You’ve heard us tell you that marketing is about building connections, visibility, and credibility. But there’s one underlying, fundamental aspect to marketing your practice that should permeate everything you do: human emotion. Sure, it’s crucial to develop a web presence through a comprehensive site and social media activity, and yes, you should be carefully crafting your brand and managing your reputation- but if you really want your marketing efforts to pay off, be sure to cultivate a rapport with your connections- both established and potential. This is the era of healthcare relationship marketing, where you rely on a more profound connection with your referring partners and patients to bolster your marketing efforts.
Think it’s not worth the effort to develop your practice on a level that resonates with patients, or maybe that all that effort you spend courting the favor of referring physicians would be better spent elsewhere?
Consider this simple experiment:
Type “I love Dr. Oz” into your Google search bar. As of April 2013, you will get ~1.18 million hits. Now try the same with companies that spend billions on advertising: Chevrolet turns up a 129K despite being in a niche people are passionate about; Exxon Mobil turns up a pitiful 29 results. No matter how much money you throw at an advertising campaign, you’ll never be able to match the reach and effect of passionate individuals promoting your practice.
The benefits of this sort of contemporary relationship marketing are twofold:
- People will, of their own volition, announce to the world their affection for you as a physician or for your practice. This sort of “brand evangelist” is your supporter, your promoter, and your biggest fan. They’ll leave you reviews that establish your credibility, and will passionately recommend you to friends and family. They are more responsive to your services, your value proposition, and the dialogue and material you put onto the web. They are engaged.
- Physicians nearby and in relevant niches know of you, and like you. They see value in continuing to refer patients to your practice, and speak highly of the work you do. They provide you with the most valuable currency: a vetted, trusted recommendation.
Healthcare relationship marketing, at it’s core, is about image presentation and rapport. Your success or failure directly depends not on what you offer, but who you are.
Luckily, the requirements for successful healthcare relationship marketing are simple. Ethical conduct. Seamless patient relations. Responsive communication. Proactive communication. Community outreach, both at the patient and physician level. It is imperative to earn the trust of all concerned–not as a means to gain advantage in a sales capacity, but as an end in itself.
Take a moment to think about the value of trust relationships–versus the sole dependence on advertising and public relations to shape perceptions about a brand.
“It’s always been about the individualized relationship,” says Laura Mikulski, Director of Business Development at PRM. “Just a few years ago, local medical practices lived or died based on the relationships they built. As new means of mass communication emerged, hospital chains and large medical groups used their increased reach to try to advertise their way out of that responsibility. However, we’re seeing a strong resurgence in relationship building because every aspect of a practices’s behavior is on public display. Every patient has a forum to vent their dissatisfaction or pleasure, and they in turn are able to influence every potential patient and referring relationship thereafter. A relationship-first approach to every customer interaction has again become imperative.”
Healthcare Marketing Agency- Physician Referral Marketing (PRM) provides the tools and the know-how to grow physician practices & increase visibility both online and off. PRM specializes in strategic marketing campaigns & referral development through a uniquely direct relationship establishment with demographically relevant doctors and hospitals.To stay on top of the latest healthcare marketing trends, contact PRM today at 888-336-1344 or visit www.physicianreferralmarketing.com. Also be sure to visit our Facebook, Twitter, or G+ page for the latest news in healthcare marketing. Nationwide service, with headquarters in Michigan and a regional office in Arizona.