Patient care, staffing issues, reimbursement challenges, and charting requirements comprise a significant portion of a physician’s daily activities. Marketing is often a static activity, rarely on a doctor’s radar until his or her practice experiences a trend of decreasing patient visits. Savvy physicians have come to understand that active marketing campaigns avoid these dips in patient volumes. An engaged marketing process can increase the number of physician visits, new patient admissions, and referrals as well as stabilize reimbursements.
Why ongoing marketing is necessary
People want quality healthcare, but they also want flexible appointment hours, limited wait times, efficient paperwork, and ease of communication. In short, they want a level of customer service that challenges traditional systems. To attract today’s medical consumers, physicians must provide this level of service and change their understanding of marketing.
Dynamic websites and interactive social media connections are keys to expanding a patient data base. However, success with these marketing tools requires ongoing and active participation on the part of the medical practice. The goal is to distinguish your practice from others, communicate those differences effectively, and create an ongoing relationship with those you serve.
Start with your website
With over 87% of adults using the internet, your website can be one of your best marketing tools to maintain and grow your practice. It is important to:
- Keep staffing, office hours, services, and other information current.
- Determine what differentiates you from other physicians and highlight these unique qualities in your practice description.
- Utilize search engine optimization techniques (SEO) to ensure that potential patients are able to quickly find your site on Search Engines.
- Drive traffic to your website using other digital marketing advertising channels like PPC, Re-marketing, Display Advertising and Content Networks.
- Maintain an active blog to keep patients engaged with your practice and educate the local community on various diseases.
Develop other digital marketing forums
Take advantage of digital listings/platforms that people use when searching for a new physician. Also consider sites targeted to people who have recently relocated and are likely to need a local healthcare provider. Keep your message consistent over these sites and review them a minimum of every few weeks to assure the information is accurate and to assess their effectiveness.
There are a myriad of digital forums that may provide effective marketing opportunities for your practice. However, be practical in your choices given the characteristics of your practice. A Facebook page can be an effective marketing tool if your target patient population is likely to be on Facebook. An active Facebook presence could expand patient outreach for a women’s health practice but not a geriatric-based one. Remember, if you choose to establish a presence in any social media environment, that presence must be ongoing to serve as a successful marketing tool.
Review sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals or MD.com can help or hinder your practice. Be proactive and create a SEO centered listing and encourage satisfied patients to post reviews.
A successful practice must view marketing as an ongoing process meant to attract new patients and engage current ones. Maintain those connections through blogs and interactive social media to help stabilize and grow your business.