Marketing Your Practice in a Difficult Economy
By John V. Guiliana, DPM, MS
Marketing a medical practice may no longer be optional, particularly if you are interested in remaining independent. Today’s healthcare consumers are taking a more active role in selecting practitioners. Unlike in the past, relying solely on referrals from other healthcare providers is likely a losing strategy, especially as our economy navigates through inflationary challenges. Here are some marketing strategies to follow:
1. Know your data
No, this is not the same data I typically speak and write about (financial data). Instead, I’m referring to information regarding your current prospective patients, prospective referrers, and how your patients are currently finding your practice. This includes what type of reputation your practice has in the community. If you use an EHR with a strong analytics platform, you can likely perform this study efficiently. If not, marketing firms can often help.
2. Examine your competitors
Review competitors’ marketing messages and websites to determine how you can differentiate your practice. What are their service offerings? How do you differ? Can you differentiate yourself based on your training, certifications and areas of expertise? These differences can help shape your marketing message.
3. Look at your website
You need to find your unique voice. Keep in mind that your message must resonate with patients. I frequently find practice websites that focus almost exclusively on advanced treatments and not enough on quality care and the patient experience. What seems to be the central theme of your message? Do you have patient testimonials displayed? Is it clear what insurances you participate with? Do pictures of the physicians and staff appear personable?
4. Make it easy to find you
Do you utilize search engine optimization (SEO) and have a social media plan? This is where professional help is often valuable. Experts can help redesign the language within your website so that it is more likely to appear in the searches conducted by prospective patients. Your marketing material should drive people to your website and be linked to other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
5. Remember, you’re the expert
Let people know it! Look for opportunities to write blogs, participate in health fairs, educate, and be interviewed by various media to speak about new procedures or technologies that you have incorporated into your practice. Newspapers and radio stations love this type of information.
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Marketing is crucial for a medical practice to thrive, particularly while our economy may be causing patients to defer treatments. But also make sure you are taking excellent care of your current patients. Remember that it costs more to acquire a new patient than it does to retain one!
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This blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Please consult with your legal counsel and other qualified advisors to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards.