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Medical Practice Business And Marketing Articles
Article #30 Feb. 2012
“What’s Your Medical Practice Marketing Plan?”
The essentials of a marketing plan that create
Most physicians in private practice have a general idea of what advertising is all about. When it comes to marketing, very few have neither a clear usable understanding about the marketing process nor how it can be implemented into their medical practice management. That's what a marketing plan forces you to learn quickly.
Those with a previous business education already have a leg-up on what marketing does for any business. However, even those with a foundational business education commonly come up short in the application of marketing and business principles in regards to the business of medical practice.
For those physicians and other professional medical care providers who intend to begin or continue with private practice of medicine in today’s world, the effective application of every marketing method appropriate to medical practice is mandatory. Most realize it, but many find that they are not prepared financially or mentally to launch into marketing their
The most common misgivings physicians have about starting a marketing program for their practice include...
Wasting time and money on marketing that fails
Recognizing that a marketing plan is necessary, but
don’t know how to create it
Insecurity about the extent of their marketing knowledge
Not convinced that marketing would improve their
practice income or growth to any significant degree
Worry about sacrificing time with patients (income)
in order to do the marketing
Have no desire to do better than they are already doing
5 Essentials of a medical practice advertising plan...
1. Goals: These must be practical, measurable, and attainable.
2. Media Resources: Which do you intend to use? Which are the most effective? Consider newsletters, newspapers, trade magazines, billboards, yellow pages, office brochures, signs, coupons, Valpaks, mobile device applications, websites, blogs, social network sites, and business cards.
3. Copywriting the ad information: Structuring the advertisement,
wording, and design to create urgency, usefulness, uniqueness, and specificity. Ad must get attention, provoke interest, create desire, and inspire action.
4. Follow-up: Ads must frequently be upgraded, repeated, kept current,
be appropriate for target market, and provide reasonable results
5. Restructured to match changing trends and technology: What
clients or patients want today is not what they were demanding a
month ago, year ago, or 5 years ago.
7 Essentials of a medical practice marketing plan...
1. Create reliable, consistent, predictable systems: These
systems must be engineered to be affordable, easily learned
and used, efficient, and deliver high quality patients in
predictable quantities each month.
2. Select the ideal prospective patient to target: It requires
knowing that group of patients, how they live, what they buy,
what they want, what they’re looking for medical-wise, and
how best to approach them.
3. Select the media those patients use: Is it email, direct mail,
certain magazines, newsletters, conferences, educational
events, places they frequent, hobbies, sport interests, or a
combination of them?
4. Pick relevant information: Means to meet those patients on
their own ground. You need to be knowledgeable about their
interests and find a way to appeal to their interests while
incorporating your pitch at the same time.
5. Provide access to your practice: This includes phone
numbers, office street address, website, fax number, email
address, and any convenient means of contacting you.
6. Teaser follow-up efforts (short term): Curiosity and
interest may bring them to you for more information, but
follow-up tactics and strategies using multi-steps of
communication is how you capture them as a real patient.
7. Management of “hard to get” patients: These are those
prospects or leads that don’t initially respond to your
enticing messages. These “maturing” prospects need a bit of
coaxing and an occasional contact message to remind them
you still are available. Patients change doctors for many
reasons... and you are right there in their memory when that
happens waiting for them to make an appointment at your office.
Overcoming the initial frustration of, “How do I accomplish
These steps in marketing of your medical practice take time and work to reach a level of knowledge you are comfortable with proceeding further along. Marketing consultants are happy to help you do these things, but their fees are quite high ($30,000 and up per year).
You are actually able to get started yourself with marketing your practice for as little as $200 to $500. Marketing methods and efforts do not have to be done all at once at the same time. It’s much better to start with one marketing method, see how effective it is, and then add another method to the first one.
A means to track the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and identifying the number of new patients you see as a result of that marketing effort is necessary to see if your strategy works and how well it works. “Start small, think tall” is the inspirational provocative of the late Dr. Robert H. Schuller, renowned author and leader of Crystal Cathedral Ministries.
Consider this one example... "postcard marketing" of your medical practice.
Beginning with the concept that you have the capacity to accomplish far more than you presently give yourself credit for, you can put yourself to the test using something as simple as “postcard marketing.”
Design your message to fit a postcard, have a printing business print 500
postcards for you, send them to a mailing list of potential patients you purchased from a “list broker” in your area or obtained from another source, and keep score of the results. By placing a referral code number on the card, and a phone number to call for information or for scheduling an appointment, you’ll have a lock on the number of patients you acquire from that one mailing process.
Next, you isolate the mailing list of those who never responded at all, even those who just wanted some information when they called. Send a repeat postcard mailing a month later to that segment, change the code referral number, and check the results. Then, repeat the process every 6 months or so to pick up those potential patients who have become dissatisfied with their present doctor, those who are slow to make decisions, and those who thought they would never need your medical care and now do.
That’s the easy part of this marketing process and method. Where you will need some expert help is with the challenges of setting up the necessary framework or “system” to be used over and over again for years to come.
That “system” will require...
Setting objectives you expect to accomplish. How many new patients do you want or need joining your practice each month? How many patients left your practice that month... are you growing your practice or losing?
Decision on what type of patient you want to attract. An OBG doctor would want female patients. A pediatrician would select parents of children under _______ age bracket.
Most “list brokers” you find in the yellow pages have a minimum list order of 5000 people (cost about $500). You need to tell the list broker the characteristics of the list and respondents you want such as age range, sex, salary income level, married or not, belong to certain organizations or not, etc.
Figuring out the budget you can spare to pay for these services each month, and know the cost of those services.
Recognizing that this whole marketing process is a never-ending responsibility you accept, if you want it to work for you.
Creating the copywriting needed for your marketing. What makes it work is the ability to put words, phrases, colors, design, graphics, and information in a pattern on the postcard that almost forces potential patients to read the information whether they really want to or not. It gets into behavioral patterns that always work in marketing. You can try it yourself, or pay a copywriter to do it for you. (try www.elance.com )
Most physicians would benefit by having one person (staff member) in the office assigned to do the marketing follow-through for you. The same person should be assigned a part of the day, or day of the week, to do this work. The same person should manage all new patient contacts from the marketing efforts and record everything.
If budget limitations are present, start with a office staffer you trust to do
this work. Hire a full time person once you see that your marketing is working well. I do not recommend hiring your wife to do this work within your office, home office OK.
Why you may need a mentor or coach to nudge you along
Most physicians do not have adequate knowledge about marketing a
medical practice and don’t choose to obtain the marketing knowledge
necessary to make it work. Physicians, who get into the marketing
process and fail to see results because they have no measurements
to judge it by, believe marketing is a rip-off.
Those who discover that it works well for them (with some backup
professional help) by doing things the correct way with the right tools,
find the truth about marketing exciting and quite profitable.
Marketing is similar to the Bible in one important and beneficial way
that increases your depth of inspiration.
If one decides to believe that marketing works, for example, based
on the undeniable value it has to business around the world, one then
is able to “see” and “know” in their mind that the concept and
profitability of using marketing to benefit their medical practice
business works. That doctor will be able to see much deeper into the
marketing strategies and tactics than they otherwise would.
It all becomes much clearer and understandable to them because
belief opens your subconscious interaction not available otherwise.
Copywriting is a full time profession for thousands of people. Some
have an endowed talent for it, some don’t. It’s a career that requires
time and study to become an expert.
You may have that unrevealed talent lingering in your inner-self
without knowing it. The copywriting expertise improves over time
if you choose to try it, similar to the expertise of a field goal kicker
Once you understand that marketing only works well with
persistence of the process, the new part of your responsibility for
your medical practice business may become more than you can
manage on a continuing basis. In that case you will need an expert
to help you or handle it all for you.
Big business, big medical care facilities, and big group practices
hire full time trained marketing personnel to do it all. Large
numbers of private and solo practice physicians often can’t afford
to hire it done.
So, bottom line, small medical practice businesses are at a great
disadvantage, but can employ the principles of successful business
along with the reasonable cost of mentoring or coaching
successfully. If you do nothing, you stay exactly where you are
and watch your medical practice gradually disintegrate.
Think I’m kidding?
What kind of marketing method or strategy should you use? You
have to have a basic knowledge of marketing methods and a
significant understanding of your own practice business functions
to make those decisions.
Then there’s the problem of deciding which marketing method
best fits your medical practice style and personality—can you do
that? Which of the marketing methods are the most efficient for
drawing in new patients? That’s important because you don’t want
to spend a load of money on one that produces lousy results
(no increased income, no additional patients).
These are just a few of the factors that will challenge you on your way to
maximizing your medical practice potential, expertise, and value to your patients, hence, higher income enables you to do that.
It seems quite clear that private practice is becoming a disappearing entity under the present restrictions and controls on healthcare today.
Private practice will and can continue inside the profession when it is totally separated from the ever-increasing egregious governmental controls. Concierge (cash only) private practice is the one medical practice method that escapes most of these detrimental issues. The hooker in this debate is that politically appointed Medical Licensure Boards will continue to control much of medical practice and remain a pawn of the governmental
I have described above only one of the marketing methods easily adaptable to your medical practice. There are many others. Business and marketing experts all seem to agree that using as many marketing methods as is appropriate for your medial practice, provide the best results.
Finally, knowing which marketing methods are best for you in your medical
practice, which have the highest degree of profitability for your practice, and
which are those most advantageous to the practice environment you work in
is what business and marketing experts are there to do for you.
Medical practice business and marketing is what I know, teach, and consult
with medical doctors and other professional medical care providers about.
The author, Curt Graham, M.D., an experienced physician, author, marketer and expert in medical practice business and marketing strategies, is an expert author and motivator for professionals in the business world. He is a platinum expert author with EzineArticles.com and has been published in Modern Physician and elsewhere.
Discover how to make your medical practice flourish and exceed all expectations with simple business and marketing strategies. Click the link now for the effective ways to do it.
©Copyright 2004-2011, Curtis Graham, M.D., All Rights Reserved.
The Renegade Millionaire Way
by Dan S. Kennedy
"The Power Of Mastery"
I am about to tell you how to add $25,000.00, $50,000.00, maybe $100,00.00 a year to your yearly income - without spending even a penny more on advertising or marketing.
One of my featured guest speakers at a past Super-Conference was Michael Vance. Michael worked side-by-side with Walt Disney for a number of years. As I was listening to Mike, I made a mental note to start talking about a Walt Disney quote about marketing that I used to use a lot.
What Walt Disney said about Marketing is...
“Do what you do so well - and so uniquely – that people can’t resist telling others about you.”
In every field, there are “masters”. People just so darned good at what they do that people are compelled to tell others about them.
Mike Vance is that kind of speaker, and there are darned few in that category. Actors like Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro. The salesman I used to buy my cars from at Sanderson Ford in Phoenix - he puts every other car guy I’ve ever seen to shame.
There are a couple chiropractors I know who put on such a great “report of findings” (their equivalent of the Printing Audit) that they enjoy 100% conversions and can easily sell large dollar “pre-pays.” There’s a shoe-shine guy at the Atlanta Airport who still rubs wax in by hand, snaps the towel with authority, slaps the leather, makes the brush sing. And this is important: these people are “master performers.” They are not just masters at whatever technical thing they do, they are masters at presentation.
So, here’s a very simple, very practical question: after customer buys from you for the first time, do they - without any prodding from you - rush to the phone, call an associate, and tell them about the amazing buying experience they just had? Are the first words out of their mouth to the next person they see, about you?
If it is, here’s the economic impact: your need to invest money in acquiring new customers will diminish over time as your business converts to being 100% referral driven. This means you can take all the money you now spend on advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, etc. and put it into your pocket instead. This means you will have more people calling and waiting in line for you than you have time, because each client will multiply.
“Mastery” can quite easily be worth an extra $50,000.00 to $200,000.00 or even more to you each year you remain in this business. (Bank it all at even modest interest and in just five years you can retire a cash millionaire.)
To get that good, you must dedicate yourself to doing so: I’ve always been impressed with the late Yul Brenner, who performed the “King and I” a record number of times on Broadway - and still rehearsed his lines, gestures and facial expressions everyday, before every performance, right up until his last one. How many times have you written out your own, complete sales script word for word? Recorded it and listened to it on tape? Role-played it with family or mastermind group members? Practiced in front of a mirror? Ever? This month?
Get this: I can predict your future bank balances if I know what you read, what you listen to, what educational functions you attend, who you hang out with and what you work on (practice) regularly. Oh, and years ago, Joe Karbo wrote this wonderful ad headline: "Are you too busy making a living to make a fortune?" Are you?
Discover how you can sneak into the closed door meeting and eavesdrop on the free-wheeling, no holds barred discussions of arguably the most elite and extraordinary group of marketing and moneymaking "masters" ever assembled in one place, at one time!
DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.----- https://gkic.
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Curt Graham, M.D.
2404 Mason Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89102
E-mail = cgmdrx(at)gmail.com
© 2004 - 2015 Curtis Graham, M.D., All Rights Reserved.