Feet are the foundation to the body, so it makes sense to take steps to build the groundwork of a successful practice. But which is this right path for you? If traditional advertising has not gotten your practice where you want it to be, it is time to expand your marketing plan. In the age of the Internet, changing healthcare, and patients who are learning to advocate on their own behalf, you want to be on the forefront of their brain when they think about their podiatric needs.
If a patient is given a list of healthcare providers, why are they going to choose you over the other guy? Whatever your response is, you need to put that answer in front of everyone you can. In order to do that, you need to change the way you think about promotion. This begins with developing a strong marketing plan that includes: establishing your brand, developing high visibility, and developing your referral network.
The beginning to any successful practice is branding. In order to build your brand, you need to establish who you are and what you’re all about. Do you specialize in Podiatric Rheumatology or reconstructive foot and ankle surgery? There are also those with athletic injuries, structural deformities, and diabetic needs that require your services. Each of these is a market that is looking for a provider that can help them with their particular problem. Once you establish what problem you are a solution to, it is time to make it known.
You need to be as visible as possible. First impressions come from whatever information a person can easily find on your practice. If you typed the name of your practice into Google, what would you find? How about your type of practice and the town you are located in? In order to rank higher in search engines, you not only need to have an online presence but your marketing plans needs to include a strong search engine optimization strategy. Your website, Facebook page, and internet reviews all reflect upon your practice. If you do not make time to focus on these tools, your site’s ranking will drop. Having a highly visible practice is the next step toward increasing referrals.
Most importantly, you need to focus on your referral network. Networking is vital in any industry, but healthcare referral marketing is a whole different ball game. Now that you have built your visibility and established credibility, you want to establish a connection to other healthcare providers. Reaching out to other providers requires time, effort, and constant nurturing of those relationships, but more often than not physicians are too busy with the day-to-day activities of their business to focus on these connections and develop rapport. Establishing a physician liaison to represent your practice allows you to continue focusing on your patients while still cultivating connections to other potential referral physicians.
Successful marketing for your podiatry practice requires dedication to your connections, credibility and visibility. As you develop your online presence and reputation, don’t forget to nurture the relationships between you and your patients as well as your fellow providers.