For many surgeons, marketing is the last thing on their mind. They are usually more focused on providing patient care than in advertising their practice with a marketing campaign. Most medical practices use marketing to attract new patients or to advertise a new service or specialty, such as plastic surgery or LASIK.
The truth is that marketing is any type of activity that takes your practice in the desired direction. These directions may include retaining your market share, attracting new patients, increasing income, deterring competitors, recruiting new providers or introducing new services.
Many of the activities you do within your practice that are considered good management fall within marketing. These include patient relations, strategic planning, recall systems, practice acquisition, and contracting with insurance plans.
Even a surgical practice needs a marketing plan. It is important to develop both one-year and five-year marketing plans and then write them down. The plans should be realistic as well as challenging. Each step should be specific and clearly defined. The plan and goals should be measurable and the plans should be time-sensitive.
Another important step to improve your marketing is to ensure your recall system is up to date and being used efficiently. Do an audit and review your clinical recall compliance.
Most of the time, you’ll need to figure out who to hire to do this for you. After all, you are a surgeon, not a marketing expert.
Do you employ or market to other surgeons or medical providers? If so, you will want to develop a marketing strategy to reach others providers and increase their referral rates to your practice.
Remember that your patients are busy. Scheduling is one of the most important functions in your practice. Develop goals to see referrals and new patients as soon as possible, preferably within a week. Also, work hard to see patients on time so they do not have to wait. Always use the patient’s name and try and engage them in conversation.
Your surgical practice can benefit from a good plan. The right strategies can help build your practice by increasing income and attract new patients.