A new year brings new opportunities. CJU Medical Marketing’s Managing Director, Caroline Ucherek, looks at what doctors can do to keep their medical business growing and improving.
Medical marketing should be designed to build your reputation and set you apart in the marketplace. The strategic plan and roll out for a sole practitioner and the marketing campaigns and tactics for a large GP practice or multi-site specialist provider are entirely different. But the true essence of marketing and the key to a successful strategy remains the same: To understand your customers’ needs and develop a plan that meets those needs.
Your marketing strategy should address two things:
We mostly think of a brand as being a logo – but that’s just a small part of it.
It is the embodiment of your practice – your customer’s first experience from their initial contact with your practice to the last interaction they have with your service. It includes the way the phone is answered, how a patient is treated at reception, what information they are given and how they are given it, how the reception looks and feels, including the décor, and your marketing collateral. Your “brand delivery” and the “brand experience” is well underway before you have even met the patient. To better gauge the effect of your brand on the patient’s experience, consider implementing a mystery shop. This will give you an unbiased review and help reveal areas that need improvement.
Listening To Patients
Encouraging feedback, listening, and responding to patients are key contributors to long term success. This can best be done via patient surveys, monitoring online reviews, and measuring important patient statistics.
Almost 40% of medical practices don’t have a formal feedback strategy. Yet performed thoughtfully and with adequate follow-up, the results of patient surveys can immediately affect your practice’s business results.
Before undertaking any questionnaire, it is important to prioritise its objectives in order to ensure the survey itself is manageable for the person completing it and it delivers information that is actionable.
Your Online Presence
Having a comprehensive website is now a necessity. There is no one-size-fits-all website, each medical practice has its own unique qualities and your website design should take these into account.
Online business listings also open the door to Google reviews. Your digital reputation is very important and it is vital to be an active participant in the management of reviews you may receive.
How you respond will depend on the review. If the review is an administrative complaint, you may choose to have your practice manager respond – the key is to respond in a timely and positive fashion.
If the complaint is clinical in nature, you may wish to make a general response acknowledging the patient’s concern, but then try to take the conversation offline.
If the comment is unreasonable, you may consider ignoring it. But even if you choose not to respond, it’s a good idea to keep monitoring the situation.
Above all, ensure you avoid breaching the Medical Board Code of Conduct, and you do not breach patient confidentiality.
Data, Data, Data
Your practice management software is one of the most valuable marketing tools you possess. Regular reviews of your data (monthly at a minimum) with a focus on key indicators will highlight any significant fluctuations – positive or negative. Data to examine should include:
CJU Medical Marketing is a specialist full-service marketing agency working exclusively within the medical industry.