You’ve made the decision to become a concierge medical doctor. Because you are now much more selective about your patient base (i.e. those who subscribe to you), you’ll need to get the word out about your new practice.
You need to market.
The challenge, as identified by Alan Horowitz at “The Profitable Practice”, is to sign up enough patients to sustain this new model. Depending upon the size of the practice and your rate of conversion, the number of patients you must attract will vary.
The more patients who can find you, the faster the transition.
Before you get started with your marketing campaign, you must answer these 3 simple questions:
- What do you do?
- What makes you better?
- Who are you?
Provide Value (What you do)
With concierge medicine, you’ll need to provide value over and above the usual diagnosis, education and treatment of disease. Treating disease is now expected. What you do in addition to playing doctor is your value.
What do you do to provide value to your patients to merit the added expense of the concierge annual membership?
Do you have flexible office hours, more timely appointments, availability of doctors, have more specialists? How about faster and guaranteed call back times, etc.? Are you networked with other concierge practices locally? nationally?
Part of marketing is understanding your patients’ needs. Fulfill their needs and you’ll be providing value.
Branding (How you are better)
Branding is simply your reputation. Your practice has a reputation for something. Is it quality care, service with a smile, clean and comfortable waiting rooms, computerized medical records, the best staff?
However you distinguish yourself from your competition is your brand, or your reputation.
Transparency (Who you are)
More than ever, your new patients will require you exhibit some personal transparency. While not exactly your bedside manner, personal transparency does involve revealing a bit of your personality.
Patients are looking for people who are doctors. Are you willing to share who you are as a person?
Transparency can also mean your approach to medicine and your new practice…and you should be willing to discuss.
How to Market Your Concierge Practice
1. External Marketing: You must have a website. Critical to the success of your marketing plans is the presence of an up-to-date, relevant website. It should contain enough information so that a prospective patient can find your answers the the 3 questions above. If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.
The About Us page should answer the questions about the goal of the practice and how you are different than other similar practices. The “About Me” page should be more personal, listing a few of your achievements, but also likes, dislikes and hobbies.
Your website will serve as both a reference and powerful marketing tool once it starts to rank with Google, Bing and Yahoo.
2. Internal Marketing: Take advantage of patients already familiar with you. Email and/or hard-paper newsletters are great way to internally market your new changes. Communicate to your existing patients how your practice will be changing. Keep them up to date, they may not sign on immediately, may never, but may likely tell someone else!
3. Maintain Communication - This should be a gradual but continual process. Implementing your new communication and marketing strategy won’t happen over night. Your goal should be to slowly transition your practice from traditional to concierge.
Keep your website fresh with new information about the practice so that a prospective patient doesn’t really need to interview…they just have to read. Offer the chance to subscribe to your website and newsletter with a subscription box. This “opt-in” keeps them interested in your practice news.
Make your newsletters relevant and consistent. Keep your existing patients and email subscribers current with news and events of the office.
You’ll maintain the website for those searching for you on Google and you’ll maintain the newsletter for those who already know you.
To your success!
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization