For most medical practices, there are primarily two reasons to market. The practice either needs to acquire new patients or engage existing patients. Regardless of what your marketing objectives may be, here are three of the biggest mistakes medical practices make and how you can avoid them:
1. Your Marketing Efforts are Inconsistent
You’ve heard your doctor sternly impress upon you that you should take all of your pills even if you feel better. Why? Because an initial swing toward better health doesn’t mean you’re cured, only that you’re getting better. To be cured requires all of the pills in the bottle.
The same principle holds true for your marketing.
Specific to patient acquisition, consistency becomes more important to the practice who realizes that as much as 15% of their patient base is either moving out of their community or is deceased. Those who have moved away or passed away must be consistently replaced by new patients.
For patient engagement, the argument for consistency is more obvious. Quality commitments necessitate a constant need to reach particular patients and motivate them to see their doctors.
When your marketing is consistent, meaning you have processes in place that actively reach out to prospective and current patients on a continuous basis, you improve the health of your patient base, while increasing revenues.
The best solution for consistency is a marketing solution from do-it-for-you medical marketing groups. A contractual arrangement is ideal as it means someone is always thinking about, creating, and implementing the messaging your practice needs.
Your practice most likely has an administrator tasked with monitoring quality commitments. When that person can easily dictate needs to a marketing group, the practice will flourish.
An in-house marketing team has the potential to reach the same level of performance, but oft times they are frustrated by a lack of resources (as in time and money) and expertise (because the salary commitments are below what an experienced marketing professional can demand).
2. You Fail to Target the Right Patients with the Right Message
If your current marketing fails to move the needle, the culprit is usually targeting and messaging. In other words, you’re sending the wrong message to the wrong target.
Seth Godin, a prominent author and lecturer on the subject of marketing, calls bad messaging and targeting junk marketing. “Anticipated, personal, and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk,” he said.
With an eye to Mr. Godin’s comment, the more specific, the more personal the message is for a prospective or current patient, the more effective it will be. Tying the message to the recipient’s immediate needs identifies commonalities between your practice and the recipient (flu shot messages in early fall, is a simple example). Personalization then invites the recipient into a quick conversation (using their first name, or mentioning their doctor’s name, city of residence, or any other personal bit of information).
Better targeting starts with constant data hygiene practices. As mentioned earlier, undeliverables and duplicates should be managed, corrected, or removed (in accordance with your state’s regulations).
Messaging must be focused on what your patients want, not what you provide. Patients don’t want a flu shot, they want to stay healthy. Women don’t want a mammogram, they want to stay close to loved ones for a lifetime.
Crafted messaging and expert targeting require the skills of an experienced marketing team, resources you won’t find in out-of-the-box patient communication software. Rather, with so much on the line, working with a full-service medical marketing group makes much more sense for clinics with 15 or more doctors.
3. You Overlook the Importance of Experience
Too often, medical groups saddle a practice administrator or assistant practice administrator with marketing responsibilities and goals. That decision needs serious review: No practice would ask an administrator to scrub in and check on patients when things get busy.
Because they don’t have the education or experience to practice medicine. Effective marketing also requires education and experience. Assigning marketing duties to an administrator, and then expecting positive results, is ridiculous. Hiring a junior level marketing professional to oversee all of your practice’s marketing underestimates the revenue engine marketing can be to the practice.
You can avoid these mistakes by educating your executive management team on how continuous, relevant marketing can keep the practice vibrant, progressive, and meaningful to your community.
Professional results require professional people. A do-it-for-you medical marketing group can build a revenue engine that will continuously drive revenue.