Marketing sometimes gets a bad rap in the healthcare space. It’s either too outrageous and reckless or too boring and watered down. At its worst, it’s been called the liar’s game—the slimy sales pitch of manipulation and tall tales.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Good marketing, at its core, is truth telling. It’s telling your story in a way that engages people and gives them the information they need to make educated decisions.
[Tweet ""Marketing is the truth of you, translated into the language of them." Colleen Wainwright"]
So how do you create a responsible and content-rich practice marketing campaign? How do you drive patient awareness and engagement while improving your bottom line? How can you elevate the marketing game and make it about people—not just profit?
- Tell the story of your practice and why you’re in business. Patients don’t fall in love with fancy logos and beautiful design (although those don't hurt). They fall in love with people. Tell your story. Use your “About” section on your website to add some color to your practice. Do you own a family business that’s been around for generations? What made you decide to pursue medicine? Are you committed to your community? Do you have the best nurses in town? Then say so. Don’t apologize for what makes your practice unique, celebrate it in an authentic way.
- Let your patients brag. If you measure your success by patient satisfaction, then give those satisfied patients a voice. Include patient testimonials on your website and/or YouTube channel so prospective patients know what you have to offer. Want a few examples to get started? Check out Rocky Mountain Primary Care's testimonials page and Lederman Orthopedics Youtube channel.
- Be easily accessible. This doesn’t mean you need to be available 24/7 on all forms of social media. It means that when patients need to reach you they can, and it’s not a huge hassle. Consider a HIPPA-compliant email system and drive communication online. Encourage patients to use your patient portal to communicate. Set clear expectations for when patients can expect to hear from you, and then stick to that timeline. Easy and effective communication goes a long way in building rapport with patients.
- Test your marketing campaigns. Figure out what messages speak to your patient demographic and then run targeted ads/promotions in limited locations. This will allow you to check the effectiveness of your messages on a smaller scale without blowing your entire budget. Start to monitor where your referrals come from and dedicate resources to grow those channels.
- Offer different options for appointment reminders, including phone, email, text, or regular mail. Reminders can cut no-shows and last-minute cancellations by 30-50%. Lauren Morgan of Capko and Morgan noted, “Four missed or empty appointments each day cost the average practice over $100,000 a year.” Reminders are more successful when patients are allowed to designate their preferred method of contact.
- Encourage preventive care and remind patients when it’s covered by their insurance. Often patients are unaware of the benefits covered by their plan. Notifying them when they are due for preventative care visits will both increase your revenue, and improve your patients’ well-being. It's a win-win.
- Show your credentials. When choosing providers, people often look for the best they can afford. Show them you're the person they’re looking for. Make sure your credentials are in an obvious place and get them on your website.
- Sell results, not services. Think about what your patients want and build your practice around that. You want to meet a need, not simply sell a service. Killer Shark Marketing has a great post on this: “Using a dental example, people don’t want porcelain veneers or dental implants. They want a beautiful smile, or to be able to bite an apple confidently!”
An effective practice marketing strategy doesn't need to be complicated or over-the-top to boost revenue. The key is effectively communicating with your patients, whether that means telling your story to potential patients or finding the best way to get current patients in for regular check-ups.
What practice marketing tactics helped you boost your practice's revenue? Share what worked by leaving a comment below.