Marketing the fact that you can help someone feel better can sometimes be a little tricky. In a way, what you’re communicating to people is that you’re a better healer than other physicians in your area. When a health care industry features patient choice, however, you’ve got to promote your strengths so that people will get their care from you instead of the practice down the road.
Sometimes things are completely out of your control. You can’t figure out who will get sick or who will have an injury that needs to be set. You can control to a limited extent which doctor people will choose when these things happen to them. Here are some marketing ideas to help you influence that choice in your favor.
Effective Marketing Ideas for Physicians
1. It Begins With Education
Market yourself based on the procedures you’re able to do so people will seek you out when they need that kind of care. Even if you provide a broad range of family-centered care services, market that fact so the local families in your community will come to you first.
2. Work To Expand Services
If you’re able to provide a wide array of services, you’ll bring in more people because even those people can choose their doctors for the most part, they want a one-stop shop. Who wants to go to 30 different doctors and get 90 different bills for the efforts? It doesn’t have to be anything complicated that you offer either – staying open until 8pm on a Friday could help a lot of people out.
3. Get Feedback
You might think you’re doing a good job, but your patients might think otherwise and if there’s one thing about negative information, it’s that you will likely be the last to know. You’ll likely read it online before you get told you’re doing a lousy job by a patient! You could put out surveys to get feedback, but those who have a negative experience just tend to throw those out. Let people fill out anonymous, immediate survey cards at the office so you’ll get the chance to read how you did at the end of the day.
4. Recognize Your Patients
Being a doctor means forming relationships with a lot of different people, but if there’s one thing that most people have in common, it’s that they’ll celebrate their birthday. A simple birthday card in the mail is enough to tell people that you care enough about them to recognize the date. Even a simple toy or book given to a child during their appointment will help to establish a good relationship during a visit.
5. Ditch the Automated Reminders
People hate running for their phone to get an automated call or having their mobile minutes wasted by machines so just don’t do it. Have someone make phone calls to confirm appointments for the next day so they can actually speak with someone. It shows your office is organized and cares about the personal touch, which is critically important to the modern doctor/patient relationship.
6. Send a Nice Letter Now and Then
If you’ve just received a new patient, then thank them by sending them a personal letter that shows your gratitude. It’s a good step toward helping establish the foundation for a growing relationship and let’s face it – most of the news people get from the doctors isn’t very good.
7. Work on the Total Experience
If your patients have to wait 30 minutes to see you, then you’d better deliver an experience that’s worth waiting around to get. There are a lot of doctors who believe their patients will always wait for them and those are the doctors that have open appointments every day that can’t be filled. Save time where you can for people, limit wait times as much as possible, and you’ll grow your practice.
8. Get Recommendations
There’s a lot of power in a personal recommendation and as a doctor, you’ll get them from your patients and from fellow doctors. If people trust you, then they’ll promote you. If they feel like you don’t listen to them or that you’re just out to make a quick buck, then they’ll let you sit alone in your own waiting room.
9. Consider Managed Care
There are a lot of rewards in the field of contracted managed care, but there are a lot of risks involved with the field as well. Work through local health insurance plans and offer competitive rates for your services that will attract recommendations. Create your own business plan and show off why you’re better than the rest with all of your strengths.
10. Target Local Search Engine Results
Most people look up their doctor online instead of looking in the phone book for results. With a little effort, you can target these local searches and have your pages come up first in their results so you’re the first doctor considered. Make sure you’ve got the local free listings in the Yellow Pages, however, because that will translate into search results as well.
11. Advertise With Your Demographic
Advertising works well if you have your items where people in your targeted demographic will see the ads regularly. If you focus on providing care for low-income patients, then put information out in your local Health and Human Services office. Form relationships with social workers. If you see kids, then talk to your local PTA or have posters up at community centers where families congregate together regularly.
12. Word of Mouth Marketing Is Awesome
When people love their doctor, they’ll share it with the world because finding a really good doctor is becoming increasingly rare. With care and compassion being the first two steps you take, you’ll naturally attract more patients because they’ll want to see you before they see anyone else. Does that mean you should gloss over serious health choices? Of course not. It does mean that you can approach it from a loving perspective instead of a demanding one.