1. Stop Wasting Money on Broad Advertising
Billboards. Newspaper ads. Magazine ads.
They all have one thing in common- they are largely ignored.
A recent study showed that only about 20% of Americans under the age of 65 read a printed newspaper each day, while the other 80% utilize a smart phone or tablet for news.
Furthermore, traditional news outlets are being replaced by social media and aggregated news sites.
Many practices spend thousands of dollars every month hoping that their print ads fall into the laps of those who need their services.
In 2016, we prefer to know that the right audiences will see ads for your practice.
Using thousands of data points, we are now able to target digital advertising only to those whose behaviors and interests explicitly indicate that they are in need of orthopedic, spine or other surgical services.
We are able to do this by using the data gathered from internet search history, purchase behavior, income, locations, interests and thousands of other data points.
These targeted ads are then shown to users in their social news feeds and websites they visit.
These ads are far different from “banner ads” which have a click rate of less than 0.2%.
These ads appear as news content and create trust and legitimacy with the patient.
The ROI on this form of advertising is exponentially higher than print advertising.
Of all of the digital marketing efforts practices should be engaged in, the most important is Google Pay Per Click Advertising.
A well administered Google Adwords campaign can ensure that when patients in your target area are searching for orthopedic, spine or other surgical services, your practice is the first one they will see.
But, as with any medical marketing effort, the ROI can be extremely low if not administered correctly.
2. Stop Relying Solely on Physician Referrals
For the last several decades, many surgical consults came from referring Primary Care Physicians or Internists and, until recently, this was an effective system. However, in a recent survey, 52% of Hospital Executives said that they planned on acquiring referring practices (Internal Medicine, General Practice, Family Practice and Primary Care) into their health system.
Even more concerning is that 70% of independent physicians said they would be open to a hospital acquisition.
What this means for you is that if 25% of your referrals come from a single practice and that practice is acquired by a health system that you are not a part of- that 25% of patients disappears overnight.
How are you going to make up for that loss in volume?
Furthermore, the convenience and popularity of urgent care facilities has led to many patients to opt to be seen in these facilities for acute care, rather than their primary care provider.
This means that these entities are controlling more referrals than ever before.
Seeing urgent care centers as a part of the larger continuum of care, many larger health systems have begun partnering with urgent care centers, as well.
3. Stop Ignoring the Signs
The patient acquisition paradigm has changed substantially as patients are now more informed and more researched based.
In fact, almost 80% of patients find a specialist online.
If your practice does not have a well-targeted and diverse online marketing strategy, you are probably not seeing as many new patients as other practices.
One of the most common mistakes practices make is continuing to utilize an outdated website that is not mobile responsive.
80% of all internet traffic now comes from a mobile device or tablet.
So, if a patient can not navigate your website from their smartphone, they are not going to spend time pinching and zooming to read the text on your site.
They are simply going to find another website and another practice.
In an effort to ensure your practice continues to thrive, it is imperative to adapt and be aware of these changes and respond with an effective marketing strategy.
Βy Daniel Goldberg, Medical Marketing Blogs