Mostly, we discuss marketing, especially digital marketing, in general on this site. But some contexts face unique marketing challenges that deserve specific attention to tactics to improve market performance in this content. Today, we’ll discuss one of these: medical practice marketing.
Healthcare marketing was always a specialty of mine. I even taught a class on medical practice marketing and helped clients market their boutique medical practices. So, let me assure you that marketing a medical practice, hospital, clinic, or another healthcare business is very different from other marketing contexts.
The healthcare context
Finding a doctor (dentist, therapist, etc) isn’t like buying a tube of toothpaste. Let’s check out all of the ways choosing a doctor is different from most consumer products:
- Risk — there’s really no bigger risk than death so your health is a serious consideration.
- Stickiness — your relationship with your doctor isn’t one you can leave very easily. You have to transfer all your records, then spend time helping the doctor get to know your health issues.
- Trust — with most consumer products, we trust the FDA and other institutions to protect us from bad products. Bad doctors, on the other hand, don’t come with warning labels. And, remember 50% of all doctors finished in the bottom half of their classes (LOL). It takes time to build trust in a new doctor.
- Third-party payers — insurance makes the entire healthcare context incredibly complex in the US. Other developed countries have this all figured out through national health services.
Medical practice marketing
Everyone needs a physician, and most practitioners believe they don’t need any marketing strategy to support their medical practice. It’s actually this lack of advertising that makes finding a doctor that’s right for you challenging. You just don’t have much information to go on and the ratings offered by some insurance providers to help you choose a physician are fundamentally flawed.
With this silent competition in the medical field, physicians feel reluctant to be the first to enter the marketing fray, while others use marketing tactics best left to snake oil salespeople at the traveling circus.
Just like in any other business, without an effective marketing strategy, the future is uncertain. Even survival isn’t assured. You never know if you’ll have enough patients to cover the substantial overhead that comes with being a physician. This uncertainty doesn’t help you in terms of planning nor does it serve potential patients who rely on having a physician they trust who can serve them with the appropriate equipment, relationships with testing sites, admission privileges to hospitals, and other factors needed to treat patients effectively.
To simplify, success in your medical practice requires the best marketing strategies to enhance your standing and build trust. Finding the right people who have the marketing expertise to increase your success rate is essential. The guys at PracticeBloom offer world-class medical practice marketing packages that offer opportunities for your practice to expand. They have a predictable and guaranteed success rate with other physician practices to support their claims.
5 Best Marketing Strategies For Your Medical Practice
Marketing strategies for medical practices are essential to the growth of your business and to bring in new patients while keeping your existing patients.
1. Referral program
Patient referral is one of the most effective ways to grow your practice. And, the best way to elicit referrals from existing patients is to provide the highest quality care, which includes effective two-way communication (you’d be surprised at all the horror stories told by patients about physicians who never listened to them), timeliness (don’t keep patients waiting unless there’s an emergency), consultive medicine that involves the patient in decisions about their healthcare options, and efficiency across service aspects like billing, appointment scheduling, and follow-up.
While some consider traditional marketing tactics a little tacky when it comes to medical practice marketing, boutique firms and some more modern practices use tools such as incentives to drive referrals.
For instance, you might offer discounts off the first visit when patients bring in family or friends. You might consider providing an incentive to patients who bring in family and friends to the practice. While offering discounts might seem too crass for a medical practice, there are a variety of ways you can pamper your patients to build referrals. Dentists are well ahead of medical doctors when it comes to using traditional marketing tactics to build their patient lists.
With existing patients in your community and new patients from the referral program, your medical practice grows organically and faster.
2. Complementary stuff
You’ll agree with us when we say people love anything that’s free. This is a great marketing strategy can use and many boutique practices already employ them extensively. While you don’t need to provide grand stuff like major surgeries or the like, you can offer other complementary services. For instance, some physicians offer complimentary consultations to cover the first visit or offer a discount on a battery of blood tests to new patients.
While you might feel like such commercialism denigrates your professional image, think about ways to provide free stuff that doesn’t seem so crass. For instance, sponsor a local baseball team or offer scholarships for local kids to attend college. The publicity is well worth the expense.
3. The Power Of Social Media
Technology has come a long way, and social media significantly impacts almost every business. Building your online presence on social platforms is as vital as building your physical presence. Social media platforms help physicians communicate and relay information to the public while building a solid foundation of followers, supporters, and potential patients.
Use social media to build your reputation rather than asking for patients. Social media works best when 80-90% of your messaging provides value to patients with less devoted to promotion anyway.
Remember, social media is a common platform for patients to interact with each other; a platform where patients reach out for recommendations from their network. Focus on owned and earned social media to ensure your practice garners these recommendations.
4. Building a website
A practical and straightforward medical website containing all the information about your medical practices provides a better marketing strategy than many other tactics.
Most people nowadays jump on the internet, using search engines to find solutions to their problems, including medical ones. Use effective SEO (search engine optimization) to ensure your website shows up when potential patients search for solutions to their medical problems online. That means creating extensive posts about common medical conditions. You also want to harness the power of local marketing since you can’t compete with major sites like Web MD.
Cater to existing patients by providing portals for them to manage appointments, get test results, and contact you through your website.
5. Business cards
While business cards may seem old fashioned, they’re still an effective tool for medical practice marketing. Business cards are ideal not only for spreading the word about your practice but practical for most elderly patients as they are not always comfortable with modern technology. They feel more secure with a physical card that has all your information. Combining a business card with an appointment reminder is ideal.
Business cards might be an old-fashioned way for medical practice marketing but they’re still highly useful.
An effective marketing strategy allows your medical practice to grow. Investing in one helps your business achieve its potential profit in less time and build a solid foundation of stability that yields success.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.