My new office is now open and patients are starting to call! While word of mouth is the best way to attract patients (in my opinion), I'm still looking for marketing opportunities. Here are a few of the things I'm pursuing since I'm new to the community.
1: Speaking engagements: I had the opportunity to speak to patients about my approach to improving health (utilizing information gained from nutritional status, genetic analysis, and gut health testing). Patients are looking for new methods beyond allopathic treatment to become better with their specific conditions. After presenting this talk, I have had many phone calls and new patients scheduled.
I'm sure there are many opportunities in your community where you can speak with the lay public about whatever topic pertinent to your practice. People are eager to hear from physicians about all manner of topics and no doubt this will result in more patients for your practice. This is especially good if you are changing the direction of your practice or offering a new service to patients.
2: Hyperlocal publication ads: This is a rapidly growing media phenomenon in which local communities have their own magazines. Residents offer photographs and even write articles (edited by the magazine staff). Advertising is usually placed beside a pertinent article, such as a vet clinic ad on the page about a local pet dog. This type of advertising is probably more effective than simply having an ad in your local paper since it targets specific locations and populations. The price for advertising can be a bit steep but this will get your information in front of the type of patients that you want to attract.
3: Join your local medical society: This is a terrific way to meet other physicians. Make sure that they know what your office does and you are taking new patients so that they will be able to refer appropriate patients to you.
4: Have professional brochures printed: it is amazing how far and wide these get distributed, especially considering we are in the electronic age! I have found that people really like to have something tangible to hold on to and pass along to others. Because what I am doing is quite different from most physicians, it is helpful to have it clearly laid out in brochures so that patients (and other physicians) can understand.
5: Social Media: I've said this before but get your website updated (even redesigned) and make sure your practice has a Facebook page at the very least. And keep the timely blogs and articles up to date. Think about how many times you search online for information on businesses. This is also another way for patients to share information about your practice.
I would be very interested in hearing what has worked for your practice with regards to marketing. Please share your experiences in the comments sections.