Attracting new patients to your practice can be a full-time job for a large practice and a part-time job for a small one. But it can’t be ignored or avoided in any size of practice if you wish to continue growing.
There are articles coming out now by marketing experts saying that while the Internet is opening whole new vistas for marketing, that landscape is getting a bit clogged in a lot of cases and so they are advising that we not neglect the more traditional methods of getting in contact with the potential new patients in your area and attracting them into your practice.
Obviously, your mission statement as to what you want to achieve with your practice and the kind of patients you would love to treat are going to influence to some degree where and how are you market to find those folks. However, here are some of the more traditional avenues for bringing more new business in your front door.
Deputize your patients
Many healthcare professionals are afraid or reluctant to ask their patients for referrals. Often this reluctance stems from the early days in practice when you really did need a LOT of new patients and it was okay to ask your patients to refer because they knew you were building and they were willing to help. Fast forward to the present, and there may be worry that if you ask a patient for a referral they will think you’re doing not well. Or so you think! It actually all depends on how you ask. There are many, many ways that you can just ask them outright if they have friends or family or neighbours or coworkers that they would consider referring to your practice. Don’t be shy … just smile and casually ask. Everyone on your team can also participate in doing this.
There are a lot of community activities in most areas that you and your team can get involved with. Providing prizes and awards or sponsoring participants can give you more exposure and lots of fun. Taking part in summer street festivals or having a float in a local parade are great ways to show that you are a definite member of the community! Distancing yourself from these relationships and activities can make you seem very standoffish.
Hold an Open House
These can be a great deal of fun and at the same time, you can raise money for a local charity that will make a difference in your community. You can often get the local radio or TV station or the local news media to come and cover your open house. Be sure to let the whole community know that you are having one. It is a great chance for folks in the area to come in and meet you without having committed to a new patient exam yet.
Your Front Window
If your practice is located on the ground floor and you have a front window, this should be used to communicate who you are. If it is cluttered with too many words and messages or you have dying plants in the window, you may find your practice being avoided. On the other hand, if it has an attractive message and an upscale look, you will appeal to the kind of patients who would be interested in what you have to offer. Look at storefronts all around your area and see what attracts you about them and make notes. Use these ideas to revamp your own window.
Spread the Word through Media
Many mosques, churches, temples and synagogues have hardcopy newsletters that go out to their parishioners or members. These require funding, and for a small donation, you may be able to have a small advertisement in it. Or perhaps you could write a very short tip for your profession that the general public should know. There are also local radio stations where you can be a guest speaker and there are newspapers locally that you can write a guest column for. You are an expert as a professional and know things that the general public do not and should. So don’t be shy!
Social Media, Websites and Facebook
None of the suggestions above negate the need to maximize your exposure on the Internet in appropriate ways so that new patients can find you. Just don’t neglect the other traditional ways.