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Marketing Strategies for the Medical Office

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Marketing your medical practice requires someone that can be realistic about market expectations, setting and accomplishing goals, and assessing the competition. Marketing identifies the types of services that should be offered based on the demands of the community, analyze the performance potential, and develops strategies and goals necessary to maintain a competitive edge.

1. Online Marketing

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Online marketing is one of the most important applications for developing and maintaining a growing customer base. Having a positive online presence is one of the most productive measures in marketing, second only to word of mouth. When implementing your online marketing strategy, it is more effective to focus your time and energy on building a successful website and a dynamic social media presence.

Website

A medical office website should be more than just a single page listing the practice's office hours and contact information. The website should be full of information that patient's can read informative articles and find information on treatment options, new technology, or other information related to health care. Since first impressions have the greatest impact make sure your website is:

  1. Professional
  2. Appealing
  3. User-Friendly
  4. Informative
  5. Memorable
Social Media

The use of social media for the purpose of online communications is recognized as an effective way to promote community relations, recruitment activities and marketing events. Of course, medical office staff must fully understand the appropriate use of social media. Creating a social media policy for medical office staff establishes guidelines to protect patient privacy and prevents the violation of HIPAA Privacy Rules. Here are some simple social media guidelines for the entire medical office staff to follow:

Do…
…be professional especially if you have identified yourself as an employee
…include a statement stating your views are your own and not your employers
…remove tags on pictures that a patient posts to keep the picture off of your page

Don’t…
…participate in any online communication with patients of the medical office
…post pictures of patients under any circumstance even if it is unidentifiable
…discuss any details of your job or activities that occurred during the work day

2. Offline Marketing

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Offline marketing, or traditional marketing, should always be included in the medical office marketing plan. Although, many patients are using the internet to find a new practice or reconnect with an old one, traditional marketing is still an effective approach to reaching out to patients.

Advertising

The right mix of various tools is necessary for a successful advertising campaign. Depending on a number of factors, such as the demographics of the target market, your marketing plan and your advertising budget, your advertising strategy could include:

  • Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Newsletters
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Signage
Special Events

Creating special events is a great way to engage the community and encourage people to become new patients. Special events can draw large crowds, media coverage and attention from leaders within the community. Consider offering free cholesterol or diabetic screenings, celebrating milestone events, or introducing new physicians to the community.

3. Referral Marketing

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Although online and traditional marketing can generate a substantial amount of business, referrals are important for the medical office to have long term financial success. Referrals can come from several places but it is necessary to build, develop and maintain great relationships among other providers for this to be successful. This is especially true for specialized medical practices. Most patients don't seek out specialists but are referred by other physicians and hospitals. When providers develop relationships that drive patients to each other, these relationships are for the mutual benefit of one another.

Selling patient lists or disclosing PHI to third parties for marketing purposes is strictly prohibited without prior authorization from the patient. Remember that disclosure of patient information should only be accessed for the purpose of providing quality care.

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