Read Jane Braithwaite’s first article ‘Be more attractive’ as part of the ‘Top Tips for Busy Doctors’ series published in the September issue of the Independent Practitioner Today …
Be More Attractive
How to attract more patients is a key concern for doctors starting out in private practice and for those with established practices who want to increase the frequency of their practice sessions.
Marketing is essential to the success of any business, including private medicine. While unfamiliar to many doctors, it does not have to be complex or time-consuming. Therefore here are some effective strategies to help promote your business and ensure you are more attractive to your patients.
The most effective way to expand your practice is through word of mouth and via existing patients, friends and family.
Are your patients familiar with the full range of services you offer? Are they aware you are actively aiming to expand your practice?
Contented patients will automatically act as ambassadors and refer you to their friends and colleagues. It is also a good strategy to maximise communication with your colleagues – including GPs and specialist consultants.
Traditional marketing methods
With current focus firmly on the innovative world of digital marketing, it is easy to overlook tried and tested methods of promoting your practice.
A brochure or simple flyer is a cost-effective marketing tool. It can be handed directly to patients and potential referees or simply displayed in your waiting room.
Articles in relevant publications will enhance your reputation. Paper newsletters are another potent tool for marketing your practice; there are many available options once you start thinking creatively.
Check your online profile
Google your name and see what you find, because prospective patients will do this before they book their first appointment. It is vital to take control of your online presence.
Ideally, your website should be prioritised within any list of results. It is not necessary to pay for listings – there are numerous free directories featuring private doctors in London. You should ensure your details are listed accurately and updated on each one of them.
You may get mentioned on websites such as Mumsnet. While you cannot control this, you can engage with the process positively.
It is often the first port of call for potential patients and a vital component in promoting your unique expertise and services.
Fundamental technical components include 24-hour email contact and a well-designed, user-friendly interface, fully compatible with mobile device access.
Make it easy for potential patients. Your phone number and email need to be highly visible. Facilitate this with a one-click appointment process.
Blogs are a vital tool in promoting your business and communicating positively with patients.
Also frequent blogging is a highly effective way of reassuring prospective and existing patients and letting them know what to expect when they book an appointment.
By citing existing patients’ positive experiences, using real examples, you can ensure readers will have highly positive expectations.
Use social media to your advantage as part of your digital marketing strategy. Since it is a highly-effective way of driving patients to your website prior to booking an appointment.
By posting content related to your personality and practice, you can strategically attract more patients.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all relevant in this field. LinkedIn is primarily used to network with colleagues and patients; Facebook to interact with patients and to perfect and control your public profile.
Speaking at conferences
Most noteworthy, good speakers are continually in demand both nationally and globally. This could be an excellent opportunity to impart your expertise and expand your network.
Speaking commitments require careful planning, both leading up and afterwards. Focused research to establish the right event, location and correspondence procedures would be logical first steps. Allow plenty of time for this process.
With careful planning, a successful event can yield productive results and, ultimately, bring you more patients.
It does not have to be ambitious in scale; a well-planned social gathering can be very relevant – if you get the initial focus right.
Finally, think about your guest list, whether a small-scale occasion or a focused educational event with the aim of referring doctors. Allow plenty of time to choose the right venue and location, appropriate catering and, crucially, allow sufficient notice for your guests to plan their attendance.
In conclusion, authenticity is always a good strategy. So use the marketing tools you feel most comfortable with – but do not be afraid to branch out. Good luck.
If you would like to know more about Designated Medical can help with your medical marketing, then get in touch today.
Jane Braithwaite is Managing Director at Designated Medical and regularly contributes to the Independent Practitioner Today publication.
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