As the calendar flips to a new year many business owners are both reviewing the success and setbacks of the previous year and setting goals for the next. Independent medical practice marketing strategies play a big role in growth and new business. However, these practices have found it harder and harder to remain strong and independent over the past several years. According to a MRP news report as early as 2011, “Physicians and hospital surveys strongly suggest the days of the independent physician practice are waning. Medical systems are increasingly hiring doctors as employees. The trend is even more pronounced in Minnesota, where doctors say the traditional private practice model is becoming increasingly unsustainable.” These messages have increased since then and it has to worry clinic administrators. Turning worry into action is hopefully the outcome.
As an independent practice physician, how can you help your clinic get the business and marketing edge it needs to succeed? We’ve compiled some ideas for independent medical practice marketing to help you in that quest.
Your clinic is just like any other business and should be treated as such by setting goals, creating a vision, having a mission with a defined set of values, and by following independent medical practice strategic planning to help you achieve your goals.
Vision: outlines what the organization wants to be if the world was a perfect place. It is a long-term view and concentrates on the future. It can be a source of inspiration for the business team.
Mission: Defines the fundamental purpose of an organization or an enterprise, succinctly describing why it exists and what it does to achieve its vision.
Values: Beliefs that are shared among the stakeholders of an organization. Values drive an organization’s culture, help it to set priorities, and provides a framework in which decisions are made.
Strategy: Strategy defines the means (policies) by which a company or organization is seeking to achieve their mission. Strategies are roadmaps to follow to achieve an end goal. A business may have, for example, strategies surrounding their marketing or their financial goals. The importance of following strategies is to help a company stay on the path to their end goal.
Strategy and marketing are areas that are particularly important to the success of your business. These strategies drive your sales. How can you better define your marketing strategies? Develop several focus areas that will work best for your practice:
Relationship marketing – Networking with referral partners, referrals from past/current clients.
One of the best ways to start this process is to consider from where your current clients have come. In the medical field, chances are higher than normal that the majority of your patients have come from some type of referral either from a professional in a similar practice, or from a past patient. Relationship marketing and building strategies to strengthen these types of marketing efforts should be at the top of the list for your clinic.
Community involvement – Participation and sponsorships of community events.
Similar to relationship marketing, building brand awareness in your community through sponsorships of events is another way to reach patients through a low touch, high affinity marketing strategy. People to buy from those they like. Sponsorship of your community’s local summer event has the potential to raise awareness about your clinic and help a potential new patient make the choice to come to your clinic over your competition’s clinic.
Traditional advertising – Print, radio, direct mail.
Print, radio, and direct mail all still have a role to play in a marketing program. They are good ways to continue to build brand awareness in your community. Targeted to your local market with, traditional advertising vehicles can be a very cost effective way to boost your clientele.
Internet advertising – The Internet offers so many advertising possibilities, but with that comes a lot of time. When considering online marketing, it is imperative to have a clear cut plan otherwise you’ll end up spending more time than it is worth. For a medical clinic, one of the most important pieces of an online marketing plan is online testimonials. Just like other businesses, there are many places where your patients can leave reviews about your care. (www.healthgrades.com is one such site).
Patient referral program – Identify strategies to help patients refer their friends and family. What is unique about your staff experience, services and focus areas? For example, create a referral process for annual check-ups for high-school athletes for a physician specializing in sports medicine. Use social media to promote a physicians participation in an athletic event, or volunteering for the day of the event.
When your practice grows so does our business. Independent medical practice marketing strategies will be an important part of that growth in 2014. ORI also supports clinic front desk and marketing strategies as well as reporting and analysis for growth projections. One example is patient mailings that we help you identify target groups to market to based on prior services. If you would like to see if ORI’s approach to outsourcing services is a good fit for your clinic, the process starts with an assessment of your practice’s business office. To set up your consultation and complimentary analysis of your current clinic business, call Dan Smits at Outsource Receivables Inc. today at 763-398-5209 or 866-585-2800 (option 1).