New patients are the lifeblood of any healthcare practice. However, for consumers, choosing a new doctor or dentist can be an overwhelming experience. Patients want to feel like they’re in good hands. But because quality of service cannot be gauged until after a visit to your office, effective advertising must demonstrate the value of your practice before they ever walk through your doors.
Because many small healthcare practices have limited budgets, you may not be left with much cash for advertising. That’s why investing in the right techniques is important. Let’s review
Stay Active in Your Community
Healthcare organizations often play an integral role within a community, as they keep a city’s population healthy and happy. Partnering with local businesses that are related to your industry—but not direct competitors—can increase awareness, reach a niche audience, and provide your small business with a new source of prospects.
Depending on your specialty, you may be able to leverage co-marketing strategies to offer specific programs relevant to a partner’s business. From fitness and wellness programs to expecting mother classes, directly engaging with local businesses is a great way to reach new prospects with relevant interests.
You could even invest in having a local presence at sporting games and like-minded health- and wellness-related fairs. Aside from investing in event materials (i.e., tents, resources, and promotional swag), this is a straightforward, relatively inexpensive way to interact with your local community.
Get Social with Your Audience
Maintaining a Facebook or Instagram account is a free, albeit time-consuming, way to promote your practice. There are 3 core aspects to an organic social media strategy: plan, schedule, engage.
First, plan the content you’re going to post. Do you have fitness tips for the holiday season or maybe customer testimonials you want to share? Pick content that is relevant to your audience and helps them choose you as their healthcare provider. Second, schedule your content! There’s no sense in spending hours each day writing individual posts. Instead, take one day a week (or month) to sit down and schedule all your content at once.
Finally, keep an eye on your social pages for comments and shares after your scheduled posts go live. Social media should be just that; social! So engage with your audience when they engage with you.
Advertising on social media is another efficient way to reach new prospects. Pay-per-click (PPC) has emerged as the most popular technique for small businesses to target a specific audience to attract the right types of leads. Ads are shown within search engine results or on social media platforms. Your small healthcare practice will then pay an established fee each time an online user clicks these ads.
PPC is a great way to expand your reach to an audience that may never find you organically. However, while Google AdWords, Facebook, and Twitter have made it easier to advertise online, PPC requires some specific technical knowledge. More often than not, small businesses need to outsource these efforts to an expert – which can be costly. Ultimately, it’s important to review your objectives and outline a budget to ensure your investments are worth it.
Shopping Cart Advertising
One of the best, most cost-efficient ways to advertise small healthcare practices is through shopping cart advertising; a proven technique in which your message is placed on the baby seat portion of carts at your local grocery store.
While thousands of potential customers push their cart around the store, your brand is just inches from their fingertips. This kind of exposure -- one hour 2-3 times each week -- cements your practice’s name in their mind.
Plus, grocery stores are often seen as the hub of a community. Consumers trust them to provide food for their families, and extend that trust to small businesses the grocery store recommends.
Have you tried any of these advertising techniques? If so, what worked to grow your healthcare practice?
First Published: 12/14/2017 Updated: 11/28/2018