Believe it or not, you have total control over whether or not you are attracting the kinds of patients you want to treat to your medical practice. In fact, if you use the proper medical practice marketing tactics you can help prospective patients make an informed decision in selecting you as their health care provider.
Part of your strategic health care marketing plan must include an identified target market. This target market is the well-defined segment of patients that you want to attract to your practice. To attract the types of patients you want to your medical practice, you must not only clearly define your prospective patients, but you must also adequately address their concerns regarding the decision making process. The way that you address these concerns will dictate the type of patients you attract to your medical practice.
Every target market will have different concerns depending on the type of services sought out. For instance, the concerns for a patient seeking a cosmetic surgeon will differ from those seeking a chiropractor. You must determine exactly what those concerns are for your target audience and address the following three crucial factors that patients consider in selecting a physician. In order of importance, the three crucial factors that patients look at when choosing a doctor are: personality, experience, and access.
Personality – Your bedside manner.
Hands down the number one determinative factor for patients seeking a physician is the doctor’s personality! The irony here is that doctors don’t value this simple human element of dealing with their patients. Practice your people skills and watch how much more compliant and receptive your patients will become. More than that, you can generate great word-of-mouth advertising about the “fun”, “caring”, or “easy-going” physician in the community. Remember that your patient is sharing intimate details with you. If a patient has a problem with a doctor on a personal level, that prevents open and honest dialogue. If patients feel this way when visiting your medical practice, then he or she will look elsewhere. Effective medical marketing materials will allow you to convey and establish your personality and style of practice. This makes it easier for patients to decide whether or not you are a good fit for them. Then, showcase your superior bedside manner at your first appointment and build a solid doctor-patient relationship with your clients.
Experience – You know what you’re doing; credentials are secondary.
Many doctors think that their qualifications are of utmost importance to their patients. Ironically, they are usually an afterthought. Your qualifications play a much bigger role amongst your colleagues and in developing a foundation for teaching, but when it comes to your patients…they want to know that you know what you’re doing! Use your health care marketing materials to assure patients of your experience and knowledge in your field. Be sure that your marketing collateral covers the number of procedures, patients, or types of cases you’ve treated or seen. Discuss your take on your practice area, and allow your personal confidence as a doctor and medical professional to shine through. If a patient is going to see a cardiologist for the first time the last thing they are worried about is whether that specialist went to Yale or not. They want to know you’ve done heart surgery before. They want to know you can meet their needs.
Access – Two weeks to get an appointment with you means your inaccessible!
Lastly, the third most important factor that patients look for when choosing a doctor is availability. If you’re a qualified physician with an excellent bedside manner but you are inaccessible, you will not attract patients. Make yourself available to your patients and promote your accessibility in your medical practice marketing materials. Use superior scheduling practices and get your staff on board with your internal marketing efforts to reduce wait times for appointments, reduce wait times in your office, and reduce wait times for returned phone calls. Train your staff to take phone calls from patients, talk to patients about follow up visits, and facilitate your workflow when appropriate. Your behind the scenes activities must support your marketing claims about your practice; otherwise you can kiss your marketing investment good-bye.
Use your medical marketing activities to communicate with current and prospective patients about these three critical factors. And, include the things you know matter most to your target market. If you use your health care marketing material in this way, you will certainly help patients decide if you’re exactly what they have been looking for.
Rx MD Marketing Solutions provides full service marketing for doctors, marketing for physicians, marketing for cosmetic surgeons, marketing for dermatologists, marketing for aesthetics, marketing for general practice physicians, and marketing for dentists. We are more than medical marketing consultants; we help explode the profits of your medical practice!