Contrary to popular belief, doctors are not exempt from the necessity of advertising and marketing. Doctors these days have a lot of competition and more and more medical professionals are recognizing the need for medical practice marketing in order to stay ahead. It’s an area that not a lot of practices are familiar with but actively promoting your business can really boost the number of patients coming in.
Back when each area only had one doctor, Medical Marketingjust wasn’t necessary. Now, however, it’s not uncommon to find three to four doctors, even in the smallest towns, competing for the same patients. By increasing the visibility of your practice, you will find that no matter where you are located, competition won’t be a big issue and you will have a steady stream of new patients coming in.
Why Promotion is Valuable
Gone are the days when word of mouth was the chosen method of finding a doctor to suit the patient’s needs. As a medical practitioner, you must actively bring in client leads on a regular basis to keep your business running smoothly. It’s normal for your patient base to be in a state of flux – some patients may only come in once a year or less while others who schedule appointments on a regular basis may leave the area or choose another practitioner. While no one wants to lose a loyal patient, the only way to keep the appointment book full is to continue to bring in new ones.
For those medical practices looking to expand, it’s necessary to find enough clients to make it worthwhile to bring another doctor on board and medical marketing is the ideal way to do this. Good publicity and making your practice easy to find will lead to new patients flocking to your door.
Another benefit of attracting more clients is increasing the mix of patient types. Nearly every practice has some wealthier patients, while others have only patients with company insurance. Patients from a wider range of economic backgrounds means more money earned – something that is always advantageous because it enables the practice to continue treating those with less money.
How to Market Your Practice
There are a number of ways to get your practice in front of potential clients, but perhaps the best method is the Internet. When patients are fed up with their current GP or have just moved to the area, the vast majority turn to online research to help them choose a professional to see. If you aren’t online and visible, then your chances of being found by these potential patients are virtually nil.
With a number of websites and directories available to list your medical practice, it’s important to choose the right ones. Spend your advertising dollars on campaigns that will give you results. That means looking for directories that allow you to keep your listing in front of patients over a long-term period and that also provide space for vital information such as which insurance companies are accepted, as well as basic contact info.
Of course, there are other methods of increasing public visibility of your practice, though the Internet offers the lowest cost with the highest return. Other options include the following:
Television: While it can be expensive, a television spot on a local channel can really boost public awareness of your practice in particular. Ads aren’t the only way to go, however – providing news or an interview to the local news channel or morning show can also be a great way to get some publicity.
Print: The more traditional method of medical practice marketing is through print media, but you have a lot of options in this area. Many newspapers these days are online so when you place an ad, it usually appears both in the print version and the online version, giving you more bang for the buck. The Yellow Pages are another print medium that every doctor should use, as well as any local directories such as phones, service booklets or Welcome Wagon listings. Even in this digital era, there are quite a few opportunities to have your listing in print just as long as you know where to look.
Interacting: This is an area that many practices no longer engage in, but if you have the time, it’s a great trust builder. Simply connecting to the people in your community, whether or not they are patients can be invaluable. While there are a number of ways to do this, just getting out and meeting people is an excellent method of reaching the community. When people feel that they know you, they will be more likely to trust you with their health.
Medical marketing is valuable and necessary for doctors who want to continue growing and improving their business. Whether through online promotion, print media or another means, it’s important to continue bringing in new patients on a regular basis to keep your practice earning.