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Social marketing, search engine optimization, practice marketing' are all good, but 'here are three sure things to increase revenues at minimal cost.
My first columns for Physicians Practice back in 2011 were about practice marketing, and they got thousands of visitors.
After almost three years and more than 100 columns on all manner of more important issues for physicians, practice marketing has long been in my digital dustbin.
Maybe too long.
Being responsible for the management service organization for a rapidly growing physician's network, I get dozens of LinkedIn requests to "join my network" from practice marketers of every different stripe every month (social marketing alert).
They get access to me and a moment or two of my attention by virtue of a keyword or two and a click. Clever, cutting edge, industrious and, ultimately, a waste of time because what they are selling is what they have, not what I need.
What once was helpful is becoming increasingly harmful in an era of radical change. Practice marketers have, in general, failed to adapt to changing needs: your changing needs.
Now, here are my three absolutely, positively guaranteed physician practice marketing strategies. Note that my marketing pitch to get you to read this column had nothing to do with who I am, what I know, my credentials or my education or experience. Frankly, they're irrelevant, or a given.
You read on because of what I may do for you. What secrets I may share. What solutions I may have.
And that, my rapt reader, is the point. You and your staff are in the right place at the right time with the right audience every day you are in your practice. All you have to do is to send the right message.
Do these three things, and your practice will grow organically by patient referrals. Your brand will grow. Your reputation will soar and you will have taken a positive step into the future of healthcare and a full practice.
This process isn't free or easy because it requires transforming established preconceptions, traditions, practice culture, and your staff's sense of entitlement into commitment to quality, service, and higher efficiency. Further, it won't stroke your ego by seeing your name in lights, but will enrich your soul:
1. Welcome patients instead of accepting them;
2. Instill the understanding that every single person in your practice is there to serve the patients, and every smile, hand hold, communication of genuine concern and caring, follow-up call, card, and baby cuddle is equally important a patient's health, welfare, and outcome and family's comfort as the interventions that you prescribe. If your staff can't do this, there are plenty of government jobs out there; and,
3. Make the commitment to qualify for Patient-Centered Medical Home status and escalate meaningful use levels if you haven't already. This transformation is the future and resistance is futile. If you have already qualified, hit every mark every time. The commitment to quality and technology differentiates you from those who have not and your patients will know.
Lastly, even though it did not make the top three, make your practice a happy, healing place and it will do both for your patients.