By Kristi Morris
Increasing your marketing effectiveness is as easy as outlining a well-rounded healthcare marketing plan and staying consistent with your brand. A good integrated medical marketing plan is essential to the success of a small medical practice or business. In fact, the ability to properly market your healthcare practice or product is on of the most important aspects of your business. Learn the basic components and considerations of a strategic healthcare marketing plan, and you will be well on your way to increasing the effectiveness of your marketing dollars.
Focus on Relationships
The most effective healthcare marketing plan is not always the most expensive marketing plan. In this economy, focusing on the people you already have relationships with will go a long way in promoting your business, or practice. Treat your patients, clients, even vendors as if they are your strategic business partners. Build customer loyalty by keeping it personal, and treat each person you come in contact with as though they are your friend. Establish a culture of customer service, and put the needs of your patients first. Taking the time to learn who they are, and why they have come to see you will contribute to your success, and the success of your practice. And don’t forget, good old fashioned face-to-face meetings are the best way to maintain a patient and client relationship.
While successful healthcare marketing used to be a straightforward formula of ‘you get what you pay for’ the new marketing landscape is a little bit different. While traditional paid media such as television, print or billboard still plays a major role in healthcare marketing, now more than ever, a practice needs to have an online presence. As many as 69% of consumers are now using the internet to make well informed healthcare decisions. Meaning if your practice is not on the web, you could be missing out on substantial market share. A physician’s website is a very important aspect to an integrated healthcare marketing plan.
By bringing your organization, whether it be a hospital, dentist, pediatrician or weight loss clinic into an arena where you can stay in constant contact with more people, you will have the opportunity to not only build a better perception of your organization, but also to build a stronger affiliation with your brand. An online presence no longer means just a doctors webpage. Social networking allows healthcare providers to get the word out, generate excitement, and receive valuable feedback.
Consider an online newsletter, a physician blog, tweeting live procedures, or simply using the internet as a means to communicate in times of crisis. Healthcare providers can leverage social media networks to provide real-time updates both for those directly affected by the crisis and those watching from afar.
Media and Community Outreach
You have a great practice with a reputation for focusing on your patients and you have an online presence with a medical website and doctor’s facebook. What’s next? Get your medical practice noticed. And the best way to get noticed by potential patients is to get noticed by the media with a solid medical public relations campaign. Give the media a reason to come knocking at your door. Host an event, or a day, and send out a press release to generate media excitement. Maybe it is flu season, and you are offering free flu shots to the first 25 people in the door. Or maybe it is National Diabetes Month, and you want to encourage people to get tested for diabetes. Either way, write up a press release, and send it to the media. The media is constantly looking for an opportunity to feature a promising business or practice. All you have to do is give them one. Using a healthcare pr agency can help you accomplish these tasks.
Integrating with the community you serve is a vital move for your practice. There are several opportunities to reach out to your community. Form a strategic partnership with a non-profit organization such as United Blood Services. Or consider participating in an educational speaking commitment where you can act as an expert witness for anything from losing weight to maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Find ways to educate the community at large on your area of expertise through webinars, seminars and trade shows.
Marketing for healthcare can seem overwhelming, but follow those simple tips and you will be on your way to success.