Healthcare professionals often ask us to clarify our framework for marketing a practice. Following is a ten-step approach to successful marketing.
1. Make marketing a priority, not a “dirty word.” Marketing refers to everything you do to educate the community about your practice, as well as the experience your patients and colleagues have when they interact with you. Therefore, you are marketing whether you want to or not. You may as well market proactively, and create the image you want your practice to have.
2. Lay a strong strategic foundation. It is imperative to understand the market in your pratice area, including competitors, total referral base, optimal payer and patient mix, and optimal service mix.
3. Build your referral base. Most healthcare professionals do not do as thorough job as they could in building referrals. There are proactive yet tasteful ways to educate colleagues about your practice, and every healthcare professional should be doing what they can to be the “go-to” healthcare professional in their field.
4. Get, and stay, visible in your community using high-impact, low-cost tactics and by following up over time. (We show you a variety of ways to do this that are appropriate and tasteful, and that bring value to your community while enhancing your image and reputation).
5. Develop your retail strategy.
6. Develop your service strategy.
7. Measure and improve your quality and utilization. These measurements not only help you provide more consistent care, but they also can be used to negotiate with insurers and to educate the community about your practice results.
8. Improve hospital and insurer relations. There is a co-dependency between independent healthcare practices and their local hospital(s), and often the relationship can be strengthened to the benefit of both parties. Similarly, many healthcare providers can improve their footing with insurers by understanding how to build leverage.
9. Develop the necessary marketing collateral. Every healthcare provider should develop a set of tasteful, educational marketing materials to educate patients and prospective patients about their services and developments in their practice. This activity does not have to be difficult or costly — and it is important to learn from what works rather than re-inventing the wheel or repeating common mistakes.
10. Develop a marketing action plan. To achieve results, one must plan and take action.
The above framework is a skeleton only. Our marketing system provides the details.