As a healthcare provider, you need a good marketing strategy to attract new patients. But with hundreds of marketing services out there… where should you start? How much should you spend? Should you hire a consultant or can you do it yourself?
A smart way to figure this out is to try a few different marketing techniques. Then you can see what works best for your unique practice. We’ve done some footwork for you and found 9 free (or almost free) marketing tools. These will help you test the waters, focus on what works and create your best marketing strategy.
1. Create a Professional Practice Brochure
Want to reach out to your local community at health fairs and events? You will need something to hand out to prospective patients. That’s where a professional practice brochure comes in handy. Luckily, you can create beautiful marketing collateral in minutes with Canva. You can use easy templates, add stock images and then store everything online. When you’ve finished, get a professional print job to project a polished image.
2. Get Your Practice Found in Online Searches
Help patients find your practice online by setting up your Google MyBusiness Account. Here you can add business hours and contact information to Google Search and Maps. Add pictures and a brief description of your practice. Be sure to include a link to your web site.
3. Get Found in Mobile Phone Searches
With 55 million monthly active users, it makes sense to take advantage of Foursquare. This free app helps patients find local doctors using their smartphones. Just claim your business, or create a profile, and let new patients come to you.
4. Create a Compelling Web Site
There are many free website builders available. Wix stands out with a nice selection of healthcare templates. The easy-to-use interface requires zero training. In fact, it’s so easy, you or your front office staff can create a professional website in a matter of hours. Just pick a template, add your customizations, and voila!
5. Create Custom Graphics
What’s a brochure or web site without pictures of your practice? Show off your beautiful office with a free photo-editing software such as Pixlr. This image-editing tool works with your Internet browser. Resize, crop, filter, or enhance images to use in both online and print marketing. No training required.
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6. Use Patient Reviews
You already know who your biggest fans are… so ask them to write some reviews. It’s a small investment of time with huge returns. Start with Yelp and some healthcare sites, such as MDJunction, HealthLine or MedHelp. Don’t go too fast with this one! Getting too many reviews at once could get you suspended from some sites. Having a problem with a bad review? Check out how to handle a bad review in 8 steps.
7. Generate Social Word of Mouth
As of this writing, Facebook is still the most popular social site and a great way to get patient referrals. Share medical articles and news, plus pictures of your practice and culture. An easy strategy is to join (or create) your Facebook neighborhood group. Speak up whenever someone asks for a recommendation for a doctor in your specialty. For more information, read Social Media for Healthcare Providers.
8. Create Content to Share
Are you passionate about what you do? Establish yourself as a leader in your field by creating your own content to share on social media. New presentation tools, such as Haiku Deck, give you access to a giant library of artwork. Easy templates make it easy to design interesting presentations in little time.
9. Have an Existing-Patient Marketing Strategy
You may have heard that it is 4 to 30 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to bring in an existing one. Numbers aside, everyone agrees that finding new customers is expensive. This is a very important marketing concept. Yet, most small businesses spend all of their marketing budget targeting new customers. What’s worse is that some methods have a very low return on investment. For example, 1% is considered a successful response rate to postcard advertising.
So, before you start a new marketing strategy, try to bring in existing patients. Make sure they keep scheduled appointments. Aggressively reschedule changed appointments. Ask for referrals and reach out to patients you haven’t seen in a while
Here is an existing-patient marketing strategy to make the most of your current base:
- Use automated calls, text messages or emails to remind existing patients to schedule routine appointments.
- Once they have an appointment, send an automated reminder call or text message the night before, so they don’t miss it.
- Send automated emails to customers you haven’t seen in a while, inviting them to return.
- Remember to include existing customers when marketing new services or promotions.
- Create incentives for customers who bring in referrals.
- Schedule everyone’s next appointment before they leave and use automated reminders to make sure they return.
10. Join the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau helps consumers find businesses of all kinds, including medical practices. Through ratings and reviews, patients can find physicians they can trust. Over 10 million people turn to the Better Business Bureau per year. Although this is a paid listing, it does allow you to display a BBB seal on your website once you are acredited.
These strategies, used together, can bring a swift return on investment. Plus they help provide better customer service. Remember, although new patients are great, they are not as wonderful as the ones you already have.
Want more marketing strategy tips? Check out: 8 Clever Ways to Attract More Patients.