Independent physicians who launch or transition to direct primary care (DPC) practices may bring existing patients with them but may also need to market their practices to potential new patients so they can grow their businesses. With DPC, the physician needs to promote the practice and will probably also need to provide a little education and reassurance as to the DPC model itself in order to attract new patients.
The first step in marketing a DPC practice is to build a compelling and informative website. The website provides the online presence that can help the DPC practice build credibility and provide information in an accessible format. In particular, a well-designed and responsive website will help the practice stand out from the crowd.
In addition, there are a number of other marketing strategies that can benefit the DPC practice:
- Patient referrals. Happy patients are the best marketing tool for a DPC. Word-of-mouth referrals made by current patients emphasize their satisfaction not only with the DPC model but with the specific DPC practice.
- Blogging. Educational blogs posted on the practice website can provide information and answer questions potential patients may have about the way the DPC practice operates. Blogs may also cover, at a high level, health issues that may be of particular concern in the practice’s geographic area or for a particular demographic. For example, a blog post could discuss the general symptoms of Lyme disease if the practice is located in an area known for ticks.
- Social media posts. Posting timely, relevant content is one way to bring exposure to the DPC practice. When initiating any sort of online communication where patient information may be at risk, physicians should, of course, carefully avoid any HIPAA violations.
- Community involvement. The practice may sponsor a community event or a local youth sports team or volunteer for a non-profit organization, to gain exposure and to give back to the community. The key to this strategy is to be sincere about a desire to give, rather than overt about using it as a marketing strategy.
- Reviews. Encourage satisfied patients to post reviews on sites that potential patients may visit for information about the practice and its “ratings.”