So, what is the purpose of marketing for a medical practice?
When we ask most medical practices to answer this question, they jump straight to getting more patients. But, of course, we would all agree that’s the desired end outcome for anything we do. However, I also think that most practices have a pretty narrow definition of what the purpose of marketing is for their practice. And the reality is there are a lot of other purposes that marketing has.
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Potential Patient Journey
So today, I want to talk through some other purposes and why it’s essential to broaden your thinking about marketing for your practice. So let’s start. I want to talk a little bit through some of the nuances of that purpose of getting more patients.
So the reality is that getting a new patient involves many other marketing activities before you get the patient. So let’s, let’s think about this continuum.
1. Patient Discovering Your Practice
So, in the beginning, a new patient must discover your practice.
They have to figure out that you even exist or that you’re even an option. So this is the first thing that has to happen.
2. Building Trust with Potential Patients
Then they have to engage with you in some way by doing research.
Again, even if they have a physician referral and that’s how they found out about you, they’re still going to do their research to understand more about your practice.
You have to build trust with them.
The potential patient has to understand how you’re different from the other options they have. So there’s a lot of research that happens in this stage.
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3. Patients Contacting Your Practice to Schedule an Appointment
Next, they must contact you by calling, submitting a form, etc.
After, your front office has to convert them, right? So then, your front office has to:
- Call them back at the right time.
- Call them back the correct number of times.
- Respond quickly.
- Have a convenient schedule for them to come in.
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4. Patients Convert
And even then, if you want that patient to turn into a treatment or surgery:
- You also have to have a great office visit consultation with the physician.
- Follow up after that consultation to get the treatment, surgery, etc. scheduled.
So a long chain of events happens before someone becomes a new patient.
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Purposes of Marketing for Your Medical Practice
Now I want to talk through the other marketing purposes for your practice.
1. Gain Visibility and Awareness of Your Practice
So let’s start with number one, which is to get more visibility and awareness of your practice. This is a fundamental objective. Marketing can play an enormous role in making that happen.
So many medical practices rely on physician referrals to make people aware of them. However, we always say it’s just not a sustainable model if you want to grow.
You can’t be completely reliant on physician referrals. And one of the big reasons we say that is because there’s so much self-directed research, even if someone has a referral. Especially patients that have PPO policies and can do their self-referrals.
Therefore, you need to be where patients are searching. So you must show up, so they know you exist. That is done with good SEO strategies that enable your practice website, physician, and practice listings to show up in SERP results. This also extends to patients reaching out through ads to create that awareness and visibility.
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2. Grow Your Practice’s Reputation
The second purpose of marketing for your medical practice is also to build your reputation. So there’s been quite a bit of research done by the patient. Now, a big part of your reputation online for practice is your practice listings and, specifically, your reviews. Those reviews are among the most influential factors in a patient choosing a physician or a practice. And those reviews take, take time. So that is a marketing exercise.
Many practices may not realize that gaining a high number of good quality reviews is not something you leave to chance or happens naturally in Google. The practices that do this well have a system to increase the number and the quality of the reviews.
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3. Communicate Updates to Your Practice
The third purpose of marketing for your medical practice is to communicate updates to your practice, like introducing a new location or a new physician. So, again, this is related to awareness.
Examples could be:
- Opening a new location in an area where you haven’t been marketing before
- Opening your new location that is part of a large practice group franchisee
- Introducing a new physician
- Adding a new physician to the practice with a specialty you didn’t have before
- You have a transition with physicians, i.e., a physician retiring and another one taking over
Marketing is essential to create this awareness around these particular activities.
4. Reviewing Patient Acquisition
Next, I want to discuss a much more targeted way to look at patient acquisition. The purpose of marketing in patient acquisition can be to increase patients for a particular treatment or condition you want to target.
So I’ll give you an example. Suppose you are a pain management practice and want to drive more spinal cord stimulator patients. In that case, you can approach your marketing with that as your primary objective. So you’re not just trying to get more patients. You’re targeting specific patients searching for conditions like failed back surgery. These patients are more likely to be candidates for spinal cord stimulators.
So that is a much more targeted way to look at marketing. Practices must at least prioritize the treatments and conditions they want to go after. We have found that most practices don’t have enough money to go after every condition and treatment they offer. So we recommend that they are more targeted.
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5. Drive Repeat Visits from Existing Patients
The last purpose of marketing for a medical practice is to drive repeat visits from existing patients. This purpose is one that not a lot of practices take into consideration. However, it’s relevant for a medical practice that provides repeat treatments such as aesthetics. We have found that reaching an existing patient is much easier than finding a new one.
Email re-engagement campaigns are one way to drive more repeat visits through marketing. In addition, these efforts can result in more patient revenue from existing patients.
So hopefully, this has helped expand your thinking about how your practice can use marketing. At the very least, it gives you questions to consider as you build a marketing strategy for your practice. Or ways, you can be thinking about your marketing and different objectives you can address.
So this is something RUNNER does all the time for medical practices. We help them understand marketing strategies that define the objectives to execute, what order they go in, and what they need to tackle before driving leads for specific treatments.
So if you’re interested in understanding what a strategy would look like for your medical practice, visit us at runneragency.com and request a consultation to speak with one of our medical marketing experts.
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