The Top 10 Strategies to Build Awareness of your practice

Why do some providers enjoy wildly successful practices while others struggle year in and year out ? Why do some practices do such a poor job of promoting their presence? Is it because they’ve been around for a while and just assume that everyone knows about them? Is it a money issue? Is it a knowledge issue?

The bottom line is this… the medical community can’t refer to you if they don’t know you exist… or more likely, remember you exist (key takeaway: staying top of mind is just as important as getting there in the first place).

So, to ensure that you become known and stay known, here are the top 10 ways to build awareness…

  1. Website: Everything starts with your website. It’s the first place a patient, or a patient’s family member, is likely to learn about your practice. It needs to be great! And it needs to show up when a prospect Googles relevant terms, so pay attention to Search Engine Optimization.
  2. Social media: There are two ways to build awareness on social media…
    • Activity: Lots of activity – just make sure all those posts and tweets deliver some kind of value to potential readers and are not trying to sell something.
    • Engagement: Social media marketing isn’t just about posting, it’s also about engagement… for example, starting or participating in a threaded conversation on a relevant topic inside of an on-line group. In addition to getting your name out there (i.e. building awareness), delivering good comments in the thread also positions you and you practice as a subject matter experts.
  3. Emails: Email marketing has been around for a long time… it’s cost-effective, measureable and gets results. Create and send a regularly-scheduled (start with monthly) e-newsletter that provides access to valuable information. Measure the “click through rate” each month to steadily improve your subject matter and patient interest.
  4. Networking: Nothing creates a connection with a prospective referral source quite like “pressing the flesh.” But like everything else, there’s a process, and you need to be respectful of others time…as well as your own.  Field marketing reps are an ideal complement to your networking strategy. Done right they can reinforce your message and relationship while keeping your practice name “top of mind” in a positive way.
  5. Writing: Sharing your knowledge – on your website or blog or in an industry publication or blog – is a great way to build awareness for you and your practice. Fresh, relevant content is also a key factor in SEO. And there are extra benefits… by presenting useful information, you position yourself and your practice as experts in the area you’re writing about.
  6. Speaking: Like writing (#5), public speaking is another proven way of building awareness for you and your practice… and that’s not all. Speaking has the added benefit of giving your listeners the opportunity to get to know you a little, to get a sense of your personality. And if the presentation is in-person (like at a “Lunch and Learn”), they also have the chance to meet with you before or afterward, further enhancing the get-to-know-you facet.
  7. Exhibiting: Exhibiting at a conference or community health fair is the only place in our industry where the potential patients come to you. Exhibit at the right events, have a compelling booth presence and you can build awareness across a large targeted groups of attendees – even with those who might not stop by your booth. Your marketing rep can help staff the booth but be sure to pick your conferences wisely for the best ROI.
  8. Advertising/listings: Advertising can have such a broad reach that it can help you connect with potential clients that might not have heard of you otherwise… or that you might never have heard of. But make sure you advertise in the vehicles (magazines, e-newsletters, websites, directories, etc.) used by your target market. I’m not referring to the Yellow Pages here as they have long lost their value to internet search engines. Instead, take that money from phone book advertising and spend it on your web site, your marketing rep, even direct e-mail marketing.
  9. Get involved: A somewhat different way of building awareness is to get involved with local support groups or even community associations. Volunteer your time to help with conferences, member education or publications. Not only will you get to know others leaders in that association, you’ll build a reputation as a ‘doer’ and someone who gives of themselves. You’ll also gain the added benefit of a little “insider information” on things happening in the association.
  10. Consider contracting with a part time marketing rep. Very few practices justify the cost of a full time employee for this job but most can justify the part time cost of a professional who drives referrals while managing and implementing many of the strategies outlined here.  This is a professional position, not one to be filled by inexperienced, low cost folks who seem nice and “should be able to do the job”.  Take the time to recruit a part time employee with the specific skills and experience outlined here. Done right this position will prove to be a valuable investment for your practice!

MGMA Mkt. Survey Results

I came upon a short yet recent survey on the MGMA web site where they were polling practice managers on “What works and what doesn’t” when it comes to marketing a practice.

They received a viable number of responses to qualify the survey results and the published answers gave an interesting insight into the state of marketing in today’s medical practice.

Note: Survey results came from a broad mix of Primary Care, Family Practice and assorted specialists.


1)      When asked: Do physician practices need to market their services more now than in the past…

81% said Yes     19% said No

2)      When asked: Have you increased your marketing, advertising budget over the past 5 years…

67% said Yes     33% said No

So…81% say they need to market more now than ever and yet 33% have not increased their budget over the past 5 years.

3)      When considering your top 3 marketing, advertising venues;

Which are the most expensive?

  • Sponsorship of events and charities
  • Yellow pages
  • Newspapers & Magazines

Which are the least beneficial?

  • Yellow pages
  • Sponsorship of events and charities
  • Health fairs

Which are the least expensive?

  • Social media
  • Health fairs
  • Speaking events by providers

Which are the most beneficial?

  • Social media
  • Speaking events by providers
  • Sponsorship of events and charities

It seems we cannot agree on sponsorship of events and charities as some see it as a most beneficial while others see it as least.   The “Take away” that I see from this is that social media and speaking events by providers appear to be the best return on investment for most practices!

Lastly the survey asked: What type of marketing, advertising venues do you currently use

64% still sponsor events and charities

43% still use yellow pages

17% invest in billboards

17% use radio

12% said TV

43% said newspaper advertising

31% noted magazine advertising


67% use special events

62% Social Media

55% speaking events by providers

55% Health fairs

19% use E mail marketing

Another take away from these survey results show that many of us get stuck in our old way of doing things despite knowing better. We’re still renewing the old yellow page ad, we’re still paying for that 3-color ad in the local community magazine, and we’re still supporting events and charities that don’t necessarily benefit us.

There are different ways to market general practitioners versus specialists but both would benefit by cutting their costs associated with the above highlighted venues while focusing their time and resources on speaking events, special events, social media and web presence.  A seasoned marketing rep from Practice-Reps can help you by contributing to your web site and Facebook page by keeping your content current for stronger SEO.  Your rep can create lunch and learns and other special events that strategically get you front of the right audience with the right message to build the relations needed to change referral patterns.

Stop doing the same old thing and getting the same old results.  Listen to your peers from MGMA and adjust your marketing venues and strategy for the best return on investment for your practice.

We know what works to grow a practice. Call us today, we can help.

Call 610-310-1621.

Lean Six Sigma on Referral Marketing

Alice Jarvis, PhD, is a lean six sigma management consultant who focuses on change management and continuous improvement for companies large and small here in the United States. ( Alice was recently working with a large ophthalmology practice in the Mid-Atlantic States when she called to see if we could be of help to her client. As a business consultant Alice believes in the social behavioral concept of building trust and relationships that lead to mutual support in the business world. Alice is accustomed to working with sales and marketing teams and she sees clearly the value we bring as field marketers for the medical practice. Alice offered her unsolicited recommendation of our firm to her client in the following text from her final report for the client

Endorsement by Alice Jarvis,PhD, Six Sigma management consultant:

Services“You do not depend on do-it-yourself web design or have a full time lawyer; you hire specialists in those fields. No one in the practice is trained as a sales person; this job should not be a do-it-yourself activity either. It is the foundation of maintaining and growing your profitability. It is not something that should be done without a strategy, sporadically, with ad-hoc activities, by amateurs.

Having physicians take time away from providing care and spending that time drumming up business is not a wise use of limited resources. Physician’s time is too valuable. They should spend as much time as possible providing care and generating revenue. A sales professional will know when a valuable activity such as presenting at professional meetings will be useful.

Pharmaceutical companies have proven the value of having drug reps call on physicians. Hospitals and other large medical organizations are now using full time practice reps who operate on the drug rep model. You do not have need for a full time sales rep so I strongly recommend using the services of a company that can provide this service.  A practice rep is the only viable route I can see for a dramatic growth in the number of new patients especially while you are putting stress on the relationships in the OD segment.

Practice Reps operates in this geographic area. I called them and Michael Ranson is your contact person:

Michael Ranson
Managing Partner
He would appreciate having an opportunity to present to you.

Practice Reps will charge you per sales call. There is no long-term contract and the service can be stopped or restarted at will. They are confident enough in their work and in the objective evidence of effectiveness that no long-term contract is necessary. Individual in-person calls by your sales rep will cost $__each and you will see a very high return on investment and a short pay-back time.

A sales rep will be assigned to represent you and only you in this catchment area.  They will use your business cards, and the referrers will see them as your representative, not an employee of Practice Reps.

Practice Reps’s claimed experience is that the typical specialty practice sees:

  • within 90 days, a significant increase in referrals from doctors who have already referred some patients. Within 180 days new practices will be sending.
  • within 12 months a 40% increase in referrals

Most Practices ask for 20-60 calls/month.  You can track the referrals you receive and easily monitor the return on your investment.”

Call today for a list of references from our past clients and to learn more about our approach to part time referral marketing for your practice.
Call 610-310-1621

Referrals are alive and well despite healthcare integration

We often hear from practices who are concerned about integration and the pressures being put upon referral sources once they’re purchased by the local health system.  Many physicians are concerned that referral marketing might prove fruitless in the face of this financial pressure.

In theory, this makes sense.  In reality, [...] Continue Reading…

Is your marketing rep productive? How can you tell?

We have clients call us regularly who complain that they can’t tell if their rep is productive or not. Obviously new referrals would indicate productivity but what do you do in the meantime, before referrals begin to come in, to determine your reps effectiveness? After all, you could waste [...] Continue Reading…

The importance of consistent messaging.

We have a relatively new client who commented recently that he sees the same messaging on many of reports and he didn’t understand why.

This large cardiology practice has a very active, marketing savvy, group of physicians and administration who routinely go out into the community to meet with their [...] Continue Reading…

Practice-Reps recently signed two new agreements with clients in Southern New Jersey.

A four man neck and spine practice signed an agreement for part time marketing throughout south and central New Jersey with a focus on field referral marketing to the medical community and attorney’s offices.  “With 5 offices from Princeton to Sewell we expect to have a significant impact in [...] Continue Reading…

Referral Rep Training for your employees

After multiple requests from many of our clients we’ve finally developed a field marketers training program designed specifically for your employees!

1) Training. Now we’ll take our 20 years of knowledge and experience in referral marketing and train your employee in the best practices in field marketing. This person remains [...] Continue Reading…

Avoid these costly marketing mistakes

We’re starting to see more and more providers adopt the concept of direct to referral field marketers for their practices across the country. We’re pleased to see this as it confirms our early belief that direct marketing was the best return on investment for most medical specialty practices.

We’ve been [...] Continue Reading…

CASE STUDY 0026 – We look for opportunities to serve your referral sources on your behalf

We recently experienced a significant increase in referrals for one of our clients, a fertility practice in central New Jersey, and we began to look at what might have changed in our marketing efforts to spur such an increase.  As you might suspect we could not identify a single [...] Continue Reading…