So you have a successful practice, but you would like more patients. It seems hard, but it’s not that difficult… if you use the right marketing tools. In fact there are many easy, inexpensive, and effective marketing opportunities available. Here are 8 clever ways to attract more patients:
Update Your Google Maps Information
Let’s face it, Google has replaced the yellow pages. When patients search for your business by name, address or phone number, they will probably find themselves looking at a Google search result including a pin showing your location on Google Maps (or on some other search engine that gets the information from the same data aggregator). It is very important that the information they find is correct and complete.
The good news is that it is very easy to fix your practice information and help patients find your practice online. Look up your practice on Google maps and check the information. Claim your practice by logging into Google MyBusiness and update your contact information and hours of operation.
Make Your Practice Come Up In A Search
When potential patients are looking for your type of practice by specialty, is your business coming up on page one of the search engines or is it buried on page 10? Is your competitor appearing ahead of you? According to Comscore, 64% of all U.S. internet searches are being conducted on Google, so showing up on a Google search is currently more important than ever.
One way to get your practice noticed by Google, is to create a web site using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies. SEO involves researching and using keywords that help your web site show up in organic search engine results. It improves your rankings and drives more traffic to your site. A quick search on SEO should give you enough information to get started, however, if you are in a highly competitive metropolitan area, hiring a good SEO consultant might make sense.
Ask Patients For Online Reviews
When looking for a new healthcare provider, many patients search for online reviews. Satisfied patients can influence shoppers by writing positive reviews about your practice. Great online reviews can sway shoppers to select you over other healthcare providers.
The good news is that getting satisfied patients to write an online review is simple: just ask! Ask patients to review you on Google, Yelp, CitySearch or healthcare sites, such as MDJunction, HealthLine or MedHelp. You already know who your biggest fans are, and it’s amazing what a single good review can do.
It is not recommended to ask multiple patients for reviews at the same time or to offer incentives for reviews, as this goes against many review site policies and can get your profile frozen or suspended. It is better to make it happen naturally. When you get a compliment from a patient, ask them if they would mind writing a review on Yelp.
Use Social Media and Find More Patients
Social media is an inexpensive way to create positive word of mouth and help attract more patients. Today’s patients are using social media to look up health related matters. In fact, 41% of patients said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility, according to Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group. If you’re not using social media to connect with existing and potential patients, you may be behind your competition.
If you are brand new to social media, Facebook is the easiest way to start. Create a Facebook profile, and start sharing medical articles regarding your specialty. Share pictures of your office, your staff (with their permission, of course), events you attend, workshops you host, and holiday parties that highlight your practice’s culture. Join your Facebook neighborhood group and be sure to speak up whenever someone asks for a recommendation for a good healthcare provider in your specialty.
Find Community Marketing Opportunities
Don’t forget to attract more patients by taking advantage of tried and true local opportunities. After all, the best way to introduce yourself to new patients is to get out and participate in your community. Here are some easy ideas:
- Join and advertise your practice through the local Chamber of Commerce. This will introduce your practice to local businesses and give you sponsorship opportunities.
- Host an in-house event such as an educational health class. Promote it to existing patients through social media and email marketing.
- Write a health article for your local newspaper.
- Sponsor a 5K Race or a marathon.
Find Corporate Marketing Opportunities
Businesses in your local community are a great source of new patients. Chances are, some of your existing patients work for some of the companies in your area. See if they will help you network with one of the larger companies, so that you can try to write a health article for their newsletter or give an informative presentation or even offer an on-going class to their employees.
The big corporations often have a yearly health fair. Doctors, hospitals and medical groups can inexpensively set up a booth and meet with prospective patients. If you have a charismatic front-desk person, this is the perfect person to send to represent your practice and hand out branded giveaways such as thermometers, exercise bands or calendars.
Start a Patient Referral Program
A successful patient referral program is an easy and effective way to attract more patients. Referrals can create positive word of mouth and trust in your community.
Come up with a freebie you are willing to give any patient that brings in a new patient (such as a free dental exam). Create a referral card that the existing patient can put their name on and give to prospective patients. When a new patient signs up, they can bring in the referral card with the existing patient’s name. Contact the existing patient to inform them that they have won the freebie.
Once you have the cards, and the policy (for example, only one free dental exam per year), market your referral program on all your print marketing materials, social sites, and email signatures. Advertise it in a sign in your lobby. Print the offer in your Chamber of Commerce directory listing as well as other local directories.
Become Involved in a Charity or Scholarship
A great way to get positive exposure, is to associate your business with a charity relevant to your specialty such as Dentistry from the Heart. Supporting a charity provides the opportunity to support a cause that you believe in, and connects you with members of your community in a different platform. It can boost company morale by bringing employees together to support a cause, and it provides an opportunity to network with other professionals, who can bring in referrals as well.
If you simply do not have enough time to be involved in a charity, try offering a scholarship. Scholarships spread like wildfire on social media and in emails as all family members want to help their loved ones find them. It’s a perfect way to get your brand in front of local colleges and universities while giving something back to your community.
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