Marketing Ideas

July 1, 2007

I just moved to a new office and want to announce my move as a marketing strategy. Do you have any specific recommendations as to the type and number of physicians to mail announcements to? Where do I find mailing addresses? Finally, I am bilingual (Spanish), and that is one more consideration.

Question: I just moved to a new office and want to announce my move as a marketing strategy. Do you have any specific recommendations as to the type and number of physicians to mail announcements to? Where do I find mailing addresses? Finally, I am bilingual (Spanish), and that is one more consideration.

Answer: As to the type of physicians, you should target the specialties that refer to you now. I assume it is mostly primary care, including family practice, internal medicine, and maybe OB/GYN, depending on your particular clinical interests.

You also might want to target providers in more affluent neighborhoods to have a positive impact on your own payer mix. Or target neighborhoods with more Spanish-speaking patients (ideally from your own cultural background, assuming this applies).As far as numbers, industry-wide, the average response rate is around 3 percent. So, you’d want to have some sense of how many referral sources you want and target enough to get that from 2 percent to 3 percent of the total list.

We use the MMS mailing lists. We’ve also seen surprisingly good return from e-mails, though only using our own lists. The ones we’ve bought tend to be dated. You might want to track e-mails for future use if you don’t have a list already.

I would encourage you to think about developing a single brand for your practice. Are you accessible (location, language, and appointment availability)? The most skilled? What makes referring physicians consider you different or better? Make sure you carry out your brand promises in your clinic’s business practices (if you say you are accessible, you better plan to get those patients appointments right away). Even the colors and wording of your brochures should reflect your new space, and your documents, patient materials, and referral forms should likewise reflect your branding strategy.

Devote time and money to a professionally designed marketing piece, perhaps utilizing a format that echoes your brand promise. For example, if you promise easy access, design your piece in the shape of a key or put a Velcro button on the front of it.

Make sure the piece includes some way for you to know, when physicians call, that they are responding specifically to your brochure, and not as a result of word of mouth.

Also include a follow-up plan. Once you send the mailer, what’s the next step? A postcard? Phone calls to the top 25-50 targets? Lectures on depression at the local hospital? You decide what can get you the most bang for your buck.