The success of your medical business depends on your ability to bring in new patients and to keep the current ones coming back.
Why is it, then, that most medical businesses rely on the same old advertising methods to reach patients?
Whether it's listing services in directories, placing ads, or getting any generic website online, when everyone does the same thing, it's tough to stand out and innovate.
Imagine someone searching for a new doctor and being inundated with over 200 listings.
With nothing to distinguish each doctor, that someone likely ends up choosing the doctor at the top of the list.
Not exactly what you want if your name doesn't come up first.
The good news is that while people do want a doctor located nearby, people also want a doctor who they feel comfortable around and who they trust.
So, it's clear that your marketing should help you stand out in memorable and friendly way before potential patients start digging into that list of 200 physicians.
Also important is the need to maintain a strong relationship with current patients.
Like with any business, your current patients are the ones that bring in the majority of your revenue.
Therefore, your marketing must effectively remind them about why they're happy to have you as their doctor, optician, dentist, gynecologist etc.
Now, if you gave it some thought, you could come up with many unique and creative marketing ideas, but let's start with seven top marketing tactics for medical practices.
These marketing ideas offer you different ways to bring in new patients, keep current customers enthusiastic and coming back, and, ultimately, maintain a profitable medical business.
1. Share News to Keep in Touch
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email and e-newsletter marketing generated an ROI of $25 for every dollar spent on it in 2013.
That's great news that you can easily take advantage of it.
A short, well-written e-newsletter sent once or twice a year is a great way to keep in touch with patients.
Provide them with relevant information that's important to them.
Share your expert knowledge, keep a friendly tone, and within hours you can draft an article.
If you're too busy, you can even hire somebody to write and edit your newsletter for you.
Some ideas include sharing promotions for your services, talking about the newest innovations in your office, including new testimonials from your patients, or providing answers to current health questions.
2. Be Social
People prefer to deal with those they know and trust, so get involved in events and functions where potential patients can meet you and get to know you.
Regardless of how busy you are, you may be able to fit in one event every two months.
Some ideas include participating in a charity event, offering to speak at community functions, or attending church functions.
The idea is simply to be out there where potential patients can meet you and get to know you.
3. Do a Little Direct-Mail Marketing
Yes, you're probably already sending postcards to your patients, but what if you offered them something more than just a friendly message?
Why not go an extra step further and offer them a great reason to visit you again?
Not sure about what to offer? Think about their needs.
For example, an optometry office might offer a discount on lens fittings or for new referrals.
You could tell them about the latest innovation that makes their visit more comfortable.
Even a reminder about a free check-up they are due for according to their insurance policy.
Whatever the message is, make it relevant to their needs and offer them a great benefit.
4. Team Up
Consider forming a partnership or joint venture with another service provider that targets your market, but doesn't directly compete with you.
Find a way everyone can benefit - you, your partner, and your patients.
For example, if you are a dentist, you could team up with an orthodontist or maybe a medical spa that offers teeth whitening.
You can send new customers to them while they refer new patients to you.
You may even consider that the people who are referred can benefit through special savings only available through this referral service.
5. Keep an Attractive Website That's Search Engine Optimized
Like I mentioned before, people go online to look for information.
Every day, millions search online by typing in keywords into search engines such as Google and Yahoo.
With a website that's search engine optimized, your site can rank higher in search results and dramatically increase the targeted traffic to your website.
Once people land on your website, make sure your site effectively convinces them that you're the doctor for their needs.
Offer helpful, valuable information, such as information about your services, credentials, or what sets your practice apart.
Your website should be professional and engaging.
With an increasing number of higher quality websites, your medical business can no longer make do with poorly thought-out websites.
A well-created site is essential for building trust and for making a great first impression on potential patients.
6. Write Articles or Reports and Publish Online for Free
You may position yourself as an expert in your field, instantly build trust and credibility in the minds of new patients, and you set yourself apart from other medical professionals in your local area.
With numerous free article publishing sites, you also enjoy free, easy advertising when you publish these articles online or on your website.
You may also consider publishing in social media or personal blogs, where heavy social interaction takes place.
Millions of people go online every day to search for information, and if you can provide valuable information, you will certainly extend your reach.
Plus, these reports and articles continue to work for you long after they were written.
Remember to include your name, credentials, office location, and contact information, so there's an easy way for people to reach you.
7. Give Them Something to Take Home
With just an hour a week, you could craft a series of short handouts about important medical topics.
When a patient comes in with a particular problem or question, hand them your personally written articles tailored to their specific health care issues.
Include added value information for him/her, to keep around as a reminder.
Because not many medical professionals do this, it can be an excellent way to build a stronger relationship with your patients.
Again, remember to include your name, credentials, and office information at the bottom.
If the topic is something that, for example, concerns women of a certain age, include a reminder to share this information with those that would benefit from the knowledge.
Coming up with creative ways to reach your patients doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming.
Though not all these marketing ideas may work for your medicalpractice, hopefully they inspire you to come up with your own ways of making a positive and memorable impression on your patient.
Antonios Sakaloglou, Business Development Consultant at CHARAMI S.A.