Time-constrained and focused on patient care, health care professionals are not in the business of marketing. Still, doctors have to ensure patients are coming through their doors — and keep coming. That requires effective marketing.
The simple truth, though, is marketing often gets relegated to the bottom of the priority list. Even with the best intentions, many health care professionals don’t realize they aren’t meeting a basic level of marketing. As a result, their marketing is stuck. Fortunately, poor-quality marketing is not difficult to diagnose: It’s as simple as checking your vitals.
These are four red flags that will signal your practice’s marketing program needs treatment.
1. Your untrained, overwhelmed office staff is running your marketing.
Office managers run the ship. They keep records in order, work with insurance companies and provide service to patients on the phone and in person. The last thing they have the time or skills to do is marketing. Yet, sending out marketing emails often falls into the laps of your office staff. If your staff is running your marketing, that is a clear sign you’re not getting the most out of it.
2. You are breaking the bank on overpriced consultants.
So, maybe you’ve figured out that your office manager should not be your marketing manager, and you have turned to a marketing consultant to tackle the issue. Problem solved, right? Wrong. While these experts can offer insightful advice, they are cost prohibitive for most practices. Even if their insights on sophisticated marketing tactics are compelling and lead to an increase in revenue, these consultants don’t generate return on investment (ROI) because they cost an arm and a leg. Plus, they likely don’t provide the necessary results data for you to optimize future campaigns and objectively measure your real ROI.
3. Measurement is missing from your program.
Digital marketing allows you to track the effectiveness of any marketing campaign, and if you are not measuring your campaigns, you’re not getting the most out of your marketing program. You should be using these metrics to help inform subsequent campaigns and understand what is and isn’t working. If, instead, you are simply relying on anecdotal evidence, such as a perceived increase in phone calls after you run a print ad, your program needs help. Just because the phone rings, it doesn’t mean your marketing is working. Stick to the numbers that can be tracked to ensure your marketing efforts are truly helping to generate business.
4. You are only focused on patient acquisition.
If you are focusing all your marketing efforts on chasing new patients, that is a sign you aren’t getting the most out of your marketing. New patients generate, on average, a mere 13% of revenue, while existing patients generate an average of 40% of revenue and 32% of referrals. Your marketing efforts should be focused on getting your existing patients to spend more money. Additionally, you want current patients to refer your services to their friends. Don’t waste all your money on new prospects, which can cost $1,000 a person to acquire. Instead, develop a system in which you are targeting your current clients and driving them to spread the word to their friends.
Once you understand that your staff should focus solely on caring for patients, you’ll know it’s time to change your marketing approach. Effective marketing requires a sophisticated approach without breaking the bank.