When I mention that I market for a living, I can literally almost watch a slight cringe come over most people as if I am an infectious disease tasked with the destruction of human kind. I would not consider myself the typical salesperson, the rules of the game have changed exponentially, with the introduction of internet marketing. The basic principles of marketing (be it internet-based or face-to-face interaction) are the same as they have always been, building relationships and merchandising the services rendered at a location source.
I am aware that the current argument being made by some practice owners, is that they feel with the internet there can be the elimination of marketing staff. True, you can google ad-word yourself to death and probably rack in some patient cliental, but are you truly building a bridge into your community? I pride myself on the relationships I have established and I am here to tell you, though face-to-face marketing is a horse of a different color, even having a part-time marketing agent to establish a name with a face effort is ultimately effective.
I would attribute my recent successes to the fact that I work more on an unconventional level pushing the community service efforts of my clinic. I.E. Free sports/schools physicals, sponsoring local non-profit events, and other efforts like offering free transportation for our patients. Anyone can walk in and go over the same old routine, what the clinic offers in the form of specialties, contracted insurance, cash pay rates etc. but in truth I have found that when you approach marketing from a different avenue you open many more doorsfor both yourself and your clinic.
That being said, I do not down play the abilities of the clinic. After all, this is what has prompted my visit or call in the first place. However, I do not really feel like I need to sell people on our services, in my opinion, those speak for themselves and we have designed all our specialties, electives, and treatment plans to work conservatively with each other. When the dust settles and the air clears, at the end of the day it comes down to utilizing the resources available to you and using them to help people.
It is easy to advocate for something you believe in, especially when you know it works! For me personally, I am telling people about services that I have seen work and create amazing outcomes for patients. I am very passionate about helping people and this definitely comes through in my delivery, thus creating a type of “influence”. When investing in someone to campaign for your clinic make sure they share the same ideals, principles, and direction as the mission statement for your clinic. They must be able to be quick on their toes and not afraid to think outside of the box!
You may be asking yourself, how do you know having a marketing agent is the right way to go? Well, the honest answer is, I don’t know! But I can however tell you that since I have taken over marketing we have had no cuts in hours, employees, and no shortage of patients. Statistically, what was once our “slow” months have now become extremely busy. No, I do not accredit this to my ad vocation for the clinic, I can open the door but without the exceptional service of the clinicians it would not matter. The point is, we all work together like a well-oiled machine. Obviously, this model may not work for every clinic across the board and I know some owners that firmly do NOT believe in marketing, almost to an attests. Your demographic may work a little differently and I understand the wave of the future is in technology.
Another product of modern times and advertisement -- social media. This is launching the marketing platform into all new heights! It is reaching new patient audiences at a broader rate and able to create interaction in the behind the scenes areas, live chat options and so much more! I use some form of social media to attract a target audience, so far for me it has proven remotely successful. I still recruit about half of our patient base through physician referrals. With the future comes change and I am prepared to morph into the next phase of my marketing campaign!
Consider where you are in your clinic, where you want to go and the vehicle that can get you there. Sometimes, it’s introducing a new service to spark the attention of the community. Sometimes, it’s the efforts you make to help that community, and sometimes it’s the people in your business that help propel you forward.
Community Liaison, Hohman Rehab and Sports Therapy