Whether you are a doctor or an office manger of a medical practice, developing a marketing plan that will help you improve your bottom line is essential. To help you get started off on the right foot this New Year, the folks over at MyMedLeads have put together a straightforward list of ways that you can stop wasting marketing dollars in 2012 and ensure that your practice advertising is bringing in new patients.
- Set goals – Do you currently have a marketing budget or do you simply keep adding to your existing marketing? Most practices do not have the tools or time necessary to develop a strategic marketing plan, but this initial step is crucial. If you don’t know where you are going, how do you expect to get there? Take some time to brainstorm goals for your medical practice this year. This one simple step will give you and your staff direction and focus as you map out your marketing strategy for the year.
- Examine your marketing – Once you have set goals, it is time to examine your current advertising to see what’s working and what’s not. Are you asking each patient how they heard about you? Failing to track and monitor your different advertising channels is the #1 way to unnecessarily waste marketing dollars. This can easily be avoided by implementing the right tools and using tracking phone numbers to track the origin of calls to your office.
- Embrace the web – Many practices that have relied on patient referrals and yellow page ads for decades need to understand that patients are now taking to the web to do their own research online. Make sure that you have more than a presence. Do you have an SEO company? Is someone managing your pay per click ads? Who is handling your social media channels? These are all essential question that you must ask. Statistics show that 8 in 10 Internet users look online for health information. These numbers cannot be ignored.
- Manage your online reputation – The importance of managing your online reputation cannot be stressed enough. There are over 15 websites including HealthGrades, Vitals, Google RateMD, Citysearch, Yelp etc.. that you need to be consistently monitoring. Your patients are web-savvy medical consumers who are interested in your background. One bad online review has the potential to affect a potential patient’s decision-making process. Be proactive by using outlets like organic SEO and social media to your advantage.
- Your staff – For plastic surgeons and med spas, it is your staff’s job to get as many qualified leads scheduled into your practice. It then becomes the practitioner’s job to close the sale. Getting them into the office initially is the hardest part though. For this reason, it is essential that you make sure that you spend adequate time training your staff on lead management. If your office personnel does not have the right phone etiquette or isn’t asking the right questions, you may be missing out on a number of appointments and patients every day.
- Nurture your leads and turn them into patients – When an inquiry comes to your website via a phone call or form submission, it is important that you obtain an email. Email is a cheap but effective way for you to stay relevant with your prospects until they are ready to become a paying patient. We find that most practices send an auto responder saying thank you for your request and someone will call you soon. That is NOT marketing. That is an annoying email that offers no relevant information to their needs. Instead, you should be implementing email campaigns. Your email-marketing program should have around 4 or 5 emails for each procedure or service that you offer. Each email in a campaign should be time released to provide procedure specific information over time to segmented groups of potential patients. The goal is to remain in front of these prospects, engage them with useful content and establish trust, so that when they are ready to schedule, your practice is fresh in their minds.
- Get everyone involved – Hold a session with your staff to help everyone understand your goals and what your lead management cycle will entail. Your marketing effectiveness is only as strong as your weakest link, so you must ensure that your marketing sources, your front desk, your email campaigns and social media are all aligned.
MyMedLeads is a system developer to track 100% of your marketing, track and improve your staff’s lead management and completely automates your email marketing. For more information click here.