Doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals spend years learning and passing intense exams to practice in their respective fields. Once the shingle has been hung, professional service providers face the challenge of attracting clients to their doors. All those years of medical education may not have included principles of business management or the value of professional marketing in driving business success.
For those starting out as independent practitioners who are looking for a fresh marketing approach, Ligon Marketing can offer you a few tips. We have worked with several types of professional medical practices, and have focused on both launching a private practice and expanding an established practice with new branding. We’ve assisted our clients in expanding clinic locations and patient volume, and we can do the same for you.
Do you have a logo or need one? A memorable and effective logo gives a strong visual impression of who you are. Establishing your brand is more than having a logo. It’s a process of reinforcing that image and concept of your business in all of your marketing materials.
In today’s market, your website is not just a marketing machine but an expected part of doing business. Your website should meet several goals:
- Attract new patients or referrals.
- Provide needed information and forms to existing patients.
- Serve as an educational resource related to your specialty, whether it’s dentistry, dermatology, or anything in between.
- Host a patient portal for communicating electronically to your patients, in compliance with HIPAA.
Developing a website is more than buying a domain name and following a DIY template. (Many professions have industry-specific template providers, but keep in mind that a template site looks like every other template-based site. Bottom line – yours won’t stand out.) As a professional, you need a professional site, managed by someone who can keep it visible in the digital sphere. That requires strong visuals, useful and well-written copy, and frequent content updates for search engine optimization (SEO). Design matters. Potential consumers want to see photos of you and your team, as part of building a relationship. They want to hear “your voice” in the content. Must-haves are:
- An attractive home page
- An About Us page, with photos and bios
- Contact information
- Services provided
Your site should also be mobile-responsive, as today’s audience relies more and more on their smart phones. They should be able to find key information from your website quickly and easily on their phones.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Facebook and Instagram have become required for most providers, as well. Your medical or dental practice’s visibility depends on active engagement, which is difficult for most busy practices to handle alone. These platforms drive potential patients to your website and ultimately, to your door. Ligon Marketing manages content posting and scheduling for most of our clients, and we can help you, too.
In addition, your staff members are probably active on social media. It’s vital for health-related professionals to have a strong policy for employees in their online activities as they relate to your business reputation. This policy should address HIPAA compliance, as well as professional behavior, while respecting the team’s free speech rights. We have experience with this, too.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) AND REFERRAL NETWORKS
Most professional practices depend on and benefit from strong referral relationships with other businesses, practices, and professionals. Don’t overlook the opportunity to engage in networking and relationship-building opportunities. Not in your comfort zone? Ligon Marketing can coach you and your team on easy-to-implement strategies to increase your professional visibility.
Being treated well is a top priority for patient retention. Do you have standards for answering the phone, responding to questions and concerns, and handling billing or insurance problems? Does your team value and show respect for your patients the way you do? Our owner, Cora Ligon, has led customer-service training for numerous organizations, both in her own management roles and as a consultant. She can help you customize and implement training and policies if your office has a need.
Signs, business cards, forms, brochures, referral cards, prescription forms, patient packets….the list can seem endless. All these materials fill vital roles in a professional health-related practice. Each one represents your brand, and there is value in presenting a consistent look (logo, colors, type fonts, etc.). A professional marketing agency will ensure that consistency.
At Ligon Marketing, we’re not just marketers; we’re problem solvers. Our goal is to build long-term relationships with our clients, through listening, creating, implementing, and providing top-notch customer service. We’ve successfully helped other health-related practices grow, and we can use that expertise for you. (Of course, we’ll never compete with like-practices within a market area!) Give us a call today to explore your options!