As quickly as healthcare itself evolves, so do the many ways to market it. Whether you’re trying to increase referrals, brand your practice, or simply get new patients who’ve never heard of you before, you’re going to need to evaluate your marketing plan to make sure it’s doing its job. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to share with you to be sure your plan is on track.
Healthcare marketing is just as much of an internal effort, if not more than it is an external or traditional effort. Asking yourself the following questions can help in figuring out your strengths and weaknesses.
What are you doing to attract patients from local companies?
Get specific. Identify the top 5 employers in your market. If they’re top 5, they’ve got to be offering excellent benefits, and if you get a few of them to come over to your practice, you can springboard more referrals.
What is your answering service doing for you?
Many physicians and clinicians use a medical answering service for after-hours phone calls and emergencies. However, the spectrum of what your answering service can handle shouldn’t stop there. Are they able to schedule appointments for non-traditionally employed patients, new patients, or current patients who forgot to call during regular business hours? Does your answering service handle HIPPA compliant text messaging, or email messaging? If not, it might be time to make a change or give your provider a call for an updated list of their medical answering services.
Have you implemented face-to-face interactions?
We know you’re busy, but do a quick scan each day of who’s coming in. If you’ve got a patient who’s coming in and seeing your PA, make it a point to pass by their room and wave hello, or stop out into the waiting room to thank them for coming in. That extra second can go a long way and helps them feel connected to you in addition to the practice.
Do you offer special hours of communication to individual patients?
Whether you offer special hours of communication to patients with specific ailments, or perhaps you’ve got a large corporation whose employees are patients, or maybe you’ve got special scheduling hours for the non-traditionally employed, whatever it might be, it’s a nice touch to have. Hiring a medical answering service for this purpose alone is a smart move. If you’ve already got an answering service, talk to them about how they can help you implement this policy.
Are your efforts consistent?
No matter what you do, make sure to be consistent. It helps with your brand and helps your patients trust that you’ll do what you say you’re going to do. If you’re offering 24/7 service, be sure someone’s there to answer the phone. If you’re offering same-day scheduling, make sure you’re adequately staffed to handle the load.
Do you have the right people in the right places?
If you’re a smaller practice, you might have staff overlap. One person might have to take appointments, handle check-in and check-out, and walk patients to their exam rooms. It might be out of the question to hire another employee, but a more straightforward option may be to invest in a medical answering service. You may also consider hiring an answering service to handle administrative work such as taking appointments and questions for the nurses. That could take a huge load off of your in-house employees but without the liability and stress of hiring an additional set of hands.
Is your website an extension of your office?
Your website, unlike your practice, is open all hours of the day and night. That can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it and depending on how relevant your site is. It should be an extension of your office and a reflection of the care you provide. If you want your patients to feel peace-of-mind, reflect that on your website, and use a professional answering service to set up 24/7 communication via calls, emails, or texts for patients.