Marketing does not have to be expensive or complicated. Regardless of what route you choose to implement in your practice, the best way to market yourself as a physicianis to provide excellent care and service to your patients.
To understand how marketing works and how it can help your practice, you begin by understanding patient choice. You can capture business by influencing a patient’s choice if they have a choice to make. When patients have a choice, they use a variety of factors including quality or proxy measures to help determine where and who will provide their dermatologic care. Outdated magazines in a waiting room may clue a patient into thinking skills are out of date. Cleanliness in an office can reinforce patient safety measures. Despite these perceptions, a dermatology practice’s reputation has to be backed up with real quality.
Your patients are the most powerful marketing tool you have, so focus your initial efforts on them.
If you treat them right, word-of-mouth recommendations can do more to build your practice than you could do on your own.
Marketing also begins with patient education to help others understand all the skills and services a dermatologist can provide. To get the message across about your full range of services, you can use any number of tools. Develop an online presence through Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube; use factsheets; air a segment on community cable television; or create take-away items like mugs, pens, or soaps that expose your practice and its logo. Expand your services by offering extended or more convenient hours. Or ask patients about what services you could add that are important to them.
When initially starting your practice, consider sending welcoming letters or investing in advertising to welcome others into your practice. Last but not least, “happy birthday” notes are small acts of kindness that show you really go the extra mile for patients. Appointment reminders are a must, not only to enhance office efficiency and production, but also as a marketing tool. Patients perceive your practice is more organized when it reminds them of their appointments, another quality measure.
Marketing influences a patient’s choice by showing the real value of a product or service that you offer at your derm practice. In today’s competitive market, dermatologists need to embrace marketing methods that other industries implement and should not be hesitant to do so.