Marketing Your Practice: 10 Strategies to Reach More Patients
Running a private healthcare practice is no walk in the park. Not only do you have patient care to consider, but also finances, staffing, compliance, and yes, marketing. For some people, getting the word out and talking up their clinic is second nature. For others, it’s just another thing on your to-do list. Fortunately, marketing your practice effectively doesn’t have to be strenuous. Here are nine strategies you can use:
1. Write a Blog
Creating and regularly updating a blog on your website is a great way to help new people discover your practice, build trust, and create better patient relationships. By publishing informational content, answering frequently asked questions, and writing how-to guides on your areas of specialty, you’re providing yourself and others with helpful material that can be shared across online platforms, spreading awareness of your name and your clinic.
2. Offer a Free Introductory Service
Who doesn’t love free things? Offering a small, but desirable, good or service is a tried-and-true marketing method that gets people in the door. While healthcare practices can’t offer a free appetizer or trial, you can start marketing free consultations or adjustments. You may not make any money off of a prospective patient’s first visit, but you do get effective marketing mileage from doing what you already do--great patient care.
3. Create Videos
Video is being consumed online at a staggering rate: more than 500 hours of videos on Youtube are watched every day, and one third of all online activity is spent watching video. Video content is more accessible than ever, and people can’t get enough. Invest in a simple camera set-up and create patient testimonial videos, treatment how-tos, or film staff introductions. By sharing your story in video format, you’re encouraging people to get to know you, and eventually seek you out for care.
4. Use Traditional Marketing
Digital marketing gets a lion’s share of the attention today because of the sheer amount of time Americans spend online, but that doesn’t mean that traditional marketing is obsolete. Businesses that rely on the local community, like healthcare practices, can still leverage print, billboard, and television ads to great effect. Try mailing a postcard to surrounding neighborhoods with an introductory promotion, or creating a radio ad for a local station. The internet is great for reaching a wide range of people, but that’s not always who you’re after.
5. Try Online Ads
Much like traditional marketing, effective advertising online requires a little bit of investment. Social media ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can all help you reach different segments of the population, and you can tailor them to reach the people your practice can best service. In addition, ads on Yelp or with Google Adwords can put your business in front of the people who are searching for related services, so you already know they’re ready to talk.
6. Build Your Authority
We’ve talked extensively on this blog about building your professional network, and while that’s a vital part of building your authority, there are other avenues that you should also pursue. For example, writing and publishing peer-reviewed research papers, studies, and articles not only contributes to your knowledge and the knowledge of your scientific community, but it also adds authority to your name, and by association, your practice. This is certainly not a quick way to bring in new patients, but it is a strategy to explore for long-term success.
7. Fine-Tune Your Website
Yes, you’ll want to have a professional online presence on social media and industry blogs, but to be truly effective online, you need to have a well-designed, strategic website to represent your practice. Your website should not only look good, but support your branding, convey relevant and accurate information about the clinic and its services, be easy to access, offer visitors a quick way to contact you, and more. With a great website, you have somewhere to send people when you create ads or post on your social accounts.
8. Write Press Releases
Whenever something notable happens to you or your clinic, let people know. Staying top-of-mind to your prospective and current patients is the only way to get them to remember you when they need to seek care, and publishing your achievements gives people something positive to remember. Write press releases about new product or service offerings, employee or patient milestones, anniversaries, and more, and keep your local community engaged with your practice.
9. Maintain Local Listings
While we don’t necessarily recommend investing too much in your phone book, maintaining local listings is essential to creating a successful business in our digital world. Google MyBusiness, Yelp, and other business directories are helpful and user-oriented spaces for people to seek out businesses in their areas. Ask your current patients to review their experiences online to give your listings a boost in the search results and provide recommendations and insight into your practice for potential patients. Ensure that all information, such as your phone number, email, and address is correct, and always claim your listing so that you can manage questions and reviews.
10. Get Active in Your Community
Sometimes, the best way to market is not really a strategy or best practice, but simply to get your boots on the ground and create relationships with the people around you. Sponsor a community event, or volunteer for a cause. When you give to your community, you’ll probably find that they’re willing to give back.
You may not feel like an expert, but you don’t need to be. Sometimes focusing your efforts on marketing is the push your practice needs to bring in new patients.
This is the final installment of our "Marketing Your Practice" blog series, but you can still subscribe to the blog to get great articles on healthcare to your inbox.