Archive for November, 2010
Do you offer coupons, specials and discounts on package at your practice? Many patients thinking about cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, cosmetic dentistry and other cosmetic enhancements are looking for the best price in their area. Some are willing to go the extra mile to shop around and get quotes for the best packages and pricing options.
Since cosmetic procedures aren’t covered by insurance, many patients are good candidates for patient financing programs and an attractive discount on services could be the “deal breaker” they’re looking for.
Some doctors hesitate to issue coupons or promote a special offer because they think it will take away from their brand image or reputation. The truth is, a well-executed marketing plan that includes special offers can actually attract more patients and put you in a very competitive position in your market.
Few people can resist a coupon, special offer or discount — especially if they’re very price-conscientious to begin with and are already prepared to undergo surgery or get a treatment. In order for your coupon strategy or promotion to work, you?ll need to do the following:
1. Issue coupons and special offers online. Maximize your online presence by offering a coupon on your Folio page, and also on your website. You can promote this is as “web-only” special so that patients understand they are getting a great deal for finding you online. This strategy also makes it easy for the patient to share the offer — and your contact information — with friends and family members interested in the same service.
2. Track your discounts and promos. Keep track of your specials and discounts by making sure each item has some type of tracking code. This will help you determine how much it actually cost to obtain a new patient — your cost per acquisition (CPA).
3. Make sure the coupon has an expiration date. Expiration dates will help close the sale and will prompt the patient to take action immediately. You need to advertise the coupons and offers as a limited time offer to maximize your response rates.
Does your practice name and contact information show up on the first page of Google search results when someone runs a search for procedures you offer or clinics in your area? If the answer is ‘no”, you need to allocate some of your marketing dollars towards business directory listings.
Established online directories, such as LocateADoc.com, make it easier for patients to find you when they do a basic search for a procedure you offer, or when they are looking for doctors in their area.
Adding your practice to sites like these helps to increase your online visibility by making it incredibly easy for patients to find you.
According to a recent survey from Nielsen Online and WebVisible, many businesses are failing to connect with customers at the local level. The survey polled 4,000 Internet users and business owners, and the results revealed that consumers now use search engines 72% more often than they did two years ago.
Patients are turning to the Internet to find doctors in their area, and many will only look at the first couple of pages of search results.
If your practice does not appear on the first or second page, you could be losing patients to other doctors in your area.
The best way to overcome this challenge is to get listed on local business directories, especially niche directories that are designed specifically for doctors, physicians and medical professionals. These directories can connect you to hundreds, even thousands of patients, and an enhanced listing — your Folio page — will help patients learn more about you at a glance.
Set aside some of your marketing budget funds for local business directory listings so that you can attract more quality patients and build a successful practice with minimal effort.
As more and more patients turn to the Internet to find out more about different procedures, compare doctors in their area and evaluate doctors based on testimonials and reviews, it’s become more important than ever to establish a positive online presence. A strong online presence that informs and educates patients, and also engages patients in conversations via Twitter and Facebook, helps to build credibility and can even “break the ice” between patients and doctors when the patient is in the “shopping around” stage.
You can build credibility and trust with prospective patients by sharing your knowledge through articles, blog posts and even tweets. Serve as a trustworthy advisor on what to expect from certain procedures, how to manage side effects of down time, provide statistics on success rates of treatments you offer, and share industry news on a regular basis. All of these activities can position you as an authority in your specialty and industry. They also make it easier for patients to count on you for advice, tips and a recommended treatment plan.
You can add resource articles to your website, pitch ideas to a magazine, or maintain a blog that contains news, tips and overviews of the latest treatments. Providing information through these channels will make you stand apart from other doctors and medical professionals in your area, and also encourage patients to learn more about you, your practice, and what you have to offer.
Many patients are very price-conscientious when it comes to reviewing treatment options and packages. They may spend days and weeks researching doctors in their area, obtaining pricing during consultations, and comparing national averages to make sure they are making the right decision. For some, the opportunity to get financing for their procedure can be a big draw to your practice.
If you offer patient financing through CareCredit or similar financing provider, or you offer payment plans and financing through a private party, it’s important to promote all of the available payment options so that the price-sensitive patient will choose to proceed with treatment.
Some of the best ways to promote patient financing options include:
1. Creating a patient financing logo or button on your website. Create a separate landing page for financing on your website and make sure it’s easily accessible and visible from the home page. This will help patients learn more within a few clicks.
2. Asking if the patient is interested in financing specials during their first call. Train your office staff to find out if the patient is considering financing their procedure, or if they have the desire to learn more about patient financing specials and offers, when the patient makes a call for more information or wants to book a consultation. This can prepare you to talk about different options available and provide marketing materials when the patient visits you.
3. Ensuring all online profiles indicate that you offer patient financing options. Many patients will “filter” their search results by doctors that offer patient financing ? and those that do not. Make sure you make it to their contact list by updating all of your online profiles and listings so that it’s clear you do offer financing options.