With so much marketing and advertising information being thrown in the face of consumers today, physicians and medical practices often struggle with finding new and effective ways to get more patients in the door.
The older, traditional way of marketing, known as "spray and pray" marketing is no longer the most effective use of your time or advertising dollars. Investing in expensive mass advertising methods that aren't targeted is simply no longer the most efficient way to attract new patients.
So, what are some new and improved ways to get more patients today? There are a variety of marketing methods that can be used to get the attention of today's patients, depending on your marketing and advertising budget, your practice goals, and the specific services your practice provides.
Using referrals to obtain new customers has always been an effective method of marketing, regardless of the industry you work in. People like knowing that they can trust the products or services that an establishment provides, and referrals are a way of confirming this for patients.
In order to establish a strong referral network, you must first establish where your potential referrals may come from. Both provider partners and existing patients can become an excellent source of advocate marketing for your practice, if leveraged appropriately and consistently.
Simple communication and appreciation on a regular basis goes a long way. However, offering incentives is another way to maximize the potential for continued referrals from both parties.
Create Personalized Experiences
Your patients are loyal to your practice (or not) for a variety of reasons, one of the most important of which is how you treat them. If they constantly feel rushed or otherwise unimportant, they are unlikely to refer your practice to friends, family members or acquaintances.
Take the time to greet each of your patients, and create a friendly environment so they will want to come back again. By making each patient feel welcome, special, and showing that you value their time and concerns, you will leave a positive and lasting impression upon each patient who walks through your doors.
Referral Marketing Social Media & Local SEO
Along with a user-friendly website, your practice should invest some time in social media marketing and simple local SEO. By establishing a friendly, accessible and knowledgeable presence on the main social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn), it will help patients see your practice in a more personal light.
In addition to being active on social media, it's important to make sure your practice is listed in the appropriate local online directories and review sites, so that patients can find you. Social media and local directory sites in some cases also serve as a place to review your practice, so be sure to monitor all activity concerning your practice and respond accordingly.
Your social media networks area place to share educational information and establish a caring personality, while also remaining professional at all times. You want to use this space to establish yourself and your practice as experts in your specialties, and to ultimately instill a sense of trust in your existing and potential patients.
Referral Marketing Email & Direct Marketing
Of course, you shouldn't forget about marketing to your existing patients as well. In addition to the potential for new referrals, it's important to remind existing patients of other services that you offer, in addition to services they've had in the past. You can do this in a variety of ways, and using more than one medium of communicating is recommended.
Email marketing and/or direct mail marketing with post cards or letters is a great way to reach out to your existing patients. You can send informational newsletters that include articles about relevant health care topics, tips, FAQ's, and information about your practice employees and operations. You can also send out post card reminders for procedures or services related to your patients' needs, or simple Happy Birthday messages.
In order to be successful at email and direct marketing tactics for your health care practice, you'll need to be consistent with collecting and updating contact information for your patients. Including a space for phone number and email addresses on your standard patient forms is a great way to capture all the information you need for future communications.
These are a just a few ideas for getting new patients in the door of your practice. The more effort you put into getting to know your patients and communicating with them in the mediums they prefer, the better results you'll see