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Sharing Marketing Tips from Local Medical Professionals and Marketers

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Medical Professionals

How do medical professionals (doctors, dentists, health pros) find new clients today?

This is the QUESTION I asked the Alignable community, of which the Santa Barbara Business Network is proudly highly recommended.

The reason I asked the question was to survey our local business community and gather information that may be helpful for us to better serve the same.  We have heard more and more health professionals (doctors, dentists, medical practitioners) are facing new challenges for connecting with new clients.  The competition includes savvy young professionals, that may not have years of experience, but know how to market themselves, above and beyond the seasoned professionals.

The question was for marketing experts to share ways seasoned professionals can find new clients in the midst of tech traffic.

Individuals in this community kindly replied from their personal and professional experience, which I wanted to share with our network members and friends, to encourage you to continue reaching out.  There are many pro-active DYI action items you may apply, and there are also marketing professionals ready to help you in the areas you are not comfortable with or do not have the time for.  With all valuable commodities, there is competition and there are some not-so-honest competitors – so be careful while you shop for help.  This is where the Santa Barbara Business Network stands by to help you learn DIY tips, while making it easy to connect with the pros.

The response we received has been phenomenal! and we continue to receive replies.
Within a few weeks, 31,000 viewed our question, 420 liked it, and 218 replied!

The answers were consistent with what the majority of non-medical professionals have found effective for finding new clients; while the medical professionals do have a couple challenges more specific to their type of work especially in terms of health insurance.

COMMON CHALLENGES

  • Time to apply towards marketing
  • Marketing Budget
  • Reaching New Clients
  • Discovering the Best Marketing Strategy for their particular business
  • Discovering the Best Marketing Strategy to reach those in need of their services
  • Competing to be Heard

MOST POPULAR SOLUTIONS

  • Referrals from current patients/clients
  • Word of Mouth
  • Networking groups
  • Website with booking or contact feature
  • Monthly Newsletter
  • Workshops
  • Community Involvement
  • Facebook Ads

CHALLENGES SPECIFIC TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

  • Time to research marketing options and strategies
  • Specialization is in their medical field, not using the Internet
  • Affects of higher health insurance costs: clients have less to spend on doctor visits
  • Client pool affected by health insurance requirements

SUGGESTIONS FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

“For some specialties, who gain most patients directly from consumers, like dentistry and plastic surgery, savvy understanding and use of mobile web based marketing and social media are increasingly required. In plastic surgery we have several companies who have years of experience with internet marketing. Yellow pages are just about extinct. At the end of the day, especially in a small market like Santa Barbara, a reputation built over time still prevails.”     Wesley Schooler from Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center

SUGGESTIONS FROM MARKETING PROS & MEDICAL PROS

“Inbound communication messaging using digital channels is fundamental today for clinicians looking to expand their existing customer base of direct referrals. Paid ads draw traffic but unless you have a clear and compelling capture strategy with relevant content touch points for the conversion process you’ll be shot gunning. Product centric content layers with organic community building that translates human health depth of service is essential in healthcare product marketing. Experience counts.” 
Michael Cea,@msemporda

“Medical professionals aren’t exempt from the same challenges as any other professional business person or company.  Development of a quality client base requires strategic planning, target marketing, and should be left to the real professionals.  Reaching the clients who will benefit the most from your services doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  Leave surgery to a surgeon and marketing to folks that achieve the highest return on investment,  Electricians are not plumbers.” Daryl Chapman, James G. Parker Insurance

“Younger clients use the star ratings and reviews online. Older clients trust their friends and neighbors.” Carolyn Aijian, Complete Care Santa Barbara LLC

“Word of mouth. Workshops!”
Anne-Marie Charest, Ph.D., Peaceful Soul Transitions

“The best new patient is usually one that has been referred by an existing patient. With today’s high tech, patients can come from a variety of sources; networking groups, newspaper ads, joining groups, websites.” Santa Barbara Chiropractic Arts, Dr Steve Sherwin

“The smart ones hire out to find experts in marketing. Just like smart people in marketing hire out for medical expertise.  Almost all the rest are just guessing.” Mark Mehling, Take Control Marketing

“Blessed if I know!  I just have conversations with people, and find out what they need… and then direct them to my website, which has a number of short videos.” Dr. Kyre Adept

“Same way they did before. Word of mouth or today’s yellow pages (Google or Bing). There is also tremendous opportunity for doing ask and answer type content on Youtube and such outlets. Direct that traffic and for more details back to your website. The Website should have several points of contact and the booking or contact feature should be at least above and below the fold.” Jason Genet from Ingrained Media

“Having a strong website with an active web presence (Social Media, Blogs, Podcasts, etc) has slightly helped our practice. Although this is the question of the century. All young and seasoned practices always ask this question. “ Christina Gomes, Genesis Behavioral Health

READ MORE RESPONSES BY VISITING Alignable.com Q&A.

SUMMARY
This Answer wraps up the marketing issue well,
Thank You Turbo Medical Marketing:

“You have to acquire new patients always… word of mouth is a backend acquisition strategy and a bi-product of great service. However, relying on word of mouth is the same as waiting for the phone to ring. As the patient population continues to age… so will your referrals in many cases.

One problem I see a lot is that most marketers are trying to sell you an incomplete growth strategy.

They sell you “pieces” of “parts” of the actual full stack strategy you need; Social Media, SEO, Website Creation, etc… I  am not saying they are all evil and trying to trick you… yet, that is why this is such a problem; they are convinced that their piece of the puzzle is all you need to be successful. That simply isn’t true.

These tactics represent just pieces of an overall larger machine that must be coordinated successfully to work together in order to maximize the impact on your practice growth.

The first step is understanding your patient acquisition funnel and what role each part of the funnel plays in helping your practice grow.

EXAMPLE:

  1. Marketing = Front-end Traffic &  Lead Creation
  2. Sales = Lead Intake, Appointment conversion, Consultation Conversion, etc… (this is the most overlooked part of the practices I  work with)
  3. Fulfillment = Patient experience (this part is CRITICAL)
  4. Retention = Back-end Lead Creation (Repeat business, Cross-Sells, and Referrals)

Too many agencies and practices focus on the tactics rather than the strategy. At each segment of your patient acquisition funnel, you need to have a sound strategy, leveraging effective tactics, to ensure sustainable practice growth.

Clayton Joyner, CTO, VP Sales, VP Product Development, Turbo Medical Marketing

 

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