I’m kicking off the new year with my own resolution. Blog more. Every other week I will be updating the Med-Marketers blog with a marketing tip that will help you to think outside the box, plan strategically and ultimately get you some new patients.
Tip #1 – Create a marketing plan. And try your best to stick to it. This will serve as the foundation for all of your efforts moving forward. Take time to brainstorm and put it all on paper. Think about local events in your area and work towards ideas that coincide with the seasons. Get your staff involved and make it a team effort. Practices with a marketing plan that involves the whole practice typically out-perform practices without a plan. Remember, an enthusiastic team member is contagious.
Many medical practices often view marketing solely as advertising to attract new patients. Marketing is stereotyped as newspaper ads, billboards and direct mail campaigns. Marketing is in fact, however, any activity that moves your practice towards a desired goal. Goals may include: increasing income, deterring new competitors, patient retention, introducing new services, entering new marketplaces or combating negative publicity. These goals can be achieved in a variety of ways, but successful practices know that for marketing to work, you need to actually create “a plan” (and have a fantastic team to bring it to life).
“Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?” – Frank Scully
Using the resources that are already available to you is key. Your hygienist may be a social media guru when she’s not in the office – why not trust her with your Facebook page? Your office manager owns a cupcake business on the side – how about surprising your patients with delicious cupcakes on Valentine’s Day to show them how much they are appreciated? One of the doctors might be training for a marathon – get your staff and your patients to cheer them on by posting updates. Involving your patients in small, creative and more personal ways is also considered marketing – but it’s a little more fun, especially when cupcakes are involved!
At the end of the year, plan on evaluating and discussing whether or not you achieved this year’s goals. Take time to view performance data concerning your patient file and compare to the prior year, but also talk to your staff about patient response they may have heard throughout the year. Concentrate on developing not only strong, well-crafted goals, but goals that accomplish your desired results. You may have fun hosting that local 5k event, but if its poorly executed and you can’t track results, then it may not be worthwhile. My advice? Plan and prepare for the best outcome possible. Then, give it time. You might be surprised when a family calls up to make an appointment because they grabbed your pamphlet at that 5k event…
Raising my coffee mug to you for a successful 2014. Stay tuned in 2 weeks for tip #2.
About Wendy Hamel
Her areas of expertise include patient file development, field marketing, online marketing, public relations, social media strategy, web design, SEO and collateral design.