How Doctors Can Take Control Of Their Practice Marketing

taking-control

Have you completely delegated your marketing to another person or group? Here are some practical ways you can take back some control and avoid embarrassment.

 

This restaurant is in a “Bermuda triangle” location for businesses in my city. At least three other restaurants have floundered and closed before this one got there.

marketing mistake restaurant sign

What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s barely been open for two months and the owners are already making embarrassing mistakes with their marketing and promotion.

As you can see, the word “starting” is misspelled in the sign promoting “Sumo lunch”, displayed prominently in front of the building (click the picture for a larger image).

I didn’t even show you the second, identically screwed up sign closer to the road.

Of course this is really an execution mistake – not a strategic mistake. A sign out front offering a lunch-related offer may bring customers in.

But now (if customers are paying attention), someone driving by may now form an unsavory image in their mind about this restaurant because of the misspelled word.

Who’s to blame here?

Is the sign company to blame?

How about the manager?

The guys who put it up?

How about the person who submitted the text of the sign to the sign printer?

Ultimately, the control of the business, and therefore the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the owner of the restaurant.

The physician’s dilemma

Even if you don’t own your practice outright, unless you do no promotion or marketing at all, someone is putting your name out there.

Someone is representing you in print, on a sign, even on a business card or on a wall in your office.

On the one hand, you cannot afford to let something as critical as marketing and promotion be handled by an outsider.

On the other, you are not omnipresent nor omnipotent, and cannot do everything yourself.

You must monitor and approve the ways your staff or consultants promote you and your work.

Most of us don’t have the time or energy to keep tabs on every bit of minutae required to market our practices. But there are easy places to start. Here are some ideas.

How to start monitoring and taking control of your medical practice marketing

Ask yourself, “What do I have the most control over? What is the most personal marketing message I display to patients?”

One example is your business card. Make sure it contains every bit of useful information you can think of – name, specialty, website, Facebook Page, what you treat, etc.

If you’re in a large group, scrutinize your biography page on your website. Do you like the picture, the description of your practice? Does it need an update? How about adding some links to relevant educational resources along with basic bio information?

Find out what other communication your practice sends out to potential patients or to referring physicians. Is it accurate? Are names and text spelled correctly? Does it present a professional image of your practice?

Drive by your own office, taking a patient’s perspective. Is the sign easy to read? Is everything easy to find? Are bushes and trees grown up around signs?

Similarly, “drive by” your website, again with the patient’s viewpoint in mind. Is it easy to find directions to the office, find the clinic phone number, or set up an appointment?

A prediction

If you’re like me, you’ll never do these things, never check up on how potential and current patients see your office, unless you make it a habit.

Set appointments on your calendar three, six months apart to spend five or ten minutes checking on three or four specific items.

Make it a habit.

Schedule it just like a patient appointment.

You have the most to lose by a potentially sumo-wrestler-sized marketing mistake.

Take the initiative to start monitoring these things in your practice.

The secret to marketing and practice promotion

If you’re a subscriber to my email list, you have access to the email newsletter archives.

Getting the most out of your practice involves developing good marketing and promotion habits. Doing marketing in spurts and fits will turn you into one of those anti-promotion doctors – self-destructive in this economy.

Review those emails where I describe practical and easy ways of habitually marketing and promoting your practice.

Can’t find them? Send me an email for instructions on how to find “the habit email series”.

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Dog photo credit: giantphoto on Flickr

 

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Comments

  1. Jessica Frankenhoff says

    How about the fact that the restaurant looks deserted and they took the picture on what looks to be a cold, cloudy day? They could have throw a few “patrons” (read relatives) in the picture….maybe a car or two…to make it look more inviting/popular.

    • Noel says

      Jessica – thanks for commenting!

      Actually, I took this picture early in the morning as I was driving by and did a double take looking at the sign.

      I haven’t checked to make sure they’ve changed the sign.

      Interestingly, the restaurant is getting good reviews online and on Facebook, so sometimes an excellent product can succeed despite promotion mishaps!

      Noel

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