Effective Strategies to Bring in More Patients
You’ve completed medical school, passed your boards, and have your license to practice. The hard part’s over, right? Not necessarily. The good old days, when you could hang out a shingle and quickly build a burgeoning medical practice, are long gone. To effectively compete in the 21st century, you need to put together a well-designed and comprehensive plan for growing your practice. Here are some of the essential components of a successful marketing campaign:
- Make certain you know what you want your practice to be (and what you don’t want it to be)—You’ll find it a lot easier to do all the things required to build a medical practice if you enjoy what you’re doing. You’re likely to get a lot of advice from others as to what you “should” practice. Make certain it’s something you really want to do. If it isn’t, you’ll have challenges getting or staying motivated.
Maximize and utilize your contacts—When marketing professionals use the term “networking,” they just mean enlarging your circle of contacts. The more people you know, who know what you do and who will refer potential patients to you, the better. Networking isn’t just for medical professionals in solo or small practices, either. It’s hands-down the most effective way to bring in patients, because a sense of trust exists before you even meet the patient. A prospective patient referred to you by a mutual contact will come to see you only if they trust the contact. That trust then extends to you.
Colleagues in the medical profession can be a good source of new patients, provided you’re not offering the same services. University organizations, recreational sports, church, and other social groups are other good places to start.
- Make your practice first and foremost about patient care—You can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re not focused on helping patients get and stay healthy, they’ll go elsewhere. Remember, too, that patient care involves more than just treatment—it’s also about bedside manner and communication. Take the time to fully listen to the concerns of every patient, and either respond to their questions immediately or tell them what you need to do to address their concerns.
- Pay attention to how you spend your time—You’ll have a lot of demands on your time, so the more structured you can be, the better. Set aside a specific time each day or week to deal with administrative issues or respond to patient calls.
- Work with a digital marketing professional on a cohesive and coordinated online marketing campaign—The digital world offers a wide array of tools to help you increase your visibility online, from websites and social media to email campaigns. When you integrate the different approaches in a targeted way, you’ll get a much better return on advertising dollars spent.