Greg Fawcett has been a key partner for our clients and readers by providing us with a marketer’s perspective on how to get your practice’s message to your current and potential patients. In this blog post, originally published on the Precision Marketing Partners Blog, Greg discusses the building blocks to a successful marketing strategy.
Medical practice marketing is now a fairly common concept for many physicians and clinics. It wasn’t always that way, however, and Evanston Hospital in Illinois was one of the first healthcare institutions to create an official marketing position within the company. Now, it’s widely accepted that without a comprehensive healthcare marketing strategy, your practice is unlikely to be as successful in new patient acquisition as it might. If you recognize you need marketing but simply don’t know where to start, here are some essential steps to healthcare marketing that will put you on the right track.
Step 1: Identify Your Patient
Humans! Unless yours is a veterinary practice, this part goes without saying. Or does it? Many non-marketers get hung up the market research aspect and are unable to clearly identify their prospective patients from the general mass of humanity. Even if you’re a general practitioner offering family medical services and anyone is a potential patient, the defining factor is your budget. You simply don’t want to be spending money marketing to non-profitable patients, so careful market research and segmentation is important for successfully reaching a specific niche with your healthcare marketing strategy.
Step 2: Choose Your Methods of Access
Once you’ve determined who your target audience is and divided it into segments based on differentiators, you need to figure out the best method of reaching each group. Methods include:
- Having a website. However, just because you have one doesn’t mean you’re reaching the right people.
- Optimizing for search. The majority of prospective patients use online search to find medical practices in their area, so your website needs to be optimized for search engine indexing.
- Regular updates. Do you have a content marketing strategy that keeps your website fresh and helps you attract potential patients?
- Social media. Are your various profiles consistently engaging with followers and bringing you new leads?
- Email marketing. Do you regularly send out news and information to existing patients?
- Direct mail. Have you tried sending out a direct mail campaign to let local residents know about your services?
- Print advertising. Even if you can’t afford color ads in mainstream publications, your local newspaper is likely to have a classified section that a percentage of residents use, so if they are part of your target market, you should be using the option.
Step 3: Determine Your Value Proposition
So you know who you want to reach with your healthcare marketing strategy and how you plan to do so. But what are you going to tell them when you do? It’s not enough to list your services, you have to give them a reason to want to use you. Most of the residents in your area are already using a medical practice, so they need a good reason to change. And don’t worry about whether it’s ethical or not – competition is good for everyone. It keeps the service providers on their toes and benefits the patients. No, we aren’t suggesting that you compare your offering to anyone else’s – just that you present the benefits of using your services in the very best light that you can:
- What’s your value proposition? What do you offer that differentiates you from other healthcare services?
- What are the benefits to the patient of using your practice? For example:
- Being open for longer hours is a service, which gives patients the convenience of coming in when it fits their schedule.
- Offering onsite laboratory facilities eliminates the need to travel elsewhere for blood tests.
All this is part of your value proposition and helps to persuade prospects to try out your practice and services.
Following these essential steps will enable you to formulate a workable healthcare marketing strategy that will lead to successful patient acquisition for your practice.
Still stuck? Book your free 60-minute consultation with a medical marketing consultant today and find out how we can help you implement a successful strategy for growing your practice.
Precision Marketing Partners is a Raleigh, North Carolina based marketing firm specializing in Inbound Marketing, Branding, Creative Design and Strategic Planning for the medical and health care industry. Our approach is one of partnering with clients to help them build a strong marketing presence. We bring a problem solving attitude to the table; this allows us to formulate and create pro-active branding and marketing messages and materials that take our customers to a new level of success.
The types of clients that we best serve are small to medium-size practices. For most, you have the ideas and perhaps a strategy, but don’t have the means or time to execute either. This is our forte and where Precision Marketing Partners can help grow your practice and bottom line.
Today’s world is web and cloud-centric; advertising messages are a constant and delivery methods change in a moment. Doesn’t it make sense to partner with a marketing team that understands the changes and nuances and how they impact your business?