in all aspects, including financial, new patients, new services, recruitment of new providers, or entering new marketplaces.
Activities that fit under the broad ‘marketing’ definition include planning, patient relations, products and services, and many more.
But what should you do to make sure your practice remains at the top of people’s minds? Successful marketing doesn’t happen overnight; it takes planning and time. Businesses today are expected to do much more than advertise.
The first thing to do when devising a marketing plan is to set your goals. What do you want to achieve in the first year and in the first five years of your marketing? Make sure your goals are challenging but achievable, clear, specific and measureable. Also, remember that your plan and your ultimate goals will be different from other practices, even if they’re in a similar location or a similar medical area.
Other things to include in your marketing plan:
Today’s world is online, so it’s important you’re there too. Having an online presence doesn’t just mean a link in the online white pages – website is a key ingredient of your marketing, and it should be an informative website as well.
More often than not, people are turning to the Internet to find their next doctor, so you should be front and centre. Make sure you dedicate enough time to build (with help if needed) your website and update it, and ensure your website is consistent with the message in your actual practice – match the colours, the fonts that you use in any brochures around the place, include office hours, the names of the physicians and short bios, services you offer, and even consider the ability to make appointments online.
And make sure your website is mobile friendly; a lot of patients are going to be viewing on their smartphone so don’t give them a reason to close the website.
You can also include a weekly blog that you or an employee writes. This is a nice and educational way to connect with patients.
Also consider having a Facebook page so patients can keep up to date with what’s going on. On the Facebook page you can include any news items that you think are relevant, or whether you have special opening or closing hours.
Having an online presence is all about making the patient feel like you are including them in your world.
Be active in your community and you’ll see a massive return. Potential and current patients like to see that their medical professional is invested in the local community. Plus, it puts you front and centre of their mind when they see you outside of a patient consultation.
Find out what is happening in your area. If there is a local fair, consider sponsoring it or booking a stand so you can capture people walking by. Check to see what the local schools are doing, do they need sponsorship for an event that they are holding? What about local sporting teams, often they need help paying for new equipment?
Having your logo, and your practice, attached to something so positive means current and potential patients will think of you in a positive light.
Referrals are particularly important for specialty practices. Acquiring a new patient because of a referral from another doctor requires relationship-building techniques.
Consider sending emails to doctors who you believe will refer patients to you. Remember, you’ll need to sell yourself. Try to set up face-to-face meetings and network with other colleagues. Update referring doctors with what is going on in your practice, and make yourself available to patients from referring doctors, especially in an emergency situation. Also remember to personally thank the referring doctor when you see their patient, and update the referring doctor on everything that is happening with their patient.
While it’s true that marketing is about more than traditional advertising, don’t discount its credibility. Radio advertising, print advertising, letter drops and mobile advertising does still work. But it’s important to remember that they’re best when utilised with other marketing techniques.