Seismic shifts in the medical industry have made marketing ever important for medical practices, especially with the proliferation of social media and other online advertising tools.
A successful marketing strategy is important for the growth, profits and patient retention at medical practices. Seismic shifts in the medical industry have made marketing ever important, especially with the proliferation of social media and other online advertising tools.
With the wide variety of tools available, it is easy for physicians to overextend themselves when trying to market their practices. These tips can help you develop a successful marketing plan for your business without wasting time on inefficient methods.
Develop a content marketing plan
Content marketing provides a unique opportunity for physicians. As highly educated professionals, the expertise you have acquired throughout your years of schooling and practice is invaluable for patients you serve. Sixty percent of internet users expect to find reliable health information online, and your practice’s blog can be an important resource. Generate a list of topics for short blog or social media posts relevant to your area of specialization. For example, a general physician can develop content on preventing cold and flu, while a cardiologist would develop articles on preventing heart disease. Just remember to add a disclaimer to all posts. You would not want your content to be mistaken for medical advice.
Consider online and offline opportunities
The Internet provides a significant amount of opportunities for free or inexpensive marketing, but traditional marketing strategies often show results. Unfortunately, many practices end up spending a lot of time on channels that don’t end up bringing in business, or focus too narrowly on traditional marketing. Put simply, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. A diverse marketing strategy that balances both online and offline marketing will reach a wide variety of potential customers while managing costs.
Turn current patients into passionate advocates
Your practice’s current patients may very well be the best opportunity for marketing your services. Providing excellent care, along with impeccable customer service, is the best way to turn patients into walking advertisements. Word-of-mouth marketing is a key tactic for medical professionals, as most patients still choose providers based on recommendations from friends and family. Word-of-mouth reviews also matter online. Sites like Yelp! and Healthgrades allow users to upload reviews of their experience, and providers should incentivize good reviews. Reward patients for their loyalty and recommendations with discounts, free services or health-related freebies. One note: If you accept Medicaid, rewards may be viewed as kickbacks and fall under the umbrella of Medicaid fraud. Please review the restrictions on promotions before you institute this type of marketing.
Monitor your marketing strategy
Most importantly, physicians should monitor the results of any marketing strategy, and be prepared to adjust if it isn’t bringing customers in the door. Online marketing tools like Facebook provide built-in analytics that clearly display the channel’s efficacy. Traditional marketing strategies like phone book advertising may be more difficult to track, but new patients should always be asked where they heard about your practice. Collecting this data will help you determine the most (and least) successful marketing strategies.
Overall, nothing is better marketing than friendly and helpful medical care. In competitive markets, though, these strategies will set your practice apart from the rest.
Janis Peiser is the Director of Marketing for Goldin Peiser & Peiser, LPP in Dallas, TX. She is the “go-to” person for all branding, publicity, media relations, social media, websites and internal and external communications. She has developed extensive social media marketing plans utilizing such tools as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, eNewsletters and Google+ for all of the firm’s niche markets. Janis can be contacted at JanisPeiser@GPPcpa.com.
Goldin Peiser & Peiser, LLP is a proud member of the National CPA Health Care Advisors Association (HCAA), a nationwide network of CPA firms devoted to serving the healthcare industry. Members provide proactive solutions to the accounting needs of physicians and physician groups. For more information contact the HCAA at firstname.lastname@example.org