Medical Marketing Tips That Will Help Medical Practitioners Thrive During an Economic Crunch
Very few doctors will admit that making lots of money lies in their marketing and public relations abilities since it conflicts with their professional ego. However, most doctors can agree on the fact that attracting new patients, return patients, and patients with more disposable income is the key to running a successful practice. In order to achieve these goals, you must have a medical marketing plan. A successful plan will prevent you from wasting money on unnecessary advertising and get the public and media exposure you need in a cost-effective manner. Particularly during these difficult economic times, it is increasingly important to expand your practice using precise marketing strategies.
The Importance of Visibility
Visibility is essential because it helps to make you an authority in your field. For example, if you are a dentist with visibility in your local area, the first person people will think of when they need to go to the dentist is you. In order to create a positive reputation for yourself and establish yourself as an authority, you have to become a beloved figure in your community. This means that people come to trust you on a personal level. You can have the latest and greatest tools and all the credentials but they won’t mean much if you don’t have visibility. Professional qualifications are overrated, in fact. In order to survive an economic crunch, you must use precise medical marketing and PR techniques.
Many medical practitioners mistakenly believe that they are not affected by economic slumps due to the simple fact that people always need to go to the doctor. However, the fact of the matter is that many people will put off the medical care they need as their discretionary income shrinks.
How to Become More Visible
Be much more visible than any other medical practitioner in your field in the local market. Public relations are far more effective than advertising so focus your efforts on that instead. When you get third party endorsements from the media and community, it boosts your credibility substantially. PR is great since it is cost-effective. As many doctors are forced to cut advertising costs during grim economic times, they can take advantage of smart PR methods to survive and thrive.
The goal should be to become a beloved figure in the local community. This gives you positive press and more word-of-mouth advertising. People come to trust you on a personal level. Your level of expertise matters little if you can manage to get yourself known by sending out the right message to the right people, at the right time.
Developing an Effective Marketing Mix
There is not one single medical marketing method that works all the time so you need to mix the strategies you use. Use a variety of long-term and short-term messages and avenues. The first place to start when developing your marketing plan is to define who your preferred patients are. You then have to make sure you send your marketing messages out to wherever they are so anytime they require medical services in your field, they think of you and not your competitor. Learn the demographic and needs of your preferred patients. You can’t be everything to everyone so make sure you only send your message out to your niche market.
Keep Current Patients
Rather than focusing fully on attracting new patients, you should focus your strategy on keeping current ones because it is cheaper. Your current patients will refer you to others they know and come back to you time and time again for treatments. You can stay in touch with your current patients that are individually-oriented. Develop a database with your patients’ contact information and use sophisticated software to personalize your marketing messages.
Use Long-Term and Short-Term Strategies
Long-term strategies include branding, search engine optimization, community outreach and public relations. Short-term strategies include gift certificates, direct mail, in-house events, and internet marketing. Long-term strategies build awareness of your brand and practice whereas short-term strategies boost revenue immediately while you build your reputation. Let’s take a look at some of the most important strategies.
Branding – Branding is your image and it is what patients see, hear or read about you. It constitutes the feeling that people get about you when they hear about your practice. Fine tune your marketing message to ensure that you’re building the reputation you intend to.
Community Outreach – Get involved in your community through attending fundraising events and joining local charities. When you give off the image of being caring and committed to your community, it is highly beneficial to your PR campaign.
Direct Mail – Promote a product or treatment with persuasive direct mail pieces sent out to both prospects and current patients.
In-House Events – Hold an event at your practice and invite patients, telling them to invite their friends and family. Educate them about some of the treatments you offer and promote your products/services. Remember, your prospects may not become patients immediately. It could even take months for them to actually give you a call and set up an appointment. It takes different messages and avenues to connect with your target market so be sure your marketing strategy is constant so they know you are there to address their needs when the time comes.
Hi Heeman is a medical marketing expert who works full time with health care providers to increase their visibility on the web space to get people connected with the medical professionals.
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