February 2012 Archives

Every practice needs new patients or clients so marketing is an important topic in practice management.  However, the subject can so complex that nobody really has time to sort it all out.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ve broken down the different types of marketing a practice should do into three key areas, and created a basic checklist for each one of them.  These three types are vital for any practice, or any business, for that matter.

To begin, and before we really start, we have to discuss the first rule of marketing:

Do it.

All too often people ask for help with their new patients or their marketing.  However, in reality, when you break down their specific numbers, you find out that they simply just aren’t doing it.

Therefore, the first rule of marketing is just to do whatever kind of marketing you know how to do, do it now, and do as much of it as you can.  If the only thing the business owner knows how to do is send out postcards and get the front desk staff calling files for reactivation…do it, do it, do it!  The reason why 99% of marketing fails is that it’s “going to be done next week” or “when we have more money” or “when it isn’t quite so busy” or whatever.

90% of the trick on marketing is just actually doing it.

However, assuming that you are doing that, and that you are actually working out how to keep it up consistently, you’re now ready to talk about different types of practice marketing methods.  The number of different ways that you can market a practice can seem complex and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  What does one do?  Where to start?

In order to answer that question, we need to break down practice marketing into its basic categories.  These are:

1.  Existing patient files

Under this comes all of the charts you currently have, and everyone who has received treatment–your current patient base.

2.  Broad public contact

This means ads, mailings and promotions to the broad public.  These means getting people in who aren’t necessarily previous patients.

3.  Referrals

Plain and simple.  A current patient tells their friends to come in because you are an awesome practitioner.  The friend needs care and decides to come in.

These are the three major categories of marketing.  Now, how do you use them?

Checklist of Promotion:

I thought it would be helpful to just create a little checklist of promotion for each category and how things fit in.  Take a look at the checklist and make sure that you’re at least doing something on each category.  If you do, your new patients, collections and production should start going up steadily in the coming months:

1.  Existing patients

  • Monthly newsletter
  • Reactivation letters
  • Reactivation calls
  • Special promotions mailed out to your list

2.  Broad public contact

  • Radio Ads
  • Print Ads (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
  • Fliers
  • Direct mail
  • TV ads
  • Internet ads
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media (like Facebook)
  • Postcards to mailing lists
  • Welcome Wagon-type promotions to contact new residents

3.  Referrals

  • Posters and fliers in the office
  • Referral cards for the patients
  • Buttons reminding patients to ask the staff
  • Patient referral reward programs

This is by no means a full list.  However, it does give you a basic idea of where to start.

At the end of the day, you need to ensure that your practice is doing regular marketing to each of the three categories: existing patients, broad public contact and referrals–and keep doing it week in and week out.

If you can do that, and just keep doing that, you’ll find your practice numbers expand and expand.  And when they get too big and you start worrying if you’ll be able to handle the traffic…KEEP IT GOING!!!  That’s the time when you’re really making progress.  There are many ways to deal with the traffic flow and better organize the practice if things get too busy.  Just keep going on those three categories and you will end up with a healthy and thriving practice.

If you have any specific marketing questions about how this applies to your situation, you can feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to get you pointed in the right direction.

Best,

Mark Hanses

Hanses Management

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