Great collection of marketing ideas for your medical and dental practice
(NEW) Update: Added some great guides to help market your healthcare institution and make your job much easier.
The best 38 ways to increase patients and referral colleagues – Top Medical Marketing How-to Guides:
We surveyed 20 different healthcare practices (what did we find?)
Before writing this article we spoke with 20 different practices, both medical and dental and asked them a few questions about their thoughts on marketing and what activities created the best ROI.
Did you know the vast majority had no idea about which activities returned a positive ROI and did not understand which options would be best for their type of practice. Below is a quick summary of two of our meetings.
Local Dentist Story:
We met with a dental practice and spoke with the dentist about his marketing activities. He mentioned that he spent $3,000 a month for commercials on a local TV station and $500 a month for a website that returned no customers and provided little reporting.
After digging deeper I found that he was apprehensive to try modern marketing strategies because he was used to the “old way” of advertising, yet when asked if he was getting a return on investment he quickly answered no.
So the question is why you would spend $3,500 a month for something that does not help you.
What if I told you that you could spend around a few hundred a month per provider and receive calls from both doctors and patients looking to do business with you?
What is a lost opportunity cost you, (patient referral, future referrals from their friends, a valuable relationship from another healthcare facility). Education is the key; if you want to be successful in your practice hire a consultant to help you determine how to run your business more effectively if you do not have the time to do it yourself.
Local Medical Clinic Story:
We sat down with a medical doctor that paid a marketing company $5,000 a month for a representative to reach out to other doctors and promote his practice.
The issue? The marketing company had no way to track the value of the relationships that they brought to the table, or how many referrals per year that they produced.
This is partly because both parties did not have an effective way to handle referrals and could not accurately monetize their referral colleague’s activities.
The only way to solve this dilemma is use a two way communication portal, like referralMD that assists both parties in tracking referrals pre- and post- appointment. This allows both doctors to always be up to speed with their referral colleagues activities.
Marketing can mean success or failure for a dental practice
While speaking with each doctor we found that most had a one-sided notion of what marketing was, most immediately thought of printing or TV but left out many of the other key marketing techniques that can drive patients through the door.
3 ways you can market your practice and improve patient traffic and revenues
Each can be used to varying degrees and have an influence on traffic. The next question to answer is where does this traffic get directed to? The key is to have a great website that can funnel all your activities and capture the attention of potential patients. Now there are many ways to create a website that draws the users attention, having a great testimonial video, Short paragraphs or bulleted text (Do not have a wall of text on the screen, no one will read it) great graphics so it reads more like a newspaper, and then optimize your site for Google.
Do you know where your competitors get all their referrals from?
Want a better way to get more referrals then find out where your competition is receiving their referrals from (Research by doctor name, specialty, procedure, city) and know which providers refer to your competitors and to your own physicians.
Want to know how? Sign up for a free referral network analysis about your competitors volumes
1. Online Healthcare Marketing
Online marketing is one of the most underutilized tools out there and the most misunderstood. Marketing for dental and medical doctors is a complex web of strategies that can take many hours a day to create a campaign that Google and your patients will find interesting. It all boils down to a very large popularity contest, where Google votes on which website has the most content that is well written (Content can be video, text, blogs, etc), these can be posted on your site as well as other blogs that Google has deemed important.
The more content you have available that is well written, notice the word well written, you can’t just post spam blogs and hope that Google likes you, the higher the positing or ranking on Google you will achieve. If you do a great job, usually 4 to 8 blogs a month is enough in most markets (20 to 30 hours).
The articles must be between 2000+ words to be considered useful and have your key terms about your practice strategically placed throughout the article.
Here is a great blogging guide that will help you from quicksprout.com. An example is below, type in Dentist in Palo Alto you will see 3 rankings for dentists. These listings are from a service called Google Places that allows businesses to add themselves to their local directory.
Key is to complete your Google Places profile 100% by adding 5 categories for your business that a patient would type into Google to find you, 5 videos, and 10 pictures of your office, you, and your staff. It is also integral to have at least 5 positive reviews because Google places a higher value and will potentially move you up in the rankings because of them. In combination with adding yourself to Google Places, having a well written website, and updating it regularly by writing blogs, you can succeed online.
2. Medical / Dental Marketing for Referrals
Referral Marketing is the act of asking your current referral colleagues for referrals. Most practices that have been in business a few years have an average of 30 referral partners that they do business with regularly, but shockingly very few actually know an accurate number of referrals they send or receive on a daily basis.
The doctors we spoke to had their staff either
- Try to track them in an excel
- On paper,
- Or, not at all
The issue arises that most of these referrals (60 to 70 percent) were not being received at all, leading to many patients missing out on critical patient care, and the doctor’s practice losing money. This is a major issue in today’s healthcare because it costs American’s billions a year and many lives.
So you ask, how I can do it better? Using an electronic referral program instead of faxing and triplicate forms would help you keep track of all your referral colleagues and identify trends in their referral patterns.
Colleagues that begin to show less activity could be contacted to have lunch or a phone conversation to re-solidify the relationship. They key is having accurate reporting information about all your relationships and keeping them up to do date in real time so you always know how well your organization is doing with referrals. An electronic referral management application can solve these issues and help drive more patients through your door and increase the likelihood that referring doctors find you online.
Another benefit of electronic referrals other than them saving money, time and, the hassle of paper, is that you can connect with other users of the software and form an online referral network where all parties exchange referrals and track each other’s successes.
3. Event Marketing
Start by getting to know your local Chamber of Commerce and their networking contact. Ask them if you can host an event at your office and introduce your practice to the members. Most cities have upwards of 5 to 10 different Chambers of Commerce that have 1000’s of potential patients ready to meet you.
Take advantage of this time and don’t be shy, if you need to have one of your staff host the party that is fine, but be sure to be friendly and introduce yourself to all the guests. Offer a door prize and have a drawing with business cards as the tickets so you can send a thank you email to everyone after and start building your email list. I would recommend sending at least 1 email a month to all your patients with one of your current blogs as the content.
Free Email Marketing Program to send email newsletters to your current and potential patients – Mailchimp Email Marketing (Free up to 2000 subscribers)
How to promote the event:
- Use Facebook and LinkedIn events to invite all your contacts
- Ask the Chamber to help promote your event
- Have your staff make calls to current patients and invite them (Live testimonials of your great service)
There are many more marketing techniques like printing brochures, TV, Radio, etc… But none work as good as the 3 strategies listed above.
How do you market yourself?
What ideas have you tried in your own practice? Leave us a comment below