Running a successful medical practice can feel a bit like juggling chain saws. Patient care is your main priority, but you’ve also got to worry about staff management, finances, regulatory requirements, continuing education, and a number of other pulls on your time. It’s no wonder that marketing the practice so often gets pushed to the back burner. Unfortunately, doing so risks finding your practice with not enough patients to keep the schedule full. Fortunately, there are some easy and inexpensive things you can do to promote your practice and keep patients flowing in.
Upgrade Your Online Properties
People these days turn to the web when they are looking for anything from a hair dresser to an auto mechanic, medical practices are no different. Having a well-designed website with fresh, useful content is essential for attracting modern customers. It is also important to claim, monitor and populate your social properties, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You don’t have to become a full time social-butterfly, but this type of engagement can generate useful connections that keep current patients coming back and convince new ones to give you a try.
Spend Time in the Community
Sometimes the best way to market your practice is to leave it. Take advantage of opportunities to participate in community events and volunteer projects. Connect with local journalists and offer to provide commentary on public health related subjects. Becoming the go-to expert for the press is a great way to get your name out there.
Differentiate Your Practice
Can you answer the question, “What sets my practice apart?” If not, it will be difficult to give prospective patients a compelling reason to choose yours over the others. You might consider offering unique services, like video visits, perhaps done after standard office hours or on weekends, to make your practice stand out as the most flexible and convenient option for patients.
Promote Every Service to Current Patients
It is important that your patients understand the breadth of services that they can get from you. For example, do you offer lifestyle counseling services such as smoking cessation or weight control assistance? If so, make sure that all of your patients know about these options.
Ask for Testimonials and Reviews
Did you know that 84% of Americans say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews? There’s no reason to believe that this isn’t just as true for healthcare. Unfortunately, people, even people who are extremely happy with a provider, seldom post unsolicited reviews. If you want to fill your website page with quotes from happy customers, and have a positive star rating on Yelp (Yes, people use Yelp for physicians) and other sites, be sure to ask your most satisfied patients to make their voice heard.
You almost certainly didn’t go into medicine to become a marketer, but there’s no reason that you can’t easily leverage a few of these tools of the trade to boost the visibility of your practice.