New patient acquisition is essential to the health and longevity of any healthcare practice, which it’s why it’s imperative to perfect the patient acquisition process. One mistake that medical practices often make is marketing too broadly instead of determining the best audience to target. You can’t be everything for everyone, so evaluating your practice’s specific niche will help you craft a strategy for reaching your ideal patients. Here are six steps that you can take to start bringing in more optimal patients using marketing techniques.
Step One: Determine Who Your Ideal Patient Is
The relationship between patient and doctor is much more intimate than the relationship between consumers and other businesses, and the process of market segmentation for your medical practice should reflect that. Go beyond the stereotypical questions about demographics and income levels and do a personal evaluation to determine who your ideal patients are. First, ask yourself what you are passionate about. Having a passionate practitioner is important to patients, and there may be a specific condition or area that you have unique insight into. Then, ask yourself who you want to treat. Just because you’re a physician that’s trained to treat all kinds of people doesn’t mean that you can’t have a preference in the type of patient you like to see. Patients seek empathy in their physicians, and you have more to offer to a group you feel more connected to.
Step Two: Figure Out What Those Patients Care About Most
Now that you’ve determined what and who you want to treat, it’s time to learn more about that target market. Understanding what is important to your potential patients will help you communicate how you can add value to their lives. For example, parents of young children may be more concerned with topics such as vaccination or keeping their kids healthy during flu season, whereas older women and men may be more concerned with cancer screenings or hormonal changes.
Step 3: Evaluate Where Your Patients Get Their Information
This step is important because even if you’ve determined who your ideal patient is any what they care about, you cannot start to reach them until you know what channels they are using to get their information. For example, you should not assume that older patients are not online, just as you shouldn’t assume that younger patients don’t value referrals and traditional marketing. In fact, new research shows that patients of all ages are increasingly using the Internet to find physicians and book appointments.
Step 4: Create Patient Personas
Creating a persona is essentially painting a picture of your ideal patient, and you can get as detailed as you like. Create a fictitious character with a name, picture, and profile. This may feel a little silly, but creating a detailed profile of your patient makes you go through the exercise of asking yourself questions about the patient and figuring out how to answer them. For instance, you might ask yourself, what is the persona’s current state of health, and what is their average healthcare experience? What factors are they considering when they are looking for a healthcare provider? Gathering detailed insight enables you to build and execute a more effective strategy to reach these patients.
Step 5: Determine Your Value Propositions and Key Messages
Every patient wants something different, and now that you’ve thoroughly analyzed your target patients, you are able to determine what they want most. Use this perspective to build your value propositions, or statements that assert the unique benefits you offer patients. Build these value propositions into your key messaging. Key messaging should take into account the tone of voice that your patients are most likely to respond to and the things about your practice that you want to reflect on most. For instance, you may offer weight-loss consultations, but it’s not a service that you particularly want to perform very often. Therefore, you should leave this out of your key messaging. The patients searching for that service will go somewhere else.
Step 6: Execute Your Strategy
Now that you have laid the groundwork for creating an effective marketing plan to target your ideal patients, it’s time to execute. Use your key messages to create marketing materials to distribute on the channels your patients are using. Update your website to put your key messaging front and center and make sure that all of the content you post on social media and send out via email and direct mail stays within the brand guidelines laid out in your marketing plan. The key to ensuring the effectiveness of any marketing plan is consistency and follow-through.
Do you want to get more effective with your patient-targeting tactics but don’t know where to start? Contact Creative8 for a free consultation! Our healthcare marketing experts will help you find your niche and start building meaningful connections with your future patients.