Analytics, ROI, optimization – there is so much to marketing that is confusing and complicated. With all the various forms your marketing efforts can take these days, it’s no wonder more and more practices are turning to high-cost agencies to handle their marketing efforts. But that option just isn’t practical for everyone, and it really isn’t necessary either. By focusing your time and attention on four simple best practices, you can lay a solid foundation for marketing your practice without spending a fortune. These are the four areas that matter most to ensuring your marketing success:
1 – Maintain a Professional Website. Close to 80 percent of all patients looking for a new provider turn to the Internet to find them. Your website should be professional, engaging, and provide at least a basic amount of information to prospective patients. Among other things, your address, your hours of operation, a phone number, and an email address should be easy to find. Including either a “Request Appointment” or “Schedule Now” button makes it even easier for those who want to be seen in your practice right away.
Your web site is your first impression, so devoting the time and resources necessary to it is always a good investment. If you invest in search engine optimization (SEO) for your site, remember that the most important aspect of search visibility is your geographic service area. Be sure you’re clearly identifying that target area you serve so you can achieve better search results. And make sure that you are maintaining a positive online reputation. Your social media sites and review sites need to be monitored and addressed daily to make sure that prospective patients get an accurate and up-to-date view of your operation.
2 - Be a Valuable Resource. Patients are nearly always interested in information that relates to their health. Providing information on your social media pages and your website is a great way to get important health information into patients’ hands, but don’t forget your office, too. In the waiting area is a perfect location to provide brochures, pamphlets, informative tip sheets, and more. You can find materials online, through various associations related to your area of specialty, or you can create them yourself. These informational pieces can be added digitally to a resource location on your website for long-term patient education. Making additional information available to patients at no extra cost shows your patients that you are concerned about their well-being beyond your office and encourages them to share that information and your office with others.
3 - Cultivate Referrals. Happy patients who feel that they are well cared for, provided information, and have their concerns addressed are also patients who will share that positive reaction with others. Utilizing your social media and your website, you can capture and provide their testimonials to help with new patient acquisition. Never miss an opportunity to ask for referrals. Reward patients who refer friends and family to you. Not every referral who calls your office will be ready to schedule. Often, a potential patient is calling with a question. Be sure that you are courteous and address the question as best you can within professional limits, and record the person’s information for later if they do become a patient.
4 - Don’t Be Afraid To Try. If you see something that works, or if it seems like a good idea, why not give it a try? Consider taking your practice on the road by speaking at Career Day at the local high school, or presenting at the local scout troop meeting. Consider a clever reader board at your location, or a fun give-away to use at a local health fair. Sometimes it’s the most surprising thing that becomes your best marketing tool. Be willing to take a risk and see how it pays off. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something.
Marketing is all about being a source of information for people who need your services and making them aware that you are there for them. It doesn’t need to drain your budget, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. By focusing your time and attention on these simple elements, you are laying the foundation for the long-term success of your practice.