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Marketing your medical practice is an art as well as a science. This is because marketing requires inventing innovative strategies, and artistically executing them, and effectively connecting with target audiences. However, some strategies may yield better outcomes, depending on how you implement them and who your target audiences are.
With the wide variety of marketing channels available for marketing your medical practice, it is not surprising to feel stumped. Keeping this in mind, we have put together some of the most cost-effective yet efficient marketing ideas for your medical practice. You may have already heard of these ideas but dismissed them as outdated. However, even top-notch medical professionals engage in marketing tactics and see their medical practice grow and thrive. Read on.
Why must you market your practice?
According to various studies, patients are always looking for healthcare providers online. In fact, as healthcare shifts from a provider-driven system to a patient-driven system, patients are increasingly looking for providers who can partner with them and advise them.
Marketing is an influential way for you to show your skills to your target audiences. As you establish yourself as a healthcare expert, it becomes imperative to build a level of trust between your practice and your patients. Through your various marketing efforts, you can demonstrate your commitment as well as your passion for serving the community.
Effective strategies that will not cost a fortune
Content marketing. Website. Social media. Email marketing.
Email marketing is still a top choice for personalized communication. It is cheap, easy and quick. You can use it to stay in touch with current and potential patients. You can send individual mailers and newsletters. You can also send messages to targeted groups and still personalize them for each patient. Email has proven to be perfect for sending appointment reminders.
- Useful content is still the king. Creating quality content about your specialty and products is a tried and tested way of marketing your medical practice. Scalable and rich content will add value to your brand name. Good-quality content plays a significant role in search engine ranking. Search engines are intelligent enough to understand whether or not you are providing relevant information. Therefore, stuffing your website and blogs with well-known keywords may not work for long. Instead, when you focus on creating well-written content with accurate information, search engines will spot it and reward you with a higher ranking.
- Email marketing is one of the best ways to remind patients of their upcoming appointments. You can schedule follow-up emails for three to five months after each appointment to ensure your patients do not miss their annual checkups. Through emails and newsletters, you can also update existing patients with healthcare tips, seasonal offers and discounts, and updates about your practice. It is surprisingly easy to kick-start your email marketing and start attracting more patients.
- A website is an extension of your practice and a reflection of the skills and attention you provide to patients. Not only is it important to have a website, but it is also essential to make it look welcoming and informative. According to Pew Research Center, almost 72 percent of U.S. adults search for health information online. Therefore, if you want to market your medical practice, you will have to be present online. While you may be using several ways to market yourself online, all of your marketing efforts must point to one central location – your practice website. If you already have a website, you must upgrade to a responsive, mobile-friendly site. This is because non-responsive websites may not rank well in Google search results.
- Print and electronic media are still an excellent way to spread the word about your medical practice. Traditional media can help you attract a large volume of patients and improve the brand image of your practice. You can consider billboards, TV and radio commercials, and print ads for marketing your service to your target audience. Print and electronic ads are a great way of promoting an upcoming event or if you wish to announce your new location or addition to your medical practice. Press releases are also an effective way to get the word out about public events such as a seminar on general health, an open house on diabetes care or a health fair.
- Social media platforms are a great tool for connecting with your patients and advertising your medical practice. Nearly 40 percent of social media users manage their health based on the information they receive through social media platforms. Millennials are twice as likely to have online discussions regarding health issues. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great for engaging your patients by regularly posting health tips and news related to your practice. You do not have to be present and active on every social platform. Just make sure that you are posting regularly in order to attract more followers. You can decide to make a posting schedule to help you stay on track. However, using social media infrequently, or using it in the wrong way, can do more harm than good.
- Customer review sites such as Yelp and Healthgrades are becoming popular among patients. These review sites can open the door for you to engage with your patients. Online reviews are being increasingly utilized by existing and potential patients. According to a recent survey, more than 28 percent of potential patients regularly search third-party customer review sites. Online reviews are great tools that can help you ensure the quality of patient care. Your practice will have a better chance of serving your patients well if you can utilize the power of online reviews for marketing your medical practice.
- NAP stands for name, address and phone number of your medical practice. It is critical to be consistent with this information every time you use it. This means every time you create a social media account or get your practice listed on an online directory, you must use the same NAP. You must mention accurate NAP on your practice website, social networks and local online directories.
- Referrals and partnerships can trigger the growth of your medical practice. Industry experts believe that referred patients are more loyal and profitable than regular patients. This means that building referral programs and developing cordial relationships with fellow physicians is essential for every medical practice. A successful referral program can create a continuous stream of new patients. Moreover, once your partner physicians start referring patients to your practice, brand awareness and reputation are apparent benefits. Physician referrals are a critical component in growing your practice and attracting new patients.
- Online local directories are essential for the growth of your medical practice. With the majority of patients using search engines to find local practices, getting listed in local directories is critical. These directories can improve the health of your medical practice and can take it to the next level. While some of these local directories, such as Healthgrades, Vitals and ZocDoc, are specific to the medical community, other directories such as Google+ Local and Yahoo! Local are not industry-specific.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about selecting the most appropriate keywords for your medical practice. To choose the best-suited keywords for your practice, you will need to get into the minds of your potential patients. You may need to consider all the possible keywords that your patients may type into the search engine in order to find a new doctor in their area. The more relevant keywords you pick, the more relevant patients you will attract. Other than keywords, another factor that can affect SEO rankings is how quickly your website loads. A website that loads quickly can boost your SEO efforts, whereas a website that takes a longer time will fail to attract and engage visitors.
Effective marketing strategies will increase ROI
The success of your medical practice depends on your marketing efforts. In today’s competitive landscape, you cannot increase ROI simply by employing a tailored marketing strategy.
So the next pertinent question is: Are there any tips for attracting new patients and growing your practice? There is no “one size fits all” formula to market your medical practice. Strategies for marketing your medical practice may vary from one practice to another. A strategy that may work for one practice may not work for others. You will need to focus your marketing efforts on your skills and specialties, along with referrals from patients and other physicians in the area. Knowing your niche and marketing your medical practice is critical to your success.
Over to you
If you are still not sure how to market your medical practice online, Practice Builders can assist you. Our marketing specialists can develop a custom campaign unique to your needs. For more information, contact a representative.
It seems like every marketing book provides a different understanding of the essential elements for building a successful medical practice. While some experts suggest quick-fixes, others advice a more “how-to” approach. Business books are often aimed at MBAs who understand corporate jargon, but not hectic medical practices. As a result, you may juggle and jostle to follow the next steps needed to grow your medical practice and attract new patients.
While your medical practice may have survived so far by acquiring a great location, hiring trained staff and delivering excellent patient experiences, the “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” method will only carry any practice so far. Sure, hard work is an essential for any medical practitioner, but flourishing in today’s ever-evolving environment requires strategic planning.
How can strategic planning help you strengthen the success of your medical practice while meeting patients’ demands?
Why do you need SWOT?
Strategic planning not only helps you look for opportunities to expand your medical practice, it also makes you analyze your current condition. A good strategic plan includes a mission statement, which leads to planning, documenting and executing all the milestones that will be met.
Strategic planning for your medical practice is similar to driving a car across the country. You must be aware of where you are, critically examine your present condition and set milestones in order to reach where you want to be. It can be achieved by implementing a technique called SWOT analysis.
A SWOT analysis allows a medical practice to explore internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats.
What is a SWOT?
A staple of strategic planning, a SWOT analysis is often used as a basis for business strategy. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative information, this analysis will help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in your medical practice.
The data gathering process and performing a SWOT analysis may vary, and there is no single correct method. The size of your medical practice, the frequency of planning meetings and the changing markets are significant factors that affect the process.
What makes a SWOT analysis essential for medical practitioners is that it can help you see opportunities that you can exploit, understand weaknesses that you can manage and acknowledge threats that you may have overlooked.
SWOT analysis: Begin with the end in mind
For a driver to plan the fastest route, he must know his destination. Similarly, you must initiate the SWOT analysis by visualizing a destination, or an end point. To plan your “destination,” you will have to define success as you see it, both as an individual and medical practitioner. You must be specific about your aims and goals and must have a clear vision of your practice. To be effective, your SWOT analysis must be based on a vision that emphasizes your strengths and matches how you see yourself.
Essential SWOT elements
You can use a SWOT analysis to assess resources and capabilities with regard to the competitive environment in which your medical practice operates. Your findings will guide you in deciding the future course of action of your practice. You can consider the following elements:
Strengths: The idea is to identify your strengths and leverage their power to establish your brand. You can quickly identify your strengths through your dialogues with staff. Your internal strengths may include skilled staff, few bad debts, a strong brand name, niche patient base, excellent location, etc.
Some of the questions to be answered are:
- What inspires new patients to come to your practice?
- What advantages does your practice have over local competitors?
- Do you have access to any unique resources?
Weaknesses: A SWOT analysis is your opportunity for tackling underperformance in your practice. It is often difficult to recognize management and personnel weaknesses, except with hindsight. While assessing your weaknesses, it is advisable to be realistic and form a strategy to address your challenges. You will have to dig deeper into how your patients perceive your practice. Some of the typical examples of weaknesses in medical practices include a shortage of staff, waiting time, bad financial management, high staff turnover, poor location, shabby premises, outdated equipment and inability to attract new patients.
Some of the questions to be answered are:
- What factors cause you to lose patients or keep you from attracting new ones?
- How do you measure up against competitors?
- How do your patients perceive you?
Opportunities: One of the most efficient approaches when looking at opportunities is to analyze if your strengths present any opportunities to your practice. Alternatively, is it possible for you to create opportunities by eliminating some of the weaknesses? You can also discover opportunities by changing technology, treatments and policies related to your specialty. External changes may open up new possibilities. For instance, changes in the law that requires patients to purchase a product. Some of the opportunities may include great location, convenient and ample parking, sufficient and well-trained staff, cost-effectiveness, successful referral programs with physicians, etc.
Some of the questions to be answered are:
- Where are the obvious opportunities facing you?
- Are there any upcoming medical trends that may provide opportunity?
- Are there any special conditions that may open doors for your medical practice?
Threats: It is imperative to realistic about threats when conducting a SWOT analysis. This is because the sooner you accept and face your threats, the sooner you can begin to handle them. Your aim must be to identify where your practice is and where you expect it to be in future. It is essential to visualize this before you embark on your journey to overcome the obstacles. Threats can be minor or potential enough to destroy your medical practice. You could be expecting changes that may directly or indirectly affect your practice and have far-reaching effects. For instance, a newly renovated office of your competitor may make your equipment look obsolete and may result in loss of patients. Threats may include anything that comes in the way of your goals. While no practice is immune to threats, the purpose of a SWOT analysis is to protect your practice against threats. Your threats could be stiff competition, staff dissatisfaction, security breaches, dissatisfied patients, etc.
Some of the questions to be answered are:
- What difficulties do you face?
- Should you be worried about your competition?
- Are technological enhancements making your facility look obsolete?
- Could your weaknesses threaten your business?
- Can you convert threats into opportunities?
It is critical to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your medical practice. The objective of a SWOT analysis is to carefully assess the services, culture, brand image, weaknesses and opportunities. You can perform a SWOT analysis to determine the positioning of your products and services in the competitive marketplace. By analyzing your SWOT, you can assess the current state of your medical practice and plan a course of action to reach your goals.
By asserting your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses, opportunities will present themselves. Awareness of threats can help you survive in a cut-throat market. A SWOT analysis is similar to doing an in-house audit as it provides the tools and knowledge required for strategically planning for a more productive approach.
Make it a collaborative effort and focus on evaluating your personal ambition along with the practice’s goals. You may find the process a bit uncomfortable, but it will provide you with the ammunition to overcome and respond to weaknesses and threats. Here are some basic ground rules to help you streamline the process:
- Keep your findings in perspective by limiting yourself to a maximum of three factors for each of the four categories.
- Avoid over-complexity and confusion by keeping your replies simple and short.
- Be specific and avoid gray areas.
- Aim to form a competitive business strategy that helps you gain an edge over the competition.
- Brainstorm to convert weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities.
- Make sure you have trustworthy information when you are analyzing various elements.
- Avoid making decisions based on opinion or guesswork.
- Prioritize your tasks and reduce the list down to a reasonable size.
- Document a plan of action for each item or goal.
Once you have brainstormed on all of these elements and evaluated your goals, you should have arrived at several tasks or items. These tasks or action items are what you should document in your SWOT chart. Go through the list and set priorities, make commitments and come up with strategies to deliver on each item. Ask yourselves:
- How can we use our strengths for reaping more opportunities?
- Can our strengths help us prepare for the threats?
- Can our weaknesses be converted into opportunities?
You will need to answer these questions before you finalize strategies for achieving goals and positioning your practice for growth.
By using a SWOT analysis to assess internal and external factors, your practice can unveil hidden opportunities while maneuvering potential threats.
Contact Practice Builders to discover how we can help you conduct a SWOT analysis for your medical practice. The result will be increased patient volume, enhanced reputation and overall growth.
Effective marketing is powerful. Successful medical practices understand the value of having an integrated marketing strategy that includes traditional and online marketing to reach, attract and retain patients. Having an effective strategy and knowing your target audience is imperative for the success of your medical practice in 2017.
Many medical practitioners believe that medical practices do not need a marketing strategy because everyone needs a doctor. While this is correct, medical practices still need to advertise because when people need a doctor, they will not contact a medical practice that they do not even know exists. Also, there is more competition than ever in the medical community. Therefore, it is critical for every medical practice to have an effective marketing strategy. In the absence of a marketing strategy, a medical practice will not have a consistent flow of patients to keep the practice running. Keeping this in mind, here are a few doctor marketing tips that are essential to the success of your medical practice:
- Focus on enhancing the patient experience: One of the best ways to stand out in a crowded healthcare marketplace is to provide an excellent patient experience. An unmatched patient experience is a way to compete in 2017. Unfortunately, most practices do not have a patient experience strategy that tracks and improves all of the touch points of a patient’s journey. It is essential to understand what your patients need in order to build a successful patient experience strategy.
- Provide quality content on your website: In 2017, it will become even more critical for medical practices to invest in SEO tactics. Therefore, quality content should be a part of your SEO plan. You can develop content to inform patients about your practice, specialty and work hours. Quality content plays a significant role in search engine ranking. It is imperative to create content keeping patients in mind. Search engines are intelligent enough to gauge the relevance and quality of your content. However, if you are creating well-written content with relevant information, search engines will reward you with better rankings.
- Upgrade to a mobile-friendly website: According to a Google survey, nearly 61 percent of visitors will leave a website if it is not mobile-friendly. It is important to make your website stick to responsive design principles. Not only will that make it comfortable for potential patients to use your practice website, but it will also offer SEO benefits as Google favors responsive websites over standard websites.
- Use Google for attracting local patients: A lot of potential patients are searching Google to find local medical practices. Make sure when potential patients search for medical practices in your area, they find your website on the first page of the search engine results. You must encourage your patients to go to your Google Places listing and leave a review of your practice after their appointment. Once you receive a high number of positive reviews, your practice will start showing in the local search results on Google, which will help you attract local patients to your practice.
- Do not forget social media marketing: Social media has become one of the most influential marketing tools for medical practices, but you must utilize it properly to reap maximum benefits. Social media is certain to play a vital role in how medical practices market themselves in 2017. You must select your social media platforms wisely and make sure to market your practice the right way. Having a widespread presence on social media is a great way to build a brand following, which may drive new patients to your practice.
- Network with other physicians: In order to grow, specialty practices need a referral base. Getting a new patient as a referral from another doctor requires a relationship-building technique. You must identify which doctors can recommend your practice to their patients and then develop a strategy to achieve those goals. You must focus on building relationships with other physicians by joining local medical associations and attending relevant seminars and functions.
- Convey your message through blogging: Blogging is a proven way to reach, retain and engage your patients. If done right, blogging can take your marketing strategy to a new level. However, as a busy medical practitioner, you may need to overcome a few barriers in order to be a successful blogger. Keep the tone of your blog casual, and it should not be too lengthy.
- Emphasize your skills and specialty: This is even more important if your practice is located in a competitive area. When a patient is searching for a new medical practitioner, he or she wants as much information as possible to be able to make an informed decision. For instance, if there are four dentists in your area, but your practice is the only one that offers a certain procedure, this is something you should emphasize on your website and in other marketing efforts.
- Get listed on Google My Business: It is important fo you to get listed on Google My Business as it is an ideal platform for promoting a brick-and-mortar medical practice. Once you have created and claimed your business listing, you must ensure that all of your information is consistent and accurate across various online directories and citations. It is also important to sign up on third-party review sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, ZocDoc, RateMDs and many more.
- Follow up with your patients: Medical marketing is a tricky business. The best way for a medical practice to market itself is by taking care of its patients. If done properly, you will be rewarded with positive word-of-mouth, and that is the best possible promotion any medical practice can have. Create an extensive follow-up program. Send regular emails advising your patients to follow instructions after their last visit and reminding them of upcoming appointments.
Over to you
While it is important to have a successful marketing campaign in place, it all boils down to the quality of patient experience you provide. Your patients will notice it, appreciate it and reward you by sticking around and referring your practice to their family and friends. Incorporate these doctor marketing tips into your strategy, and you will be welcoming patients through your practice doors in no time.
If you need any help with your doctor marketing strategy, we are here to help. Contact Practice Builders for a free consultation today.
Seriously, when a doctor is trying to improve his or her online reputation or attract new patients, blogging is usually not considered a useful tool. A number of studies have indicated that blogging is the best way of showcasing your expertise. However, how many physicians ever write one? If they do, are they consistent in blogging? Blogging should be a critical component of your strategy for growing your practice, increasing revenue, enhancing your online reputation, retaining existing patients and attracting new patients.
So if you are working on getting your marketing strategy sorted out, blogging is one of the best ways of educating your current patients and reaching out to potential ones.
Blogging can be compared to a funnel that drives patients to your practice and, eventually, helps you grow your practice and increase revenue. Therefore, if you blog multiple times a month, not only does Google ranks you higher than your competitors, but other websites or journals will publish snippets of your content and give you attribution. Not just this, according to some recent studies, more than 60 percent of patients made an appointment purchase based on a blog post that they read.
When you consistently write relevant and informative articles, it enhances your credibility and builds trust between you and the target audience. All that you need to do is write a new blog every two weeks, share them on your social media profiles or send out in an e-newsletter. The best part is that you can reuse your blogs over and over again.
In case you are wondering about the essential components of an informational blog, here you go:
1. A interesting headline.
2. Around 500 words are usually sufficient.
3. Your target audience are patients. So refrain from using medical jargon. Keep the content simple.
4. Add a striking image that draws readers’ attention.
5. A call to action, if possible.
6. A link to drive the reader to your practice website.
Why blogging matters
You are right in thinking that in today’s busier-than-ever healthcare environment, not many medical practitioners have time to write blog posts in addition to managing appointments and promoting their practices. However, what you may not realize is that doctors who write blogs have numerous advantages over those who do not. Physicians who blog do so for a number of reasons, including patient education, promotion and to personify themselves. Blogs also allow you to connect with patients on a much deeper level.
In addition to expanding your reach, blogging can allow you to be a source of trustworthy health information for patients. A blog allows you to personalize your message from your experiences.
If you are getting motivated, here are some more benefits of writing a blog:
1. Increases visibility: Studies have indicated that 72 percent of patients search for health information online, but most of them do not scroll past the first page of search results. Therefore, it is important that your website shows up high on the search results page. While results may vary every time Google changes its algorithm, studies show that fresh content in a blog and frequent social mentions about your practice can make your website rank higher in search results.
2. Attracts new patients: Blogging is one of the effective ways to attract new patients to your practice. In order to be found by potential patients, you must create quality content that educates and informs your target audience. Your blog posts should provide value to your patients while targeting specific keyword phrases to maximize traction in search engines. Blogging is the starting point of marketing. Not only does it open news door to allow potential patients into your practice, it also builds trust and strengthens your credibility.
3. Helps you stand out: In today’s competitive medical field, it is important for doctors to find a way to make their practice stand out from the competition. Building and maintaining an informational blog is one of the best ways to establish yourself in your community. With time, simple medical blogs can transform into important sources of information that reflect the doctor’s dedication to the betterment of the community.
4. Offers an outlet for expression: Self-expression is a modern form of entertainment, and blogging provides an opportunity for self-expression. Sharing your experiences with peers or the public is a great way to offer yourself a release while adding value to your readers. Just by devoting time a few times a month to express and share your thoughts via a blog can be one of the simplest ways to release stress.
5. Personalizes your practice: While it is essential to maintain professional standards at all time, it is possible to share your personal experiences while keeping the anonymity of your patients in compliance with HIPAA guidelines. Blogging also allows you to show the real you to your patients. Also, having a professional online diary can give a doctor a sense of satisfaction.
Content ideas for engaging your readers
Blogs may vary in content and style, but most of them aim at educating patients, managing their illness and providing valuable health information. Blogs can act as stepping stones for earning patients’ trust. Here are a few content ideas that will make your blog stand out from your competitors:
1. Frequently asked questions: Find out what your patients want to know and write a blog post explaining the most common questions. The most accurate way of finding out what your patients want to know is through surveys and personal discussions. You can also visit social media pages to see what other patients are asking and the way other physicians are responding.
2. Latest news: A blog is an excellent way to share information on latest medical discoveries and news related to general health. With all the fake information going viral on social media these days, a physician can really help people understand the subject. However, instead of sharing primary content, include your views as a doctor regarding the issue.
3. Industry trends: Healthcare is always evolving, and you can use your blog as a platform to discuss upcoming trends and seasonal health problems that can be valuable for both you and your patients. By setting up news alerts, you can help your patients stay updated on emerging trends.
4. Discuss an event: If there is an event coming up, you can write a post about it. You can let your readers learn more about what to expect, highlights and other valuable information. Post-event, you can discuss key takeaways from the event.
5. Guest posting: This is another great way to increase your credibility and popularity and to attract readers to your blog. To start guest posting, you will need to identify and invite the top healthcare bloggers in your space who have the same readers that you want to target. You will have to decide on the frequency of posts and the type of content that you would like your guest bloggers to write. By having well-written guest posts on your blog, you may be able to establish yourself as an authority on the subject.
How often should you blog?
Blog sections on physicians’ websites is often among the top-20 most visited pages. However, many bloggers believe it is necessary to write a blog daily or weekly. The truth is, even occasional blogging can attract more patients to your practice as well as help you enhance your credibility. Here are some guidelines on how to yield maximum return with minimum effort.
1. Primary-care physicians: Primary care physicians mostly get more general health questions and are usually the busiest providers. Given their time crunch, it is acceptable for primary-care physicians to post a blog once a week. They can write on general health issues, in a conversational format, and answer the most common questions they keep hearing in exam rooms. Some of the general blog topics can be the probability of Ebola infections, tips for handling cold and flu, etc.
2. Specialists: A specialist can post a blog about twice a month, just enough to convey regular activity on the website. A specialist can reflect on what’s in the news related to the specialty. The best way to come up with ideas is to do a quick Google search for specialty-related conditions. Sometimes a little effort can go a long way to growing visibility and credibility, thus ensuring new patient growth.
In a nutshell, depending on your blogging goals, you will have to adjust the frequency of your blog post. However, here are some of the unwritten rules for your blog posting frequency:
1. Observe your competitors: If your competitors are blogging three times a week, you should be blogging at least that much.
2. For maximum growth: Post several times a day to drive the most traffic. To begin with, three times a day is considered best for active bloggers.
3. For steady growth: Post at least once a day.
4. For slower growth: Post at least twice a week.
5. For no strategic growth plans: Post once or twice a month.
Medical blogging sites are worth checking out
You could already be actively blogging on the major social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., but if you are not present on physician-only social networking sites, you are missing out on your target customers. Networking sites for medical professionals offer connection, information, crowd-sourcing and fun. Here are some of the best social networking sites where you need to be in order to promote your blog and grow your practice:
1. Sermo: With more than a half-million active users, Sermo is probably the most popular social networking site for healthcare professionals worldwide. According to the site’s policy, only licensed physicians can register there. This site focuses on connecting verified and certified medical professionals from across the globe, who are allowed to ask anonymous questions and have real-time interaction with peers regarding patient care in Sermo’s “virtual doctors’ lounge.”
2. Doximity: A newer kid on the block, Doximity has over a half-million users. Aimed at connecting US-based doctors in all specialty areas, more than 60 percent of all US physicians are claimed to have already signed up for its membership. The site also facilitates doctors to earn some of their category 1 CME credits by reading the online medical journals. This social network platform for doctors comes loaded with features and benefits.
3. DailyRounds: This is a service for physicians that blends specific features of a social networking site and a medical journal. Doctors can use DailyRounds to exchange knowledge, upload and view medical cases and access its drug database. They can also network with other physicians through iOS and Android apps.
4. DoctorsHangout: This is a professional networking site for doctors, residents and medical students globally. This social network can help medical professionals maintain existing personal and professional relationships and develop new ones by reaching out to other doctors around the world.
5. QuantiaMD: Founded as a platform for helping doctors collaborate, over 200,000 members are already using this platform to communicate and share critical information. QuantiaMD helps physicians stay ahead by communication with and learning from peers and specialists. This social networking site provides video content and presentations made by experts for higher-learning institutions.
6. Figure1: This social networking site targets healthcare professionals and medical students in more than 100 countries. The platform allows medical professionals to share anonymous images of an ailment, such as X-rays, and have discussions with their peers related to the pictures. This site helps doctors working in remote locations to connect with other doctors and gain more knowledge on rare illnesses. Figure1 guards the privacy of the patient by removing faces and other identifiable marks immediately when a doctor uploads the image.
Every doctor knows the importance of connecting with patients during an appointment. It elicits a positive response and encourages good reviews about the practice. Your aim should not only be to provide information to your patients, but also encourage them to set an appointment with your medical practice. This makes effective blogging an essential tool in your marketing strategy. It is what you should do to bond with your patients online and to connect with all of them any day and any time.
If you lack time or resources to write a compelling blog post, you should hire a marketing professional or agency who can make your blog a powerful part of your marketing efforts. Practice Builders has a dedicated team of writers who write regular blog posts for medical practitioners. Whatever your specialty is, we have a writer with the expertise to create relevant and informational blogs for you. If you are interested in learning more about our blogging services, contact our representative.
Marketing is crucial for any industry, and healthcare industry is no exception. Whether you are a big hospital or private practice, creating and implementing an effective marketing plan will help to attract new patients, retain the existing ones and maintain relationships with your staff and patients. An effective marketing strategy will play an integral role in increasing revenue, building patient trust, improving online reputation and expanding your reach.
A marketing plan can help you define and identify the target audience and key prospects. It can also assist in evaluating and comparing your practice data against your industry. Clearly, a business plan is necessary, so does your practice have one? Here are some more benefits of creating a strategic plan for your medical practice:
1. A business plan provides clear direction to your marketing initiatives, preventing random activities that may work against each other.
2. The process of developing a strategic plan offers an opportunity for everybody involved to collaborate in shaping the future of the practice. Active participation of all the stakeholders ensures the success of projects and priorities.
3. A strategic plan helps the physician set marketing goals and priorities for the medical practice.
4. Clarity of aims and objectives can improve the quality of patient care.
Strategic business planning offers great long-term value. After the initial planning is done, a practice can use it as the benchmark for measuring progress and monitoring areas of improvement.
The process for preparing a strategic business plan is not clear-cut, but it is one of the most important things you should do for the strategic growth of your practice. A well-defined marketing plan will outline how you will retain existing patients and attract new patients, retain staff and communicate your message in the most efficient manner.
You do not need to hire expensive consultants to create a marketing plan for your healthcare practice. All that you need is the willingness to put in time and effort. An ideal marketing plan should address every aspect related to promoting your practice, and to effectively plan, you must do some research.
Identify your target audience
The first step in any business plan is to figure out who is going to seek your service. If you have a specialty practice, you probably know the answer. According to industry experts, your marketing efforts will be effective only if they are targeted. So to identify your potential patients, start by defining the common characteristics of your current patients. Always remember, your marketing plan is all about reaching your target audience and adjusting your approach to fit their preferences. Beyond demographics, try to learn the reasons why your potential patients will come to your practice, know your competition and understand your competitors’ approach in reaching the target audience. Examine how your competitors market their practice and then compare their approach, services and marketing strategies with yours. You must also determine your unique selling proposition and understand what makes you different from your competition.
Marketing is all about keeping up-to-date. So make sure while doing your research, you stay updated on current affairs. The idea is to keep up-to-date with financial, political and marketing trends that influence the medical community so you can create an effective business plan that responds to changing market conditions.
Time for some brainstorming sessions
After you have identified your potential market and patients, you will need to categorize and address critical operational questions about your medical practice. You may need to set up brainstorming sessions with people you trust, including family, friends, team members or other professionals. During these sessions, try to find answers to these basic but critical questions:
Question: Which marketing platforms will make be most suitable for promoting your services?
Pro tip: You will need to think regarding how to present or sell your services. For instance, consider offering packages that are generic in nature and offer value for money.
Question: What is the best time and frequency of marketing your service?
Pro tip: Too much promotion can create a negative brand image in the minds of potential patients. Too much advertising tends to make patients suspicious. So depending on your target audience, determine the best time for promoting your practice.
Question: What are you trying to achieve from your business plan? How do you plan to measure these goals?
Pro tip: According to experts, your marketing plan should include basic tasks that have short-term goals so that you do not end up compromising on the patient experience. You can consider using big data to evaluate and measure results and their impact on ROI.
Penning the business plan
Now that you have completed the groundwork, it is time to put all your facts and figures into words. Here are some basic steps for creating a business plan for your medical practice:
1. Define your mission and vision: This is where you need to determine your goals. You have to understand where you want your practice to be in five to seven years. You will need to prepare a list of all the marketing techniques and tactics and determine what options will work best for your practice. Some of the effective marketing tactics are networking, direct marketing, print advertising, training sessions, media, open houses, social media, blogs, third-party websites and much more.
2. Identify your team: In order to build support and generate enthusiasm, you should determine the outgoing personalities in your organization. Find people who will help support your marketing efforts by hosting open houses, patient training sessions, interviews and other public relations initiatives.
3. Market segmentation: Consider potential patients think outside the box. Look within your organization first – you may find some of your best customers and marketers there. You must understand where your patients come from and dive deeper into your business model. Is your practice mainly run by physician referrals, or do patients refer directly? You need to create an extensive list of potential patients and categorize them.
4. Create patient personas: Patient personas are representations of your ideal patients. You must create patient personas based on your research and reflect on their needs and issues. For instance, if one of your buyer personas is a diabetic, his or her needs will be different from a flu patient.
5. SWOT analysis: SWOT matrix is another important component of the business plan. You can use this analysis to assess your practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This study will help you understand your market situation better and discover growth opportunities. For a successful SWOT analysis, you must be specific, realistic, compare different situations and keep your business plans and goals updated.
6. Prepare a budget: Now that you have all the market information you need and have established the best way to reach your potential patients, focus on your budget to support your marketing campaign. To begin with, it is advisable to stick with the 80/20 rule. According to this rule, 80 percent of your business volume will often come from 20 percent of your patients.
7. Share your vision: The first step is to make sure the plan is received and understood by your organization’s leadership. Next, make sure your plan becomes a part of the organizational culture. You must encourage employees to come up with ideas that will support your idea. Always share your plans with physicians, volunteers, employees, board members and top leadership.
8. Plan the rollout: To begin with, introduce your campaign internally. Your organization’s leadership and staff are often your best support. If they get the message, your marketing efforts will be successful.
9. Measure and evaluate: You should regularly track new patients, physician referrals, leads, website hits and procedure volumes in order to assess the success of your business plan.
Don’t forget the 7Ps
Even the most insightful services, supported by the best business plan, will not survive on the market if they are unable to reach potential patients. That is why practices need to invest in strategies that will bridge the gap between them and the target audience. For your marketing initiatives to be successful, you must address the 7Ps in order to evaluate and measure your business activities. These seven Ps are product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. These 7Ps will help you review and define key issues that impact your marketing activities.
1. Product: When was the last time you took an unbiased look at your products, service, facility or value proposition? Do your products meet the needs of the patients? Do your products and services deliver value? Is your medical practice properly presented? The ‘product’ for your healthcare practice is the happiness and satisfaction of your patients, which is intangible and cannot be quantified. The only way is to know that customers receive value and comfort by way of your medical practice.
2. People: Healthcare is all about people – your current patients, potential patients, staff and management – everyone delivers or receives a service plays a significant part in the product category. Your patients will evaluate the service and satisfaction based on assumptions and interactions. Usually, patients do not have much insight to your medical skills, but they will know if they are pleased based on how you deal with them. Your reputation and your image are not yours alone – it is teamwork.
3. Price: It is the amount people pay in exchange for the product received. Therefore, the price must be competitive, enough to generate profit, but may vary when bundled with promotional offers. Sometimes, price is the biggest factor. Therefore, as a practice owner, you must take a serious look at those areas where there is flexibility and be open to adjusting and reducing prices to meet your patients’ needs.
4. Promotion: This refers to all the direct and indirect ways of communicating about your product to your people or potential patients. This may include personal and mass interaction. In all instances, promotion should always be carried out in a professional manner. The objective of promoting your practice is to examine how, when, what and where you can offer your service to your target audience.
5. Place: This points to presenting your products or services to your target audience in the right place and at the right time. Needless to say, the ‘place’ will be your office where the product will meet the user. However, in healthcare, a change in location can impact the user’s decision to buy.
6. Packaging: Take an unbiased look at the appearance of your office, front office, waiting area, brochures and website and the appearance of your medical staff. You might be surprised to see what patients are observing when they walk through your front door.
7. Positioning: This refers to the way your brand, products or service are perceived by your target customers. If you could get the opportunity to create the ideal impression in the minds of your patients, what would you want it to be?
For successfully growing their practice and attracting new patients, many practices are working with medical marketing agencies. As a medical marketing company, Practice Builders knows what is suitable for different medical specialties. We can introduce you to the best marketing tactics that will draw new patients to your practice. Moreover, we know how to develop effective business plans that will lead to significant growth in your medical practice. To find out more, contact us today.
There is a lot of information available about how to attract new patients to your medical practice, but not much thought is given to patient retention. What most medical professionals do not seem to realize is that retaining a patient requires less time and money than acquiring a new one.
In a recent patient case study, increasing the retention rate from 86 percent to 89 percent lead to over $ 150,000 in revenue. Also, retaining an existing patient is five times more cost-effective than to acquire a new one; yet only 15 percent of medical practices focus on patient retention.
Whether you have recently set up your practice or have a successful 20-year career, patient retention will always be critical to your success. As a medical professional, have you ever wondered why patients do not return to some practices? What do patients expect? When some of the patients were asked reasons for their dissatisfaction, this is what they reported:
1. Feeling of being neglected or left out
2. Poor communication or misinformation
3. Feeling rushed
4. Lack of description for tests and procedures
The real issue is: Medical practitioners do not have enough time to ensure patients’ needs are met. As a result, medical practices are always facing situations where patients drop out of treatments before their completion. Here are four main components of patient retention, which if implemented correctly, will help your practice:
1. Educate: Make sure you educate your patients on all the treatments you offer. Create a brochure to leave with your patients and tell them the URL to your website. Always keep your website and printed literature updated. You can play informational videos about your practice and services in your waiting area for your patients to watch.
2. Ask: You can ask your patients about their experience with your practice, and to return to your practice for any further needs. Your patients must know that you value them and the trust they have in you. You can request your loyal patients to recommend your practice to their friends and families.
3. Measure: In case the patient leaves your practice despite all efforts, you must learn the reasons behind this decision. Do not let such incidents go unnoticed or it will hurt your reputation and business. It is critical for you to measure patient satisfaction. However, measuring satisfaction is one thing, but implementing changes based on patient feedback is what will eventually matter.
4. Communicate: Always look for innovative and efficient ways to communicate with your patients while they are at your office. Keep communication lines open at all times. You can use patients’ email ids for sending out satisfaction surveys, monthly newsletters, discount coupons, etc. For a more personalized touch, you can call your patient after a procedure to check if they are recovering well. These gestures will make a pleasing impact on the way a patient perceives your practice. According to published reports, email marketing is the most effective tactic for patient retention, yet most medical practices lack an automated platform for providing the right information to the right patient at the right time.
So, do you have any strategies in place for retaining patients? Not every suggestion or plan that you read online will be tailored for your medical practice. Standard methods such as an active referral system, online visibility, SEO tactics, supportive staff and your commitment will ensure your success at retaining patients. Here are some of the basic, but effective, patient retention strategies to consider:
1. Inform patients about their next appointment: Make sure your patients are told the date and time of their next appointment and encouraged to return. While this may not seem vital, it is one of the most common causes of patients not coming back for further treatment. When your patients come for their first appointment, show them a personalized calendar with a treatment schedule that is tailored just for them. A customized calendar will convince your patients of your commitment and the importance of their next visit. Before they leave your office, your staff should give them a schedule that shows their next appointment date. You must train your employees to emphasize the next appointment when the patients are leaving your office.
2. Make the appointment process easy: Never play hard to get, especially for your patients. If your patients are having a difficult time scheduling an appointment, they will be upset before they even come to your office, or they may choose a competitor over you. Ideally, it should not take more than a couple of minutes for your patients to schedule their appointment on your calendar.
3. Send appointment reminders: Your patients may forget or miss their scheduled appointments. It is important to ensure that they are regularly informed of upcoming appointments to make sure they do not compromise their health. You can consider automating your appointment reminders via emails and texts. In some practices, automated appointment reminders have reduced ‘no-shows’ by more than half.
4. Follow up after the appointment: After the patient leaves your office, make sure to send an email or call them to ensure they are following all the instructions. It is a good idea to show them you are interested in their well-being and recovery. You can also consider keeping patients up-to-date on the progress of their treatment.
5. Gather patient information: Be sure to collect key data points, such as patient’s name, birthday, contact number and email, from every patient. There still are some practices that don’t collect and save this information. This data helps in locking necessary patient retention tools. Using patient contact numbers and email, you can easily automate appointment reminders, important updates, birthday wishes and more.
6. Keep the patients updated: You can send out newsletters carrying practice updates to your patients. In the newsletters, you can also include a call to action to refer someone or schedule an appointment. Newsletters can also be used to remind patients of all of your service lines and treatments. Be sure to include website and social media links.
7. Strong referral system: Your first step should be to look at the people in your practice, as they are your cheerleaders. You can get referrals from patients, staff members and other professionals. To build a strong referral system, consider setting up a team of professionals and loyal patients who will act as your brand ambassadors.
8. Focus on each patient: Be respectful and tolerant while listening to patients’ concerns and myths about their illness. Your patients will only feel connected to you if you are listening to their worries. During an appointment, ask about their lifestyle, habits, sleep patterns, etc. Sometimes patients do not realize what may be affecting their health and how to fix it. As you guide them through the rough spots, they become more confident and encouraged.
9. Send out satisfaction surveys: Sending satisfaction surveys to your patients will help you to see whether or not your treatment is having a positive impact on their well-being. Through these surveys, you patients may express their positive and negative experiences. Such surveys give you the opportunity to re-examine your strategy and change the aspects that aren’t yielding positive results. According to the Medical Group Management Association, nearly 80 percent of “better-performing” practices are using patient satisfaction surveys.
10. Simplify billing process: Simplifying the payment process is another way to increase patient retention. This is because patients will be more likely to come back to your practice if the billing process is transparent and straightforward. You do not have to overhaul the entire process. To begin with, you can ensure bills are written in clear and easy-to-understand language, minimize medical jargon, outline multiple payment options, have easy-to-locate contact information and provide maximum transparency in itemized statements.
11. Gift card promotions: You can increase patient retention by introducing gift card promotions. These initiatives will act as an incentive for your patients to make appointments at your practice. Each month, you should randomly give away a few gift cards to patients who booked appointments with you.
12. Build personal relationships: You should try to develop and maintain positive relationships with your patients. Simple gestures, such as ensuring that your staff is courteous, patients were offered water when they arrived at your practice, go a long way in building a lifelong bond. You should train your employees to walk each patient through their appointment with helpful instructions, preparing for a lab test or checking out.
13. Develop a marketing campaign: Satisfying and retaining patients is a crucial part of a successful marketing program. You can start by contributing to a blog, posting on social media and sending emails to your patients informing them about appointments, general health tips, surveys, industry news, testing results and much more. If the patient is not a regular one at your practice, your social media posts will play a critical role in maintaining a connection.
14. Get your systems up-to-date: It is advisable to invest in the right tools and to run your practice. With the increasing popularity of electronic medical record software, you should have a fully automated system for maintaining customer data, scheduling appointments, sending reminders, improving billing processes and other information management.
15. Promote patient engagement: Patients are important stakeholders in their healthcare and can provide valuable input for improving the quality of your service. Therefore, you must encourage them to make choices about their treatment plans and keep them informed of the latest healthcare options.
16. Be polite: Your staff should be trained to interact politely and professionally with patients. You must take some time to listen to how they answer patients’ questions and if they are courteous enough to help patients. The behavior of your staff will significantly impact your patient retention rate.
17. Educate patients: Educated and informed patients are usually the most satisfied ones. If your patients are happy with the quality of your service, they will return to complete their treatment. Many patients derive satisfaction from learning about their illness. They want you to tell them all you know about their illness and the further course of action.
18. Adopt flexible working hours: To attract more patients to your practice, you may have to make a few adjustments to your work schedule. If you listen to the reasons why your patients miss their follow-up appointments, you will know that the biggest reason is their inability to arrive at your office at the set time for their treatment.
19. Manage your reputation: Reputation marketing produces steady results, whether online or offline. The majority of patients who search online for local physicians are more likely to see a directory review rather than your practice website. Also, most patients who want to come to your office will trust online reviews about your practice more than a referral from a satisfied patient. Therefore, promoting your reputation will make the community see you as a trusted medical practitioner.
20. Be empathetic: This is a very effective way to improve patient retention. Try to put yourself in your patient’s shoes and think like one, from the first contact on the phone until the patient leaves your office after treatment. During this role-playing exercise, be as critical and as observant as possible. Your role playing should cover welcome greetings from your front desk, experiences in the waiting room, interactions in the exam room and billing department.
21. Motivate your staff: The secret behind a winning team is a mix of people working hard toward one common goal. Patient retention has a lot to do with your staff and their attitude. When hiring, pay attention to the best combination of polite, efficient, professional, pleasant and optimistic staff.
22. Provide unmatched customer care: You must strive to go above and beyond to enhance the patient experience. Always use patient’s first name in all communications, take steps to lessen boredom in the waiting room, and train your staff to be warm and friendly – these are small gestures that will boost your patient retention efforts.
23. Tactfully handle upset patients: When you notice an angry patient at your office, try to be calm, polite and empathetic. It might be a good idea to ask how their day is going and if there is you can do to make them feel better. A little sympathy can make someone’s day.
24. Handle negative reviews calmly: Even the best medical practices receive negative feedback. If your practice receives negative feedback, it is best to handle it promptly and professionally. Thank the reviewer for the feedback and address their concerns. Even if you cannot resolve the issue, make them feel heard and apologize for their unpleasant experience at your office.
25. Don’t lose heart: Even if a long-time patient leaves your practice, don’t despair. The first step is to contact the patient and find out the reasons they left. Try to address and resolve their concerns, if possible. However, if the issues are not fixable, thank them for the input, make the suggested changes, and let them know. By maintaining a constant touch, they may eventually come back to you.
Comfort leads to satisfaction, and patient satisfaction leads to retention. Learn how Practice Builders can help your practice improve patient satisfaction and retention. We have the knowledge and expertise you need to take patient retention to the next level. Contact us to learn more about our patient retention strategies.
A lot of doctors only see their website as a digital business card to explain what they specialize in and where they’re located.
Done right, your website funnels patients into your office and establishes you as a thought leader.
Here are nine elements to develop on your website to attract new patients and grow your business:
Your website has the potential to be your best salesperson and a marketing machine. It should be built strategically, with clear goals in mind that focus on:
- Increasing patient volume
- Establishing you as a medical authority
- Educating your patients
- Building trust with your prospects
- Providing better quality of care
2. Unique value proposition (UVP)
One of the most important things your website should communicate is your UVP. The way you arrive at your UVP is by establishing your niche—knowing which treatments you excel at and which patients you help better than any other doctor. Once you’ve identified these core strengths, you can hone your website’s messaging to reflect this unique positioning.
Here’s an example from the Southern California Reproductive Center, a clinic that specializes in in-vitro fertilization.
3. Focus on the user
People land on your site looking for solutions or to learn more about why you’re a better option than your competitors. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to find and consume the information they need.
Common impediments to avoid include:
- Duplicate content. Don’t recycle the same content across all of your sites without adding any unique value other than swapping out the logo and contact information.
- Generic content. In an industry that revolves around personal treatment, your content needs to educate, engage and build trust among your prospects.
- Information overload. Too many options overwhelm your visitors and make your calls to action impossible to find. Clarity and simplicity are key. Keep it simple and the message will be that much more helpful.
- Bad writing. Your website content needs to be written for the user. Communicate benefits. Don’t talk down to your readers or go over their heads with technical or medical jargon. Find a way to communicate urgency when necessary without fear-mongering.
4. Offer more than a “contact us” or a “consultation request” button
Many of your website visitors are not ready to make a decision. They are researching options and evaluating you as a possible candidate to help them.
Turn more of those anonymous visits into leads by giving visitors something of value in exchange for their contact info:
- Guides explaining complex procedures for new patients
- E-books detailing treatment options and protocols
- HIPAA-compliant case studies or patient success stories
- Q&A-style webinars to answer common questions
This free e-book from HeartValveSurgery.com is an effective way of converting patients who may need some more information before committing to a surgical procedure.
5. Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is about more than using the right keywords. There are “on-page” and “off-page” components that you have to get right:
- Make sure all content is indexable, including images, videos and plugins
- Make sure your link structure is crawlable
- Use friendly URL structures
- Optimize pages, title tags and meta-descriptions
- Avoid duplicate content
- Build quality links
- Share and promote your content
- Optimize for local and mobile search (see below)
6. Optimizing for mobile
Approximately 58 percent of mobile users search for local businesses on their smartphone daily; 89 percent search weekly, and 70 percent of mobile searches result in action being taken within an hour.
Mobile optimization factors that promote a positive user experience include:
- Larger, legible fonts
- Fast load speed
- Bullet lists and pared-down text
- Simpler navigation and fewer internal links
- Fewer images
Make sure you have a responsive website that is easy to read, navigate and interact with, like this one from the Migraine Relief Center:
7. Optimizing for local search
Like mobile, local search has a unique set of ranking factors that you should be aware of and optimize for. Local search involves any keyword that is geographically qualified such as, infertility treatment in Santa Barbara.
Ranking well for local searches hinges on the following:
- Optimizing the location page(s) on your website (especially important for practices with multiple locations)
- Links back to your site from other trusted local websites
- The accuracy, volume and consistency of your practice’s business listings across select directories on the web
Read a more in-depth study on local ranking factors here.
8. Patient testimonials
In-depth “patient success stories” can have a huge impact on converting on-the-fence prospects into patients.
The La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Center features several patient testimonials on their website. Each patient offers insights into:
Why they chose to get surgery
How they felt before and after their procedures
Other aspects of their experience
9. Not blogging strategically
Strategic blogging is centered around an in-depth understanding of your ideal patients and what they’re searching for online.
Your blog should:
- Develop “ideal patient” profiles
- Determine the challenges they have and the questions they’re asking
- Provide information regarding keywords used to search for answers
The Migraine Relief Center struck gold with their post on daith piercings for migraine relief that saw over 115,000 views from organic searches alone.
Remember, your website is your best salesperson and a marketing machine. Make sure it’s working to help build your practice and drive patients to you.
Shareef Defrawi is president and founder of Bonafide. The original version of this article appeared on his blog.
Marketing is essential to the success of any business, and medical practices are no exception. For a medical practice to grow, a doctor should see 30 to 50 new patients every month. Moreover, to attract new patients, a practice must offer competitive services at reasonable pricing. Retaining existing patients also demands hard work and dedication.
While it is important to maintain a relationship with your existing patients, it is equally important to grow your practice and add new patients. Of course, there are the usual ways to achieve this, including marketing techniques and referral programs, but there is much more you can do. Here are some proven ways to help you grow your practice and add new patients:
1. Know your target audience: Before you reach out to potential patients, you need to understand your current patients. Take a look at your office records and observe the average age, gender, profession and location of your existing patients. This data will help you find the best marketing techniques to promote your practice and attract new patients.
2. Train your team: Your team will get to interact with your patients before they meet you. So train your staff to present a great first impression and address patients’ questions regarding your practice. Your staff should not only know about the services you provide but also offer specific details such as pricing, equipment used during procedures, what to expect during a consult, etc.
3. Follow up with patients: Most of the practices spend about 90 percent of their resources to attract new patients. However, retaining existing patients is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to grow your practice. Also, nurturing relationships with existing patients will increase referrals.
4. Build a mobile-responsive website: Having a modern and easy-to-use website is critical for the growth of your practice and for attracting new patients. Make sure your website is responsive and works equally well on mobile devices. The objective of your practice website is to educate your potential patients so they can make an informed decision and call your clinic for an appointment. Creating a relevant and informational website is probably the most important marketing tool at your disposal.
5. Start a blog: Blogging adds fresh content to your site and also helps with SEO. Consistently posting relevant and original content on your blog shows that you know your practice and are happy to keep your patients informed. You may provide wellness tips, announce local events and share updates about your practice. You can promote the blog using Twitter and use it to engage with existing and potential patients.
6. Host contests: Contents can be an excellent way to get your target audience to know about your practice. Offering prizes and giveaways in exchange for spreading the word about your practice may bring you plenty of leads.
7. Encourage online reviews: Reviews are one of the most efficient ways for attracting new patients and growing your practice. Encourage your patients to share their feedback in an online review. You can do this by sending a follow-up email thanking your patients for their visit and encouraging them to review you online. You can offer discounts or free services to motivate patients for posting online reviews for your practice. With the patient’s permission, you can also make their reviews public by sharing them on your practice website. It will not only help in maintaining patient relationships but will also get your name out there.
8. Connect with the community: Connecting with your community will give you an opportunity to educate people and expand the list of potential patients. You can host a seminar for kids on how to care for their health and ensure hygiene. Parents will not only appreciate this but will also consult you when they need a doctor.
9. Stay active on social media: When your current patients “like” or “share” your content on social media, their entire social circle sees it. That can direct user traffic to your page and may help generate leads. The trick is to share informational content that is relevant to your target users so that more and more people feel motivated to share your content.
10. Monitor your online presence: If your practice has some negative reviews, look for the most common reasons for the complaints. If the review sites allow, make sure you respond to both positive and negative feedback to show that you care. The more positive feedback you can collect, the more calls you’ll get from potential patients.
11. Embrace technological advances: Young patients are keen on having a technologically connected healthcare experience, and you can easily achieve it through cost-effective technical updates. For instance, instead of calling your clinic, patients should be able to download their lab results from your portal. If patients are satisfied with the convenience offered by your clinic, they’ll be more likely to refer other people to your practice.
12. Be responsive: Always staff yourself adequately if you notice an increase in the number of patients. Recruit extra staff to expand your existing services and, if possible, add new services to meet the needs of new patients. You can promote the new services strategically to the target audience. By meeting local demands in a strategic and timely manner, you can increase the number of patients and grow your practice.
13. Deliver quality service: There is no way your patients will refer your practice to others if they aren’t satisfied with your attitude and services. You have to show real interest in your patients. Your manners and the look and feel of your clinic are extremely important. You must be able to communicate well with your patients and make your presence positive and uplifting.
14. Be flexible: Your office hours and appointment schedule must suit that of your patients. If your patients need early morning appointments, lunchtime or evening hours won’t work for them. You have to make yourself available at their convenience.
15. Ask for references: Patients usually don’t refer unless you ask. The simplest way to ask for references is to inform your existing patients that you have room for new patients or that you are adding new services. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and don’t forget to thank them for referrals.
16. Become a referrer: Fostering relationships with other doctors is a two-way street. Other doctors will be interested in referring patients to you if you’ve been referring patients their way. It is always best for the patient to refer them to the best-in-class doctors.
17. Send email reminders: Emails are one of the best ways to remind patients to come by for scheduled checkups. You can schedule follow-up emails after each appointment to ensure your patients never miss their checkups. You can also stay in touch with your regular patients throughout the year with hygiene tips, health news and updates about your practice.
18. Use email marketing: Email marketing is not an efficient method of staying in touch with your existing patients. But you can use emails for sending reminders, promotional offers and general updates about your practice to your existing patients.
19. Invest in local SEO: Make sure you include local SEO strategies in your marketing mix so that your practice shows up in local search results. This is because when potential patients are searching for doctors and medical services online, you want your practice to come up with the first few on top. Having your practice website appearing in the top five slots of a search engine is essential for attracting new patients.
20. Get listed in local online directories: More than 70 percent of people searching for medical professionals make their selection based on local listings in online directories such as Google+, Yelp, White Pages, etc. Listing your practice in an online local directory is a great way to steer targeted traffic to your website.
21. Generate media exposure: The right amount of media exposure can attract a large volume of new patients and increase the branding of your practice. Generating media exposure requires time, effort and a thorough understanding of how each media works. When done properly, media exposure can bring tremendous results for your practice.
22. Post real pictures of your staff: Personalize your practice website and make it an extension of your clinic. Instead of using stock and generic photos on your practice website and social media profiles, post real-life pictures of your team and office. Real-life images will display the comfort of your clinic and add some personality to your practice website.
23. Re-engage past patients: Set up a system for monitoring patient appointments and sending reminders to those who have been missing their appointments for a particular period. Even if a patient seems reluctant to return to your practice, you might convince them to come back with a few small gestures.
24. Take all cases seriously: Always answer patient calls, especially emergency calls, promptly. If patients are suffering and you are not available for them, they will never come to see you again. If you are available for patients in times of an emergency and go above and beyond for them, they will not waste a minute in spreading the good word about your practice.
25. Brochures and business cards: Brochures kept in your office or mailed to potential and existing patients can be an effective marketing tool. Information available in catalogs can be an educational tool that creates awareness about your practice. Moreover, displaying business cards in your reception area will keep your name intact, and patients will have access to your contact information for future reference.
Healthcare industry-induced stress can derail your staff’s demeanor if you aren’t continually keeping morale boosters on your radar. When your staff is happy, they’re more engaged in their jobs, friendlier to patients (who immediately sense it!) and more productive. And if a disengaged employee leaves your practice, it costs about 25% of their salary to replace them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The bottom line: Happy workers create repeat customers and fewer overhead costs.
But how do you perk up your staff’s spirits when the healthcare horizon looks so foggy? Implement these six morale boosters in your practice:
1. Communicate with your staff. While there are many ways to inquire how your staff feels about the work environment, such as via an anonymous survey or during one-on-one reviews, the simplest way is often overlooked. Just ask your staff regularly how things are going – during everyday conversation, staff meetings and formal reviews. Be sure to listen, let them know you genuinely care and then take action to address their concerns. If you sense there sincerely is a problem, do your best to work it out. Staff members who believe their concerns matter will feel valued, which in turn leads them to value your patients and take pride in their work.
2. Lend a hand. Hierarchical breakdown is often the disconnect in an organization, and healthcare is no exception. Let your staff know you are there to lend a hand if you are available. Whether you restock cups at the water dispenser or assist with a patient issue, showing your staff you’re not too above them to take part in the day-to-day duties that their jobs entail will forge trust and respect.
3. Shine those stars. There are so many ways you can recognize your staff’s achievements. Patients and staff alike will enjoy perusing a decorated bulletin board dedicated solely to recognizing staff accomplishments and shining stars. Post staff photos with their achievements, and make sure you offer both staff and patients a clear way to call out an outstanding achievement. Even if you recognize a staff member in a quieter fashion, such as an email, be sure to cc someone even higher up the corporate ladder than yourself to give that employee an added pat on the back!
4. Have fun. There are a number of ways you can pepper both laughs and smiles into your regular routine. Recognize staff birthdays with simple decorations and breakfast treats, celebrate the seasonal holidays with a chance to win grab-bag prizes or spend the last ten minutes of your regular meetings having a little fun. And of course, who doesn’t love Crazy Hat Day?!
5. Make a big impact with the little things you do. Sometimes the small perks make the biggest impact on employee satisfaction. Flex time, free snacks, the ability to earn some extra time off and being able to adjust schedules due to family emergencies without repercussions are all amazing ways to ensure your employees know you care about their general health and well-being.
6. Participate in community events. When you participate in a hospital- or medical practice-sponsored fundraiser, you show the entire organization that you are committed to working together. Not only is occasionally getting the crew together outside of work good for team-building, it often brings awareness of an issue to the community, and it gives participants a sense of involvement and, oftentimes, hope. Just be mindful and respectful of family personal time, and don’t penalize anyone for not devoting their off-hours to volunteer at work functions.
Looking for more ways to boost your staff morale? Practice Builders has the perfect tool: our Customer Service Excellence program! Treat your healthcare team today, because when you help your staff improve the way they interact with patients, you’ll attract more patients and generate more revenue for your practice!
Top 5 Digital Marketing Issues You Need to Consider to Hire the Best Digital Marketer for Your Healthcare Practice
Here’s the hard truth: You need to invest in digital marketing if you want your healthcare practice to remain competitive. The unfortunate reality is that digital marketing can get costly, and not every digital marketer is worth his weight in conversions. So if you’re going to make the investment ¬ as you know you need to ¬ be sure to do it carefully and cautiously so you don’t waste your time and money.
Here are the top five digital marketing issues you need to consider as you look to hire an effective digital marketer for your healthcare practice:
1. A long-term marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential digital marketer to describe for you the 180-day marketing plan that he/she envisions for your healthcare practice. While a decent digital marketer might think three months ahead, a more skilled marketer should be thinking much farther into the future. The foundation you build now with your online presence will support your future marketing efforts. You want a digital marketer who will test and refine strategies along the way, not someone looking to implement cookie-cutter solutions with no plans to test results.
2. Solid metrics to gauge marketing results. You want your marketer to measure not only followers and traffic, but also conversions – the people coming into or returning to your practice because of your digital marketing strategy. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great tool, but make sure your marketer can track a lead from a PPC ad all the way to that new patient lead. You also want to rank high in search engines and make sure your marketing efforts pay off in retaining current patients.
3. Future plans for your website. Be cautious if your prospective marketer seems more interested in beefing up your website with bling but isn’t discussing your site’s current analytics. Your digital marketer should be able to show you what your site’s traffic and conversions look like now, how they compare to other medical practices similar to yours and what the marketer plans to do to your site to get ROI for your practice.
4. Social media solutions. Be sure to inquire about which social media solutions your prospective marketer proposes to use for your practice. It should raise a red flag if he/she wants to just get your medical practice linked into as many channels as possible without a strategy. Your marketer should first be considering which channels your patients will likely frequent and why. Pay close attention to how a prospective marketer will select and post on those channels as well as how he/she intends to convert those followers into new or returning patients.
5. An email marketing plan. If you’d like your digital marketer to handle your email marketing, you should ensure he/she knows the rules for healthcare and, once again, ask about conversions. Can he/she measure click-thru and conversion rates? You want to know you’re generating some form of patient contact as a result of the emails. Does your potential marketer have strategies to improve your list quality? It’s also important to know how much you’ll need to spend to produce the emails vs. how much patient traffic you should get in return.
There are a lot of details to consider when creating a digital marketing strategy, but Practice Builders has the tools to help! Do you need more guidance on how to hire the right healthcare digital marketing person for your practice? Sign up for a free consultation with us and we’ll help you. Call us at 855.898.2710 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PB product: Want more guidance on how to hire the right digital marketing person for your practice? Sign up for a free consultation with us and we’ll help you. Call us at 855.898.2710 or email us at email@example.com