Regardless of the type of business you are in – you need clients/patients. The biggest challenge of opening a new practice can be getting those new patients. In other words, you may be the best at what you do, but no one will find out if they don’t know you are there.
Over the years, I’ve heard many suggestions for marketing a business as well as a health care practice. Here are a few of them:
Speak to local community organization
Advertise in the yellow pages
Get on a radio show
Send out notices to other practices, providers.
Notify large employers that you are open.
If you have current patients, and it’s not against whatever contract you may have signed, let your patients know where you will be going.
Take out newspaper ads
Join your chamber of commerce
Word of mouth
Because I started my practice on a shoestring, my marketing budget was not huge. So with the exception of a few marketing techniques, many of these are low cost. Here’s what I did.
I sent out letter to all medical providers to let them know we were opening. I also sent personal letters to the hospital discharge planners and to the emergency room.
Notices were mailed to all the pharmacies, DME companies, oxygen suppliers and assisted living facilities.
I attended a community meeting regarding the closure a large clinic in town. This in turn brought my practice to the attention of the local DSHS office, senior groups, and those discharge planners.
Since I was working in a local office, I started letting patients know I was leaving. I did not have a non-compete, therefore I was free to open my office in any town. Those that were interested were told where I was going and to watch the paper for further details.
Newspaper Advertising. Our timing was good, as our local daily newspaper was putting out a little booklet entitled “Health on the Harbor”, which we could be listed in. We also took out some ads to announce our opening.
Our timing was good for the phone book as well. One called “The Yellow Book” as superb to work with. We had excellent ad placement and that book came out within a month of us opening. For us, it was an excellent investment. The regular “yellow pages” came out just recently, and it’s been okay, but nothing like the first one.
Insurance companies. Believe it or not, we get lots of people because of their insurance company, and because we are open to new patients (so they come by default).
Our slogan is “We Listen…We Care”. More people have told me they came because of that phrase in our ads, on our business cards, and on our webpage.
Word of Mouth. We all know how powerful social validation is – and this is exactly what word of mouth is. It truly is the single most powerful marketing tool you have. My patients often take extra business cards with them to hand them out. This is where I put most of my energy.
The result of all this was good. While many new practices have zero to one patient on their first open day, we opened with eight, and we’ve continued to grow since then. And as we all know, marketing never stops.