Practice Management Articles
Physician Marketing: Educating Current and Potential Patients
By Laura Lake, The PracticePros,
March 2, 2009
It wasn’t long ago that marketing was considered unethical and unprofessional. Times have changed. The majority of physicians still do the minimal marketing of an advertisement in a newspaper or the yellow pages. This simply is not enough anymore. At one time it worked and brought in new patients, but your current and even potentials patients are becoming more aware of their medical options.
Think about it, we spend more time not only researching our symptoms, but researching our choice of physician. We know that most physicians still fight the old stigma of marketing, being unprofessional and unethical, so I’d like to give you a new way to look at it. Think of marketing as educating current and potential patients. Good marketing is no more than educating future patients and your community on health issues, your expertise and the services that you provide.
There are seven primary benefits to having an effective marketing or education plan for your practice. I’m sure you will agree that the benefits far outweigh the stigma that you struggle with.
Benefits when it comes to marketing include:
• Ability to increase your practice’s patient base.
• Ability to Increase the income that your practice generates.
• You will discourage your competition from going up against you.
• You will improve your practice image.
• You will have the ability to promote current and new services - and people will listen.
• You will have the ability to introduce new providers.
• You will have the ability to not only retain but gain market share within your area.
How to Avoid the Common Marketing Mistakes that Physicians Make
The biggest mistake physicians make to neglect marketing. Remember that marketing is nothing more than educating people about your practice and the services that you offer. By not educating them about you - they are simply going to the physician down the street that is educating them. I cannot stress enough that marketing is simply educating!
The other mistake is not measuring and tracking results of marketing initiatives. If you are not gauging how your marketing is doing - how do you know that you are not just throwing resources out the door? When it comes to marketing - you need to track everything. How many people called you? How many made appointments? How many new patients or procedures did you gain from that marketing vehicle?
While marketing may seem like a lot of work at first you will find that has you make it a priority and a habit in your practice you will begin to reap the benefits that other physicians miss out on simply because they neglect to inform people about who they are, what they do and how they can help.
In our call we will discuss the common marketing mistakes and give you insight on how to avoid them and make your marketing an effective patient recruitment tool.
Laura Lake has been involved in marketing since 1998. She is the Founder of The PracticePros, a marketing training firm offering consultations, seminars, workshops and virtual seminars to help grow your medical practice. She is a sought-after speaker and consultant who educates and advises physicians and practice managers on marketing strategy development and implementation. Laura has written more than 600 articles published in the likes of USA Today, Missouri Medicine, and college textbooks. She has served since 2002 as the marketing columnist for About.com (a division of the New York Times). In March 2009, her new book was published.