Build Your Practice in 2013-2014

Today, healthcare practices face many new challenges. Reimbursements are declining. Competition for patients has become more intense. Healthcare reform has raised everyone’s anxiety. You’re probably working more and earning less. And the dramatic growth in online patient reviews could threaten your reputation and your ability to attract new patients. If any of this applies to you and
your practice, there is one question you must ask yourself:
What are you going to do about it? More precisely…

How will this year be different?

One axiom we know to be true is that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. We know that to be true because we’ve been working with people and practices since 1979. We have provided proven marketing guidance to over 15,000 practitioners in virtually all healthcare specialties. A Practice Builders consultation starts with personal interviews with a seasoned marketing consultant. After an in-depth analysis of your practice that reveals what you want to accomplish, where your practice is now and what your needs are, your marketing consultant will develop a customized solution that fits your unique situation. This is not cookie-cutter, “one-sizefits-all” marketing. It’s exactly what you need to prosper in today’s evolving healthcare environment. As part of this analysis, you will also receive a complete analysis of your website and a customer service evaluation that tells you just how well your office staff is converting new-patient phone inquiries.

Which of these issues affect you?

  • You want to protect your online reputation and stimulate positive patient reviews so you can attract more of the patients and cases you want.
  • You want to attract a better mix of patients. Many of our clients have confused being busy with being successful.
  • You want to protect what you’ve built. You’ve worked hard, built up your practice and now you need to support what you’ve worked so hard to create.
  • You want to spend more time with your family. One of your great frustrations may be trying to achieve that elusive balance of work and family.
  • You want to establish a new lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve change in your life.
  • You want to provide for your retirement. In addition to being a healthcare professional, you are are also a business owner, responsible for your own retirement plan.
  • You want to give back to the community-or the world. You have a strong sense of duty and want to use your abilities to help those in need.
  • You’ve got more competition than before. Fight competition and establish a reputation that would discourage potential competitors.
  • You want to reduce your reliance on low-paying sources. Regain control of your practice and your time with better-paying services.

Whatever the reasons, you need to do something today if you want to thrive tomorrow. Other practices much like yours are taking steps to grow and protect what they’ve built. From thousands of client practices, we’ve boiled down the ten essential elements; the ten things you need to know to succeed.

Here are the top ten secrets to growing your practice ethically and effectively:

Successful practice marketing during uncertain economic times.

When future economic prospects are less than encouraging, you may rethink your marketing budget-and begin sharpening your pencil. But economic ups and downs offer you great opportunities: Your fearful competitors typically cut back on their marketing and leave the entire field to you. Your fearful competitors are, in effect, handing you their market share – and plenty of new patients – on a silver platter. Savvy businesses and practices actually beef up their marketing during slower economic times. Do this, and grab large chunks of market share, multiply your patient base and add extra profit to your bottom line much faster than you think. Still want to cut costs? Talk to your suppliers. In down times, everything is cheaper. You’ll get better deals on things that were previously too expensive. And remember to tell potential patients about all the benefits they’ll gain from your new services or technology. Move ahead while your competitors are cutting back, and you’ll never need to dread a recession again.

9. You are sitting on a gold mine!

Your gold mine is your existing patient base. Marketing to your existing base is usually easier, less expensive and more likely to achieve greater and faster results than so-called “external” marketing because patients already know you. They are already predisposed to purchasing products and services from you. Successful practices know that keeping in touch with their current patients will reap dividends such as repeat visits and referrals for years to come.

8. People make decisions emotionally-but justify rationally.

People buy what they WANT, not what they NEED. No one needs a Rolex watch, for example, yet Rolex is able to sell all the $15,000 watches it can make. By the same token, your prospect’s perception of you and your practice will be based on emotional factors, not rational ones. Think about your last car purchase. In all likelihood, you wanted it, so you bought it. And in all likelihood, you bought it from a particular salesperson because he or she treated you well. In marketing your practice, that means you must look beyond your education, years of experience and up-to-date training or technology. You must look at the elements of your practice you probably consider “the little things” Treating patients well, thanking them for coming in, maintaining a comfortable office and not keeping patients waiting are all BIG things to patients. Things that will trigger an emotional reaction to engage and recommend your services.

7. Your front office staff will be critical to your success.

Your staff is critical anyway. But people who respond to your marketing are not sure about you, and they’ve have a healthy skepticism about advertising claims. A good staff reinforces the positive impression you are trying to make. The best advice here is to make sure your staff knows that you are marketing and make sure they know who is likely to be calling and why. If you have an offer (e.g., free consultation), make sure your staff knows what is included, when it expires and has practiced fielding the most commonly asked questions.

6. Handle patients from marketing differently than referred patients.

Here is an illustration of how critical your staff is. Your staff needs to understand what you are doing and why. YOU have to understand what you are doing and why. Your new patients do not know you – so it’s up to you to earn their trust. You will have to be more patient and answer more questions.

5. People judge what they can’t see by what they can see.

Think about your favorite restaurant.. You like the food, the service and the atmosphere. But you can’t see the kitchen. Based on what you can see, however, you’ve determined that the kitchen must be fine. That restaurant has done a good job of marketing because even though they have not shown you the most important part of their operation-their kitchen-they’ve convinced you that it is just fine. In that restaurant, you have judged what you can’t see based on what you CAN see. Patients will judge your practice the same way.

4. Marketing is a revenue center.

If you are inexperienced in marketing, it’s easy to think of it as an expense, just as your accountant would. But reducing or eliminating marketing often reduces or eliminates business and revenue. It’s like cutting off your oxygen and then wondering why you can’t breathe. The fact is, a properly designed, executed and tracked marketing plan will produce a significant return on your investment.

3. Marketing is an all-the-time thing.

Most healthcare practices use what we call “spaghetti marketing” Spaghetti marketing is randomly trying different things in the hope that something will work. If it doesn’t, the practice owner is back in the marketing kitchen throwing more spaghetti against the wall. This is inconsistent marketing, which is almost always disappointing. What successful marketers know is that marketing is no more optional than paying the rent. It is NOT a random activity.

2. Internet marketing is more than simply creating a website.

Having a website is no longer optional. But once your website is up and running, you have to get people to visit it. You’ll need effective search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to make it work. For a truly integrated Internet presence, you’ll also need an e-newsletter, social media and perhaps even a blog-all synchronized for maximum effect. Otherwise, you’re resting on one leg of a three-legged stool. And that’s not very comfortable.

1. It’s never just one thing.

At Practice Builders, we attract our clients from a variety of sources; 12 at last count. Those include direct mail, our website, e-mail blasts and newsletter campaigns, conferences, hosted events and more. Not all of these marketing channels deliver the same return on our investment (ROI), but collectively, they have helped us stay in business since 1979. That’s because our marketing is planned and executed in a strategic fashion. We would no sooner eliminate a marketing channel because it was delivering a lower return than we would throw the spare tire out of our car because we never use it. Successful marketing is about layering strategies and the integration of different messages to achieve maximum performance. Take away everything except the top ROI producer and, as strange as it sounds, your return on investment will plummet.

Thank you for requesting this report. If you have any questions, please call us at 800.679.1200. Or, to start filling your
appointment book with the cases you want now, start by creating the right plan.

In this report, we’ve presented just a few of the myriad strategies Practice Builders has tested and perfected since 1979. But before you jump right in and implement these ideas in your practice, be aware that the true key to successfully using these strategies is having a written plan that is designed around your practice-with strategies that truly meet your needs. The first thing you need to do is evaluate your practice, determine whom you are trying to reach and develop a cohesive plan based on your objectives. Practice Builders’ Strategic Marketing Workshop™ or House Call onsite consultation to your practice are ideal ways to get the custom-designed growth and marketing plan you need to build your practice. Both provide you with a multitude of proven ideas, tactics and strategies in addition to a 12-month step-by-step plan built around your exclusive practice needs. Workshops are offered more than 60 times a year at locations across North America. For more information on workshops, house calls and other marketing services from Practice Builders, please call us at 800.679.1200.

See how our clients grow their practice with PracticeBuilders.