Marketing Success by Clinicians is NOT for the Half-Hearted
Here’s an example of “what not to do”. How could the practice manager or physician owner’s look at this day in and day out? Maybe they're going out of businesses or just don't care? This unfortunate “half-hearted” marketing logo is seen by public passersby on a major avenue every day. Would you choose this practice as a patient? Join this practice as a provider? Buy this practice as an investor. Impressions matter! So, feel good, because your marketing and advertising is much better, regardless. The point, you know you are special, but consumers only know it but because you make yourself so, in their perception before the fact of experiencing your skill or kindness.
You have social media in your medical business, right? (if you don’t, I hope you’ll DM me, as that’s a whole different and fascinating discussion) How regularly do you re-visit to your media? Are you doing SWOT Analysis (assess Strengths and Weaknesses, identify Opportunities and mitigate Threats (to your project plan) to growth and success)?
I’ve spent a boatload in consulting fees in building my own marketing in the real estate space. It’s a big leap to realize and recover from the discovery that in the private medical sector, you are a “salesperson”. Skill in craft and impressive personhood are “draws” but still come up short in the duel for market share.
Please: Don't (over) buy social media services and then under execute. This is not “set it and forget it” lest, after ﬁrst pass results, you be “forgotten”. In the scope of your business development budget (being in a health plan network is not business development!) your strategy for ROI outcomes, are you effectively “in-sourcing” or “out-sourcing” to operate your social media platform? What percent of your client retention and growth do you attribute to your “media”. Do you benchmark against peers, national stats in the medical service sector, or small businesses across industries. Is your social media a scalpel, laser, or blunt instrument? POINT #1: Are you in the business of business development?
Standards: Don't use unoriginal content. This is a commodity and infers laziness. Repackaged content is hum-drum, and DIY-able by your consumer.
The Big Question: How much of your real person is in your business media. OMG, don’t be static - your customers want you, the real you, they want to relate to you! Whether it’s hobbies, art, sport, even family if you feel brave enough to push back on the neurosis of separating perceived med-mal liability from patient’s getting knowledge about your personal life and events.
Facebook and Instagram as relationship builders with your customers can’t really be avoided, and the brave will master this to their business development advantage. HIPAA as a neurotic inhibition that blocks “connecting and maintaining relationships” that can be managed (yes, more consultants may be needed, but this is a competitive space, so negotiate!) Consumers want their service vendors to “be real, like them”, a ﬁrst step in “building pre-service relationship trust”. Opt-in exercises, “likes” and feedback surveys are “out of ofﬁce, 24/7 “connects” that let your current clients and their sphere’s know that you are “engaging, sharing and open to strengthening the “teamwork of relationship.
Word of Caution: If your website is structured as tabs “About Us”, “Forms”, “Appointment Scheduler”, this format is so limply standard as to be inert, and suggests a lackluster, anemic, detached "plug and play disregard”. Even technical “ease of use” tools like on-demand dynamic scheduling and “bots” is “so last year”. If you’re paying for the above, bundled as a back end service offering, with your billing or answering service and that’s all your getting, you’re missing “relational” communication. Just like the messaging of the “half a heart” signage. You are a vendor, and consumers do indeed have choices! Compete on their terms!
Point #2. Your medical business is no different than any other business concerned about retention, attraction, lead generation.Your business is you and your business social media can become joyful as a wonderful escape from feeling like a health plan widget, or a Medicare/Medicaid “hump”. Social media as personal connection, can help recover you from the drudgery of the degrading forced role of “EMR jockey and data miner archivist”!
For sure, if you are in a competitive market, and you’re not thinking through these opportunities,, someone who does what you do, maybe not better, maybe with less pedigree or prestige, but with more focus on consumer engagement, will grab market share that could be yours. Face it, accept it, embrace it: the system has been telling you clearly for decades…you’re a commodity. So, be the highest overt value, consumer-oriented commodity possible!! Consumers are appropriately selﬁsh and want that value, in the broadest sense possible. On my ﬁrst day of medical practice 7.1.1989, I got a letter from an HMO addressed “Dear Vendor”, and I’ve been a vendor ever since!
I admire your fortitude and write in hopes of provoking thought and discourse. Better yet action!