Concierge Medicine Marketing and Advertising That Work
Attracting the Patients and Cases You Want
Evidence-Based Marketing Reduces Risk and Helps You Sleep at Night
Concierge practice. Boutique medicine. Premier medical services. Platinum practice. Retainer medical practice. The names are confusing, and the business issues are tough. Also, regardless of what what they are called, marketing boutique or concierge practices like this is challenging.
Perhaps you’re unhappy working in a traditional practice setting or as a hospital employee and are seriously considering a retainer medical practice.
There are many issues. Maybe you’ve thought through all the ethical, legal and operational questions but are still worried about one big thing: “How do I get people in the door?”
Is there a market for what I want to do? Can marketing for a concierge practice successfully attract enough of the patients and cases I want in order to to make it all work? How do I budget my time? What’s the right price point that appeals to patients but delivers profitability?
Experience says there is good reason for concern. If you market poorly (or not at all), your medical enterprise is likely to crash in an expensive failure. Or—if you do it right—a concierge practice can be both possible and rewarding.
Getting it right from the start can be a major challenge for a busy doctor who has never had to engage in marketing boutique or concierge practices for cash patients. Here are seven things to consider. You need to…
- Remember, concierge medicine is really a form of elective care. This is vastly different world from a typical provider practice. You are asking patients to pay their own money out of pocket, and the bill will come to more than a $20 co-pay. Therefore you’ll need to run your practice much more like a high-end retail business than the usual medical practice. Be prepared in advance so you don’t suffer from “culture shock.”
- Demonstrate exceptional value to a skeptical public. Your prospective concierge patient wants to know “Why should I even consider this?” How will you “productize” yourself to be highly compelling to this selective audience?
- Plan for a serious marketing budget. A well-considered marketing plan provides the direction, but you can’t get away with $500 per year and expect serious results.
- Differentiate yourself. At the core of “branding” is doing, saying and delivering on the differentiating experience that your practice promises and provides… and doing so consistently.
- Convert inquiries into first visits. What happens when marketing boutique/concierge services makes the phone ring but inquiries don’t become first visits? Here’s a hint: Staff training is necessary to convert discriminating prospects.
- Convert prospects to regular patients. Having arrived at your office, the individual is still an unconverted prospect. The positive experience in the office—fulfilling on their expectations—will convert them to become and remain a regular patient.
- Raise the bar on the level of service. Voluntary, fee-for-service, cash-pay patients expect (even demand) a great deal more time, attention and customer service. The entire practice will contribute to that experience.
If that sounds challenging, it is. It’s scary. And risky. But the comforting news is that powerful help is available for retainer medical practice marketing. The reassurance is based on a proven, trackable, successful system that reduces risk—and ethically and effectively attracts patients that expect, appreciate and can afford a higher standard of quality care.
Evidence-Based Marketing System™
A system is always more profitable than occasional or episodic activity. So here are the four cornerstone principles of the Evidence-Based Marketing System that will help deliver the fulfilling cases you want in a retainer-based practice:
- Learn from the experience of others before you. Beginning in the dark or reinventing the wheel is high-risk. But medical practice marketing is not new, and there’s a world of experience to draw upon. The key is to find and use the proven strategies that have worked repeatedly in the past in similar situations. This is much more than having a random collection of ideas that you think (or hope) might work. It means organizing a core group of proven strategies around a strategic plan. QUICK TAKE: You may be the first “Platinum Practice” in town, but you’re certainly not the first upscale practice, the first fee-for-service practice, the first elective/cash-pay practice. The previous experience base is deep (and rewarding). Having enough patients show up at your doorstep is a legitimate concern, but it’s by no means unique. More importantly, there are answers and success stories.
- Follow a well-designed marketing plan. A plan for most every healthcare practice will typically include:
- Internal Marketing – such as, inspiring referrals, staff effectiveness, retention
- External Strategies – newspaper advertising, publicity, broadcast, internet, for example
- Professional Referral – developing a referral base, communicating, recognizing; and
- Strategy – to communicate and demonstrate what makes you different.
QUICK TAKE:> A solid marketing plan has to be exactingly specific, both in terms of who you are and what you’ll do. It will be tailored to you and your community, the people, the geography, your goals, the competition and dozens of other considerations. All of these factors and the right combination of proven and prioritized concepts need to fit together to produce the outcome you want.
- Have an effective implementation process. This is your “boutique practice” action plan…the engine that puts your plan to work consistently. These are the ways and means, systems and processes, people and resources that help you achieve ongoing success with your marketing plan. Without this, the plan is only paper, and your goals remain wishes. QUICK TAKE: One of the most common reasons that a plan fails is when it’s neglected, forgotten or ignored. (Like the patient who doesn’t use the prescription.) Energy and good intentions are off the chart in the first week, but then reality intrudes and the priority slides. You must have a process to make the plan happen everyday. You may need help with this one.
- Use a reliable method to evaluate results. Marketing for a premier medical practice is a constant process of testing, tracking and adjusting. And you can’t make smart, profitable adjustments if you’re not tracking your results. You are measuring and evaluating the Return-On-Investment for each item in your plan. This data tells you the degree to which you achieved your objectives. And of course that information brings you back to the beginning of this cycle.
And now, of course, the cycle is repeated again with #1. And you do it all again, this time armed with experience of your own as part of the mix.
Ethical Practice Marketing That Works.
You’ll have to get comfortable about making a change (or not) to the concierge model. But there are ethical and effective ways to successfully engage in marketing boutique, concierge or platinum practices.
Healthcare Success specializes in evidence-based medical marketing for physician and surgical specialties, including retainer medicine, plastic surgery, internal medicine and others.
When you’re ready to talk marketing for your practice, please call us at (800) 656-0907. You’ll sleep better tonight.