Having consulted for, coached and mentored hundreds of businesses, including many successful medical practices nationwide, Leonie Arnebark from Reality Marketing understands the challenges many practices face, in particular being budgetary constraints, lack of know -how and resources, and lack of measuring systems, when it comes to marketing their healthcare practice.
Leonie and her team are currently looking after a number healthcare practices, essentially acting as their Marketing Manager, as they need it.
Below she shares some top tips for cost effectively marketing your medical practice:
For many medical practices, the marketing budget is often small or non-existent, but taking a smart, integrated and planned approach can help you maximise your marketing effort and cost.
1. Have a marketing plan
Marketing your medical practice cost effectively requires the same if not more strategic thinking and planning than what a significant marketing budget would entail. Even if you are engaged in a no-cost activity, to promote this will still equate to a cost of time and effort. Regardless of the cost of any given tactic or activity, it must be an integral part of a strategic marketing plan to generate the most return on your investment. Having a comprehensive and integrated marketing plan for your practice will enable you to be more effective with your marketing spend and allocated resources.
2. Know your ideal patient
Don’t waste your time or money chasing the wrong type of patient/customer. Start by understanding:
Do you know what they need or want?
How do they search for your service?
Who and where do they seek recommendations or word of mouth referrals about your services from
3. Differentiate from competitors and know your key message
You should be marketing all the time — wherever you are. Therefore, you need a compelling story. You only have a brief time to make a first impression, make it a good one. This needs to be different from your competitors to enable you to stand out from the crowd.
4. Build strong partnership alliances
Identify and establish relationships with synergistic, non-competitive businesses in your area i.e. other healthcare providers. For example, allied health providers, dentists etc, with a similar target audience who can act as cross referrers. Piggy back on any communication activity your partners are implementing with their database i.e. contribute an interesting feature in their enewsletter and sharing suitable content via social media.
5. Be smart with your online presence
An online presence is critical in today’s digital world, being smart with your strategy is key to getting maximum return. An integrated online strategy that effectively utilises your website, blog content, SEO, social media, targeted campaigns and enewsletters/EDMs can be cost effective and successful in attracting and retaining patients. Do your research, engage with good providers where needed and always measure activity i.e. use google analytics and Facebook analytics.
6. Support your local community
Let your patients know that there is more behind the surgical mask and they will feel good supporting you and your practice. Identify and align with a sporting club and/or charity that fits with your practices philosophy and values. This involvement provides an ideal opportunity to give back to the community, creating a sense of good will while also affording your practice a chance to increase reach to prospective patients. This involvement can then be communicated across all channels including digital platform and leverage possible media exposure opportunities as well. You can also encourage participation and contribution from your team and patient base where suitable.
7. Awareness raising and education
Many people detest public speaking however, there are many organisations seeking qualified, industry experts who can present to their groups. Take a deep breath and volunteer. Ensure that your content is relevant, useful and engaging for the audience. This will also assist in raising your profile and positioning you as an expert in your field. Local schools, day cares and other local groups are a good place to start.
8. Ask for feedback
It is very important to ask your patients what they like and dislike about your practice in order for you to continually improve. Providing an exceptional and consistent patient experience is now more important than ever, so ask your patients what they think and address any relevant areas. An online survey is a great tool to use for this purpose, try survey monkey to help you create your survey.
9. Focus on retention
It is a lot less expensive to keep a patient than it is to get a new one. That’s why establishing strong relationships with your patient base is crucial. Keep your patients informed of what’s new at the practice and of services they may not be aware of, be sure to invite them to follow and like you on social media if you are using this channel as this is a fantastic way to instantly and cost effectively communicate with your valued patients.
10. Monitor activity
Whatever activity you do, track it. Set up a lead capturing mechanism which enables you to monitor all enquiries and where they came from, this will enable you to accurately measure ROI and gain a true insight as to what is working and what’s not.
These ten, inexpensive marketing strategies can assist you in effectively engaging patients, building relationships, and ultimately keeping you and your practice top-of-mind. It’s not always about the money you have to spend on marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it, how to measure it and above all, the relevance it has for your patients.
Leonie Arnebark- your very own Marketing Manager. Leonie has over two decades of integrated marketing management and coaching experience heading up high performance marketing teams specifically in the healthcare arena including medical, allied health and dental. Leonie brings with her knowledge, expertise and her genuine reality marketing ability to take your business to the next level. From development of an integrated marketing plan, copywriting, PR, website enhancement or taking care of your social media platform, Reality Marketing has you covered.