If you’re like most medical providers, you rely on insurance referrals and word-of-mouth marketing for the bulk of your new clientele. However, if your goal is to reach out to attract new patients, you may be considering implementing some outbound medical marketing tactics. But before you begin, make sure you know these 5 critical medical marketing must do’s.
1. Make sure you understand the HIPAA rules about medical marketing.
Years ago I worked for WebMd and was responsible for implementing processes to manage PHI (Protected Health Information) as outlined in HIPAA. I understand just how important this law is to medical providers.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996 and governs the way the medical providers must treat a patient’s personal information. I cannot stress this enough. This is the most important thing you need do know about medical marketing. If you don’t follow HIPAA rules about medical marketing you could be faced with major fines.
2. Understand that HIPAA rules also apply to outside vendors.
If you hire an outside marketing agency, not only to they need to be aware of HIPAA laws, they need to abide by them. Make sure you have all the proper paperwork in place and make sure your marketing provider understands the complexities of healthcare marketing given HIPAA rules.
3. Your telephone is your number one medical marketing asset.
I’m surprised at the number of medical facilities that I come across that don’t realize the importance of their telephone in marketing.
- First, make sure you answer it!
- Secondly, if your phone is ringing off the hook, don’t let visitors go on hold or leave messages. You will lose valuable appointments. Instead hire a medical answering service to pick up the slack. This will generate revenue immediately. Plus it’s cheaper than hiring a full time staff person! If you’re not answer your calls you’re losing money.
- Third, use your phone in an unusual way: Call after the appointment to follow up and see how your patients are doing and thank them for choosing your practice. This little act of appreciation can pay in big dividends in referrals.
4. Adopt technology
Make it easy for your patients to contact you in the way that is easiest for them whether email, online, text message or telephone. Many medical marketing platforms like Demandforce, or Practice Mojo integrate with your existing patient management software and make it easy for you to communicate with your patients, send out reminders, gather reviews and more. These systems are inexpensive, easy to use, and they also payback in dividends by making it easier for patients to contact you any time of day or night using the type of media they choose. (Disclosure: I am not affiliated with either of these companies but I do use them in the medical marketing we do for our clients.)
5. Manage your online presence.
Having a clearly written, easy-to-navigate website is the first step toward a strong online presence.
- Manage your online directory listings. By managing your listings on online directories such as Google Places, Bing, Yahoo, and Yelp your practice is more likely to appear at the top of potential patients’ online searches for a local provider.
- Don’t neglect your online reputation. Patients have the opportunity to rate your services on the before mentioned online directories, and directories specific to the medical industry such as Health Grades. The more positive ratings your practice receives, the more likely it will be found online. Respond to critical reviews with empathy, and apologize when its warranted. http://www.healthgrades.com.
If managing your medical marketing strategy isn’t your forte, there are many medical marketing agencies that can assist you including 23 Kazoos.
Related: Best Medical Marketing Tips 2014