Direct Care Marketing 101
Effective marketing can differentiate a typical direct care practice from a successful one. What strategies and tactics can help bring in patients, especially when a practice is first starting.
“Your patients are your best marketers”
Leveraging word of mouth has been an immensely effective strategy for many successful direct care physicians. Even though the direct care model is known for selling itself, educating your patients about the benefits of direct care can help them serve as ambassadors for your practice. For a more structured way to encourage your patients to spread the word about your practice, you could create a patient referral campaign that incentivizes new referrals. Other partnerships, particularly those with employers, can also help you scale up your practice. An effective co-marketing campaign between partner organizations could yield a large return with a relatively small amount of resources.
The nice advantage to having a direct care practice is that you can actually solve problems during the day. Patients have time to speak to their doctors and have several of their issues collaboratively integrated and addressed. I don’t have the same restrictions that volume-based practices have placed on them. I get the opportunity to educate my patients.
Building a Website
Having an online presence through a personal website can help your practice build credibility and provide information in an accessible format. In particular, a well-designed and responsive website will help your practice stand out from the crowd. Here are some key elements your website should include:
• Contact page with location and hours of operation
• About Us page to tell your story
• Testimonials to showcase the care you provide
• Practice Blog to help attract new patients
• Services page to communicate what you offer
Once your practice has developed and designed a personalized site, you can utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to attract new patients by optimizing your site for specific search terms, or keywords prospective patients might be searching for. Here are some of the free website and SEO tools available to direct care physicians:
Using Social Media
Private practice physicians often consider whether or not a social media strategy could benefit them. It’s important to think about whether your practice has the resources and time needed to commit to such a strategy. Posting timely, relevant content is one way to bring exposure to your practice in the short-term. A more long-term strategy would consist of community building, first defining an audience and devising a strategic plan to engage with this audience over time.
When initiating any sort of online communication where patient information may be at risk, physicians should carefully avoid any HIPAA violations. Sensitive situations include posting images of patients without their consent, compromising patient confidentiality by posting identifying information, and communicating with patients via a social media platform.
Several other marketing tactics could be pursued as part of a larger marketing campaign. Traditional marketing methods such as printed brochures and fliers can inform prospective patients. Publicity via sponsorships, media outreach, or advertising could also be potent for a new direct care practice. Finally, getting on physician listing sites will help patients looking for a new doctor find your practice.