Marketing in 2018 extends far beyond bygone days of mailers and radio ads. While these are still important to your overall strategy, there is a slew of cost-effective (and sometimes free) ways to increase your presence in your community. Content is king in marketing today, so ensure that your message not only reflects your practice’s mission, but also provides educational information for the consumer.
While a lot of practices might not think to budget for marketing efforts, it is vital to the health of your practice to get the word out to prospective patients. We will discuss some lower cost and no-cost options that you should institute and utilize to increase your patients.
- Your website content needs to be current and mobile friendly. If you haven’t updated your website in the past few years, you need to make that happen now. Create a page about each physician in your practice, including a brief biography (include fun facts – favorite sport, hobbies, etc.) and a professional headshot in a white coat or suit jacket. Adding new content periodically also helps improve your Google rankings. And if you haven’t touched your site design in a while, you can always find a price point to fit your budget.
- Invest in search engine optimization (SEO). Spending a little can go a long way when it comes to SEO. Make sure your website is using the same phrases that patients, caretakers, family members and others are using to look for your services. Chances are, most people who search for hearing aid services aren’t going to type “otolaryngology.” Consult with a company that can optimize your search rankings.
- Have a social media presence. Appoint one of your staff to develop posts and monitor the channels. This is a great opportunity for a younger employee to own something as his or her own! Create posts about diseases, staff, physician accomplishments, patient care, etc. But don’t try to launch into every network at once; start with one network – like Facebook – and increase your presence before launching new ones. Facebook continues to grow, with one in five internet page views in the United States being on Facebook.
- Visit your top referring physicians. Meet with your top referring physicians at least quarterly. Equip whoever goes – whether that is a head physician or staff member – with a supply of giveaways and business cards to replenish. They could take coffee and donuts for the staff and continue to educate and reinforce what patient services you offer in the practice.
- Keep your presence known around town. Have you introduced yourself to your closest hospital and OR? Make facetime! When you hear that a new physician has come to town, pick up the phone, welcome them to your community and tell them about your services. The phrase “it takes a village” is very appropriate in health care today, as no one provider can treat and diagnose every patient. Create strong relationships with referring physicians – as well as your competitors – to build the “village” it takes to provide appropriate care in your community.
- Leverage your vendors for patient education resources. You already deal with a lot of different companies for various items in your practice. Leverage those relationships! These companies know their products and services best. Reach out to your vendor contacts for educational literature about the allergy solutions you use or the hearing aid instruments you prescribe. There’s no use creating something yourself when you can use your relationships with the pros for the most accurate information.
These are just a few quick ways to enhance up your practice’s presence and draw new patients. There are many other things you can do as well. Just remember that patients now look for a positive experience and, if they receive a high level of service and treatment, they will be your best ambassadors.