The main component of a successful private practice are the patients it serves. When running a private practice, you need to make sure you have people coming in the door whether you are fresh out of school or seasoned professionals. Your private practice relies on your incoming patients to be able to be a successful business.
How do you attract new clients? You may get some patients through word of mouth or referrals from your existing patients, but good marketing will play a huge role in patient volume.
What is marketing?
Marketing is the way that a business, or in this case, a private practice, promotes itself and its products or services to the public and its potential patients. Any action, product, or publication that puts the name or brand of a business in front of its potential clientele is considered marketing.
The purpose of marketing for a private practice is to promote the practice to its potential patients or clients. It is intended to showcase the brand of the business and create awareness of certain products or services provided by that business. This is all done to drive sales, grow clientele, and reach the highest potential for the business’s ROI.
Marketing is an investment that should be taken seriously, especially for private practices. Marketing expenses should be weighed against the ROI, just like the purchase of technology and equipment. The funds delegated to and spent on marketing should give some indication of what the return will be. In other words, proper marketing practices should be directly correlated to an increase in clientele and “sales.”
What value does marketing bring to my business?
While you can try and build a private practice organically by word of mouth and patient referrals, this method of gaining new patients isn’t consistent. It also limits your reach to only those people in contact with your current patients, and your patients might not even share their experience at your practice if it’s not a relevant conversation topic amongst their family and friends.
There are many different marketing strategies a private practice can leverage for growth, including digital and social media tactics. Determining which strategies work best for your practice can take some troubleshooting but working with a trusted marketing consultant to get some objective recommendations can help save you some of the guesswork. Once you find some tactics that work, there are numerous benefits to your practice, such as:
When your practice uses types of marketing that may involve sending material directly to your potential clients, such as a mail flyer or an email series, your marketing team can personalize these reach outs according to the potential patient. This is usually accomplished simply by using their name and addressing any marketing correspondence directly to them. They’re more likely to open the letter or email and may even read the whole thing, which will hopefully cause them to keep your practice in mind should they ever need your services. Personalized marketing is a way to connect directly with your future patients before they’ve even set foot in your practice, and this lays the foundation for future patient/practitioner trust.
Building brand awareness and reputation
How many people would recognize marketing material from your practice simply by seeing your logo or a certain color scheme used in an advertisement? The repetition and density of any marketing material you produce will help your potential patients begin to recognize your business. The more your brand awareness is increased, the more people will start to think of you as an expert in your field, especially when such marketing materials are strategically presented to your target audience or your ideal clientele. When they realize they may need whatever care your practice offers, they will feel familiar with your brand and their first phone call will most likely be to you.
Before you have an established patient base, you don’t have much of a reputation if you haven’t treated enough people to spread the word about your services. The brand awareness that comes from marketing helps to create a sort of preliminary reputation for your practice, which is essentially how people feel about your practice based almost solely on the marketing material they’ve seen. Therefore, it’s important to work with your marketing team to ensure that the “brand” of your practice is coming across exactly how you want it to through advertisements and other marketing communications.
Create awareness to positively impact “sales”
While your first order of business is providing quality patient care, the success of your private practice is still a numbers game, and you need to have some emphasis placed on profits or sales. Marketing creates awareness for future patients on exactly what services or treatments you may offer so that they know exactly what to ask about when they have an appointment with you. It tells them what sets you apart from the competition in terms of atmosphere, pricing, or amenities that will add to the perceived value of your services and will make your practice sound like the better option.
Use marketing analytics as an evaluation tool
Many digital marketing methods can give you feedback in the form of marketing analytics. You can see data regarding what kinds of audiences engaged with your marketing material and which did not. This allows your marketing staff to adjust accordingly to reach different types of people in different ways. You can also quantify what types of marketing materials are most successful using analytics.
The importance of community engagement
Marketing through community engagement methods such as social media or even in-person interactions puts your practice’s marketing material on a platform that allows your target audience to respond in real time. Especially if your target market is a demographic that uses social media, marketing through those platforms and engaging with your potential patients deepens their sense of connection to your practice and how you might be able to help them.
Digital community engagement also connects your practice with free or low-cost tools to include in your marketing plan. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn allow you to build organic exposure or even “boost” your content to reach the right audience. Google My Business allows any business to make an online profile linked to one of the world’s number one search engines, which includes the address, contact information, and even hours of operation all in one place for your new clients to find.
Blogs written with good SEO techniques can help drive organic traffic to your private practice’s website. Starting an email list can give both your current and prospective clients the option of receiving regular updates directly from your practice.
When seeking a new provider in any specialty, most people will look online as a primary means of gathering information. All of these digital marketing avenues give your practice an online presence so that when your clients come looking for your services, they find your practice in the digital space.
Being strategic with your private practice marketing is necessary
Marketing techniques are constantly being perfected in response to their efficacy, and marketing strategists are continually developing new tactics to better serve their clients. Staying up to date on new developments in the marketing playing field is critical for private practices to stay one step ahead of their competition. Again, finding the right techniques for your private practice can take some trial and error, but most modern marketing planners create an approach for your business that is adjustable over time. The strategies that work now may or may not be effective in six months but allowing the marketing plan to be adaptable can help your private practice stay relevant and continue to reach your ideal clients.
Not everyone is going to be your customer, and that’s okay. As opposed to marketing to the masses, only target consumers who need the specific services you’re providing. Using digital forms of marketing is a great way to pinpoint the right audience. Also, use marketing to advertise the services you wish to grow within your practice, whether it’s a new service you’ve added, a higher-margin service, or anything else.
Good quality marketing is a non-negotiable attribute for any private practice. It portrays your business to potential patients and clientele; it informs the masses about what services you can offer and allows you to interact and build relationships with the very people you are in the business of helping. Strategic marketing leads to the success of every private practice in both the long and the short term. Another means of marketing your practice is through joining insurance panels, and the right credentialing service, like that provided by ClinicMind, can help you do just that quickly and efficiently.