Whether you are just starting up your practice, or you're looking to grow your practice, it's important to understand the key components that make up a successful medical practice marketing plan. Not every practice will use every marketing method. You may try some and find that they simply don't work for you, and that's fine. Here are some of the most popular yet also successful marketing components used in medical practice marketing.
1. Employee Advocate Marketing
The first type of marketing that you should consider, regardless of the size of your practice, is employee advocate marketing. Your employees should be working towards helping your practice to succeed in every way possible, and acting as an advocate of your practice is a great way for them to do that.
Beginning with how your front desk staff interacts with patients from check-in through check-out, your employees should create a positive environment within your practice. By advocating on behalf of your practice both in and out of the office, as well as on social media networks, your employees can help you build a loyal customer base.
2. Patient and Professional Referral Marketing
Your next best marketing resources are your patients and professional partners. By developing strong relationships with your patients and professional contacts based on kindness, respect, and consistent communication, you can ensure that they will have only good things to say about your practice.
Check in periodically with patients who haven't been in for a while with simple emails to say hello, Happy Birthday, or to remind them about new or existing services. Send a thank you note or email to professional contacts, acknowledging that you appreciate them and the work they do with you.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media can be a great way to spread the word about your practice, including information about your employees, your services, and what to expect when coming for a visit. Social Media isn't just for attracting new patients though. Social media also helps you build upon existing relationship with your patients.
You don't have to use every platform out there, but you should consider a strategy for each that you do decide to use.
For example; Facebook is a great place to share helpful information for patients, showcase your employees & culture, and make announcements.
Your Twitter strategy can be similar to that of Facebook but Twitter is going to limit the message you are able to publish so keep it short and sweet. Also keep it visual. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevenat images. Twitter is also great for starting conversations with others using polls or just by using hashtags to identify a popular event or something specific/unique to your practice.
LinkedIn is a good place to connect with others in your industry who may be able to provide referrals or utilize for recruiting purposes.
4. Digital Marketing
In today's world of ever-advancing technology, digital marketing is no longer optional. Social media, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), inbound and outbound marketing, and more are all examples of digital marketing that you should at least be somewhat familiar with.
Some of these strategies can be implemented using your existing staff members and little to no added expense. However, some digital strategies do require a realistic marketing budget in order to get the best results, and the investment is most likely worth it.
5. Media Advertising
When you're first starting out, you may want to initially put some time, effort and money into media advertising in order to reach a wide range of people. Placing ads in print and online newspapers, television, radio and highway billboards is a great way to get the attention of potential patients in your area.
It may be hard to measure the effectiveness of these methods but you can determine the average reach for these methods. Billboard advertising, print ads, and television can all be great for conveying your brand to an audience so do be sure to think through each of these methods carefully before launching a campaign.
6. Public Relations
Another great way to get your practice name in front of a large audience (for little to no money) is through a variety of public relations efforts. If you can get your practice interviewed for a newspaper or magazine, or even a local television station, you can get free press that goes a long way.
To get the most out of your efforts, it's important to develop a strategic message, and to create a clear plan for achieving your desired results. By researching community events, speaking opportunities, and other area happenings ahead of time, you can ensure that you're able to participate to those most relevant to your practice.
Choosing the right methods and campaign strategies for you and your practice is crucial to the success of your marketing efforts. It is important to choose at least a few different types of marketing in order to determine where to focus your efforts in the long run.
Of course medical professional must be cautious when using certain marketing methods considering the regulations governing healthcare communications like HIPAA. This can be especially true on social media when communicating with patients. In an article posted by Social Media Week Why Medical Professionals Can't Ignore Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing Expert Brian Hughes says "a good rule of thumb [is to] never provide specific medical advice to a patient via social media."
Savanna Myer with HealthIT Security also touches on the subject of maintaining HIPAA compliance in social media interactions stating that the typical misuses of social media that violate HIPAA regulation include:
- Sharing unauthorized “gossip” about a patient, even if the name is disclosed.
- Posting pictures without consent.
- Putting up content that contains patient information in clear view.
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