So you have your clinic, staff, certifications, and a few clients — all that’s left to do is promote and wait for the patients to swarm in. Unfortunately, local medical marketing is a difficult task for practices because few have the time or experience to start generating referrals while upping online exposure, two of the best strategies to increase business. Here are a few tips on how to get ahead of the marketing curve in order to skip ahead of local competition without spending too much time, effort, and capital on senseless marketing:
Make a Plan
The first step is to decide what the goal of your campaign is. Are you trying to increase referrals from a nearby hospital? Advertise pediatric care? Whatever the case may be, you’ll have to have creative power and support behind you to help. Start by creating an ad hoc marketing committee. In the end, everyone is involved with marketing but there’s a line between too much help and not enough. Here’s what to start with:
- Imagine who your ideal patient is. Every piece of material you publish needs direction, and commuting directly to an ideal person is the best way to personalize this.
- Another key is determining your practice’s mission and healthcare philosophy. This is more than a mission statement; instead, find out what makes your organization unique, relatable, and above and beyond other competition.
- Understand that everyone is responsible for marketing in your practice. The healthcare providers are there to provide expert opinions while the other staff work on easing patient transactions and communicating.
The next major step is deciding how you want to enforce local medical marketing. Are you going to depend on speaking at local seminars and public events, focus on Web-based marketing, or publish brochures and depend on outside referrals? The best answer is yes to everything.
Having authority is an essential characteristic of a successful campaign. As a physician, every publication you send out or person you talk to needs to understand that you know what you’re talking about. Shoddy campaigns, on the other hand, are just as apt to deconstruct a marketing venture. Ensure that everything is professional (layout, spelling, grammar, content, etc.), insightful, and doesn’t go over the heads of your intended patients.
In terms of content, writing blogs, working mentions into local newspapers, or even making guest appearances on local TV or radio shows during medical segments is a wonderful way to share your practice. You can’t just go into a room and start spouting off how great your practice is, however. Instead, you need to find an angle or topic to cover that is memorable. Shape everything around your ideal patient and make sure it’s all timely. Is there a flu strain going around? Write a blog about why it’s important to get a shot.
This applies to social media as well. Local exposure hinges on Web as much as regional does, so make sure you secure a Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and even Twitter account. Use these platforms to re-share information from a primary website. Publish e-pamphlets, brochures, and blogs and keep them active across all of your channels. Another great local medical marketing technique is to incentivize followers and other social media activity.
Patients talk. Word of mouth is a critical element when it comes to marketing, and to ensure you don’t become “That Practice,” you need to satisfy every patient’s needs as reliably as possible. Patient-centered care is a new-age strategy physicians use. It focuses on transparency, honesty, and long-term care rather than symptom-to-symptom treatments. Do you consider your practice to excel at patient-centered care? Blog about it and incorporate a few real life testimonials (videos are great for this).
Area healthcare systems include specialists, hospitals, primary physicians, clinics, and other healthcare institutions. Make sure everyone knows who you are and why you’re worth referring to. Always leave yourself open to take a last minute referral from a hospital; the hospital and patient rely on quick and easy care. Don’t overcomplicate the referral process and return the favor. Another easy to way enhance local medical marketing is to ask patients what you can be doing better and follow through with the advice.