Three Prescriptions for Selling Marketing Services to Doctors

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Aug 2, 2010

HealthcareHealthcare providers expect to boost marketing budgets 44% this year, according to a recent InfoTrends study titled Capturing the SMB Business Communications Services Opportunity. The average marketing/advertising spend in 2009 for the healthcare industry was $56,713, the study reports. One segment of the industry struggling with creating effective marketing programs are doctors. Treating patients leaves little time for prescribing creative marketing materials to acquire and retain patients. This represents an excellent opportunity for print and marketing service providers to deliver a course of treatment to heal anemic patient communication efforts.

Successfully targeting medical practices requires understanding of the patient communications lifecycle. InfoTrends analyzed the customer outreach programs used by doctors and uncovered three key prescriptions for boosting the patient base.

  1. Rx for new patients. Patient acquisition is an ongoing process that can be tricky for doctors if the right outreach tactics aren’t in place. In order to acquire new patients it is important to identify the target audience.  Once this is established, list providers such can provide information for contacting new patients. Many doctors also rely on referral programs to get the word out. It is important to send personalized messages to prospective patients to show them you are truly interested in establishing a patient/physician relationship.
  2. Rx for retaining patients. Once a patient is acquired, it is important to maintain a positive patient/physician relationship to ensure patient satisfaction. There are four key factors to consider: patient primary care, preventative screening, regular appointments, and wellness. Ongoing communication with patients relating to the key factors shows that the physician cares. Ongoing communications can be presented through both print and electronic mediums. Examples can include personalized direct mail (i.e., patient appointment reminders), special event notices, or newsletters. Many healthcare establishments are turning to practice management software (such as Lighthouse PLZ or  uAppoint) to help with ongoing patient communications. Practice management software is used to ease the workflow of appointment scheduling, office management, and routine patient communications.
  3. Rx for referrals. Referrals are a great way for doctor’s to obtain new patients, while also offering current patients a reward for participating. For example, a doctor could give a current patient a $50 credit towards their next visit for referring a new patient. Referrals can be in electronic and/or print form. Many doctors are using their website to direct current patients a form to fill out for referring their family and friends. Others doctors simply print a card with the referral information on it and pass it along to current patients to disburse.

Ongoing patient communications is a MUST in the medical field. The healthcare industry is still a major user of traditional print, but is gradually growing into the multi-channel communication space.  This presents a prime opportunity for print and marketing service providers to assist the healthcare industry with patient communications in print and electronic form.

For more detailed information on industry trends, opportunities for print and marketing service providers, and ways to approach the healthcare buyer, please visit the InfoTrends store to purchase the report entitled ‘Understanding the Healthcare Industry: Opportunities for Print and Marketing Services’.

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