Commercial Strategy In Healthcare, Tips For The Marketing Of You And Your Practice

All Round Commercial Strategy For The Marketing Of Your Practice

I was thinking about the marketing of a Practice recently for one of my customers. Whilst we were thinking about a particular campaign strategy, I was thinking long and hard about marketing in general for most of the evening. So here goes:

Initially you should really sit down and look at your own skills, understand your own limitations. Know the difference between marketing activities you can do and marketing activities you can actually do well. When you have worked that out, hire a pro to do the rest.

If you want word of mouth referrals, you better be actually giving your Patients something to talk about.

Give your Patients a call from time to time, just to see how they are doing and I do mean just to see how they are doing.

 
You need to become revered among your Patients for your care in order to turn them into advocates. Offering the best customer service means that not only will you retain your existing Patients but you will find it far easier to win new Patients.

Have a real good look at your current marketing activities, really analyse what is working and what may not be. Then dump what is not immediately. Do not continue an ineffective marketing strategy because you don’t know what else to do.

I have said it before but I will say it again, do you have a twelve month marketing strategy? If you don’t, why the hell not? Don’t sit around waiting for it to slow down and then panic. Plan out a consistent strategy and spend. I am consistently astonished when I ask, how much is your advertising costs going to be this year and people answer, well I won’t know until year end.

Look outside our profession for marketing ideas and inspiration.  When you replicate the marketing activities of your competitors, your message just gets lost in the noise.
A guy from a different industry once told me that using a hand written signature on marketing mailings increased ROI. If it worked there, could it work for us? I don’t know, but why don’t you try and see?
 
Whatever you do and I really mean this lads and ladies invest in some sort of training for you and your staff on how to handle inbound phone calls more effectively. Then assess the types of incoming calls and with your newly minted understanding set out parameters for the answering of those calls.

Do not fiddle about with your website on your own, you trained to be a Hearing Health Professional, that means you do ears, ears people. Web designers do websites, if they started to fit hearing instruments you’d be pissed right? So why on earth would you attempt to do your own website? Turn your website into a solid lead generating channel, get the site Search Engine Optimised. Then get your website copy written by an expert, so the people who find you are motivated to actually call you, visit your premises or email you.  This is an extremely powerful and cost effective way to generate targeted business and enquiries.

Do not be complacent about your products or services, always look for ways to increase the perceived value of both. The more perceived value you offer, the easier it is to win new Patients and the harder it is for someone to tempt them away! Try asking your existing Patients from time to time How can I improve my services? In fact stop reading and do it now.

Make sure your full contact details are visible on every piece of marketing that you undertake.

Have you had a serious think ever about why a Patient should go with you over anybody else? If not, why not? If you have and have come up with an answer, ensure you encapsulate that in all of your marketing communications and in all your dealings with your Patients. I don’t mean something like, we’re the best!! in your ad copy, lets go for something more subtle!

Do you use testimonials? If you don’t you should. But be careful, testimonials should be from people who your prospective Patients will identify with. You should also consider the ancillary revenue opportunities, so don’t just include testimonials on hearing instrument sales but also from assistive device sales.

Our demographic is changing, when they want information on a service provider, they Google them. When they Google you, what exactly are they going to see? It is important that you consider and control this.

Avoid using address labels on mail shots you will get a better response rate if you use window envelopes, with the name and address printed onto the letter. It is slightly more personal and more people will actually open the envelope.

Be very careful with your mail merge marketing, people hate being pestered.  Be judicious with your mailings, remember, something of value every time. That’s not value to you, but value to them.

I do not attempt to attract contacts, but I do, it costs me nothing. It is because of my online presence and an implicated authority, stop laughing at the back Miller, that I gain from my posting and connections. What have you done lately that brought you contacts or Patients for free? Think about a lecture or presentation to a local group, what about a column in the local newspaper?
 
Start a blog and post new material to it whenever you have something valuable you want to share.  Blogs are either free or inexpensive to set up, however they can be excellent for developing your reputation as an expert and for communicating with people.

It’s easier to sell to an existing Patient than it is to sell to a stranger.  Are there new services that your Patient needs that you can provide? If this is the case then sell them those services or products. This is the quickest way to see an increase in revenue.

Regards
Geoff
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About Geoffrey Cooling

my name is Geoffrey Cooling and I am the author here at Just Audiology Stuff. I have been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession for several years now. I initially worked as a Hearing Healthcare Professional for a large national retailer in Ireland. After several years in Practice I was approached to work for a manufacturer, where I was employed for five years. I am now the Co Founder of a business called Audiology Engine. We design websites, undertake content marketing and generally look after everything digital for audiological practices. I am also a contributor to many hearing profession periodicals and websites. I have written two commercially available books, The Little Book of Hearing Aids which is written for hearing aid consumers and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World which is written for Audiology Practice Owners. They are both available in Paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. I also write for consumers on the website Hearing Aid Know, which is a website with the mission of demystifying hearing aids, their types and their technology. I have a great interest in commercial strategy as it applies to Healthcare in general and specifically to Hearing Healthcare. I also have a great interest in the psychology of sales and human interaction. I have been involved with social media for some time, both personally and professionally. I find the engagement and discourse on some social media channels fascinating. I instituted social media strategy for the company I worked for as an experiment. That experiment soon spread throughout the company and I am proud to say that the company is probably one of the most active in the industry. I would like to point out that all views, opinions and thoughts here are mine own. Unless of course they have been planted by the pod people, you just can’t take your eyes off the pod people. Those views do not necessarily reflect upon any views or opinions held by my employer, if I ever get another one. I think that our industry is in the middle of a time of huge change, I think that the change will be forced by both internal and external pressure. I think that private Independent Healthcare Practices will have to be smart and lithe of feet in order to meet these changes. I hope that some of my blatherings are of benefit to those Practices, Independent Hearing Healthcare Practices need to survive. I believe that if that occurs it will be of real benefit to Patients. I hope that I, and my writings will play a small part in their continued success.

2 Comments

  1. Excellent advice; I agree with 100% of it. To support it, here is a few good resources based on Guerrilla Marketing, a concept started by Jay Conrad Levinson in the 1980s, which is basically that anyone with the willpower and persistence can be a successful marketer. Here is a post on Amazon for his current book:
    And another website relating to the same concept is http://www.gogorillamedia.com.
    Regarding testimonials, Geoff hit it on the head. We have a “Good Hearing Ambassador” program, where we actively recruit our “Apostles” for better hearing and offer “Referral Rewards.” We’ve been using something like it for about 15 years (as have many other practices, I would suspect), but revised it November 2010 and it has exploded. We can attribute nearly $200,000 is sales directly to this program since that time.
    Geoff’s last paragraph really brings everything to the forefront, and is encapsulated in a plaque above our front entry (to be read as people are leaving): “Come as strangers, leave as friends.” This is a relationship profession more than anything else, and to capitalize on your patient relationships is the best for everybody–except your competition.

Let me know what you think