Most health care providers who have a clinical practice, or any type of business where they rely on clients, will need to market in order to sustain and grow that practice and business. While knowing how to market is essential, it’s also just as valuable to know what you should not be doing when you are marketing. It goes without saying that that most common problem is just not marketing, but today let’s focus on the 5 of the most common marketing blunders I see health care providers make.
1. Religion and Politics: It’s often been said that religion and politics don’t mix with anything. I tend to agree. While we can all acknowledge that a persons faith does play a part in health, in most cases you are better off leaving these topics out of our marketing. When is it appropriate? If your business is specific to a certain group based on religion/faith, and these are the specific folks you are offering your services to, then feel free. Just be aware, that you’ll potentially lose patients that have other feelings.
2. Omitting Contact Information: Believe it or not, health care providers have created brochures – beautiful brochures – for their practice and omitted contact information from their marketing. Always check and double check all of your marketing materials to ensure you have the proper contact information clearly displayed.
3. About you! Health care consumers want to know about you, their health care provider. Anymore they don’t want to come into your office without knowing something about you first. Make sure you have a page on your website that tells something about you the health care provider as well as something about the practice itself (ie, health beliefs, mission, value statement, etc).
4. Drowning in brochures. When you call on another office or business to leave some of your marketing materials, be mindful of how much you are leaving behind. The office may not need/want that many and may be too shy to ask. Their patient population may not be ideal patients for your own practice. There can be any number of reasons. Be sensitive to their needs as well as your own.
5. Automation. Many practices utilize an auto attendant to answer their phone. While I understand the benefits of this for the practice (I love automation), it is also a very cold way to greet your patients at best, and at worse, can be seen as uncaring and downright hostile. The same goes with patients being place on terminal hold as if their time is not important. So while automation is important and often necessary for some practices, take care to minimize its use.
The one thing that is not listed here, but permeates this short list is poor customer service. For any practice, this is one of the most important marketing concepts to keep in mind. Poor customer service will definitely get people talking about your practice, but not in a good light. So if you do nothing else for the year, remember that excellent customer service, along with excellent clinical care will get people talking about you, raving about you and your practice. And when it comes down to it, that’s the most powerful marketing of all.
Do you have marketing blunders to share? Feel free to share with us.
© 2012 Barbara C. Phillips, NP