The secret to getting it right in healthcare marketing and advertising is essentially two-fold.
Regardless of size, multi-location practices or individual practitioner, the challenges involve many constantly moving business and practice considerations.
One side of the coin is the application of professional experience to create an ethical healthcare marketing plan that attracts the patients and cases you want, extends your reputation and brand, and grows the profits of your clinic.
I know from experience in working with healthcare marketing clients throughout Australia and internationally that every situation requires a unique and proven approach to achieve closely defined marketing goals and objectives.
Healthcare practitioners and virtually everyone in the healthcare industry appreciates and respects the concept: “First, do no harm.” Translating that idea to the principles of marketing means and methods, the other side of the coin might mean: “Avoid the self-defeating mistakes that neutralise your careful plans and good intentions.”
It’s sound advice for healthcare practitioners embarking on marketing. Even the best of marketing and advertising efforts for your clinic can suddenly become a waste of time and money if you don’t recognise and avoid the harmful blunders.
Below is a list of some of the common-to-classic healthcare marketing and advertising mistakes that I have encountered over the years.
False assumptions make for non-starters…Anyone who has run a healthcare practice for any length of time can be prone to making false assumptions that undermine the purpose and objectives of an otherwise well-considered marketing plan. But if you’re not building on a sold base, the work that follows can easily sink or topple. You’re broken before you begin. Watch for, and avoid, these signals:
“I’ve been in practice 10 years and I know my type of patient.” You might be right; experience is a good thing. But, with due respect, the marketplace for healthcare services has changed dramatically in the past decade. Consider patient consumerism, the proliferation of the Internet, mobile devices and online advertising techniques, shifting community demographics, to name a few significant influences.
“Everyone knows me; patients and colleagues alike.” Recent or existing patients may have some insight about what you do or did for them. Your colleagues probably have a taste for your professional/clinical reputation. But, for the greater purpose of marketing outreach, your need is to reach people that don’t know you, or those who should know more about you.
“We don’t need to ‘do marketing.’” Sustaining organic growth registers between “wishful thinking” and “no one meant to lie to you.” Simply being a good practitioner does not guarantee practice growth or success. Everyone in business is doing marketing and/or advertising in some form; actual growth follows a deliberate plan.
“Our professional referrals come in automatically.” There’s no upside to taking your referral stream for granted, or for neglecting its value and importance. Consider your competition and also ask how badly would your clinic could be damaged if your life-blood stream of professional referral sources suddenly defected? If you have a good referral stream, the wiser assumption is that it’s a ripe target of opportunity for the competition.