Increase Referrals by Marketing Your Sleep Center

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Sleep Medicine Marketing

Marketing Audit: The first 7 questions for moving your sleep disorder lab to the next level

The challenge factors in sleep center marketing and advertising are tough and are growing increasingly complex.

Sleep medicine and the operation of a diagnostic sleep lab is a multifaceted business. For added difficulty, the competition among facilities in many areas is also increasing. But despite their acknowledged role in healthcare, some practices find it difficult to advertise effectively or establish a steady referral stream.

Sleep-related disorders are a critical public health concern—officially so since at least 1993, depending on your choice of authoritative sources. Today about 40 million Americans (or even more by some estimates) are affected. And many are unaware, undiagnosed or unconcerned about the serious health consequences.

In this respect, the educational component of your promotional message is increasing public awareness and with it, public demand is growing. Demand drives competition, and it’s more important than ever to stand head and shoulders above crowd.

A few clinics have been around for decades, but the number of American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) accredited facilities has skyrocketed only in the last few years. Once limited mainly to academic and medical research, study centers or sleep-related breathing laboratories today are operated by or in association with hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, specialty hospitals, universities or as privately owned, freestanding businesses.

Broader professional reach

Sleep disorders are a growing part of many professional practices. No longer a small sub-set exclusive to specialists—individual and group practices now have an advertising message for prospective patients.

The related healthcare issues have become more apparent to the medical community, with marketing messages from primary care physicians, internists, otolaryngologists, pulmonary physicians, psychiatrists and behavioral sciences, cardiologists, neurologists and other disciplines all having a promotional voice.

Marketing today is far more than communicating the value and availability of diagnostic polysomnography (PSG) or CPAP titration. Effectively telling your story has to work on many fronts and with many target audiences, conveying a positive and differentiating message, protecting the existing base, as well as growing the business profitably.

Fortunately, we know how to handle complex and competitive marketing and how to solve some of the toughest advertising issues.

A wealth of marketing opportunities

The “good news” is that there are many audiences, promotional gateways and business opportunities. In fact, there are more than many other medical practices and healthcare specialties.

Consider the wide range of prospective patients from pediatric to geriatric: infants, children, teenagers, single adults, parents and senior citizens are all part of the mix. Medical marketing—for either the sleep facility or the private practice—crosses many professional lines and prospective diagnoses. Each is a prospective business segment.

In addition to the most common disorders (insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, snoring, sleepwalking), other prospective segments include:

  • Preoperative prospective bariatric surgery patients
  • Pediatric bedtime problems, night wakings and special needs of younger patients
  • Diabetic patient screenings, education and treatment programs
  • Medically supervised weight loss programs
  • Psychology or psychiatry evaluations

Once upon a time everything was simple. Well…at least less complicated.

As our nation’s healthcare delivery system struggles to reinvent itself, the marketing approach for diagnostic sleep evaluation and related private practices has shifted from straightforward to being increasingly challenging.

Today, the message (actually, multiple messages) needs to reaches out to diverse and sometimes overlapping audiences including physicians, patients, prospective self-refer patients, insurance plans and others.

In nearly two decades of helping healthcare practices grow, we know that practice-marketing programs achieve the greatest success because they plan it that way. Their goals are clear, supporting strategies are in place, and implementation tactics are well considered and carefully coordinated.

Nationwide, it’s the same story. The winners all have, and faithfully use, a comprehensive sleep center marketing and advertising plan which guides them strategically on a daily basis. Reaching, convincing and attracting diverse market segments requires cost-effective and solid programs to increase revenue and profitability, through many marketing “gateways” into the practice.

Regardless of how well you think you’re doing, a reality check is a useful test. If everything is really just swell, you can take comfort in continuing your promotional effort just as it is today.

But if you don’t know, if you’re a student of continuous improvement, or if you’re serious about breakthrough growth—start with a revealing analysis of your strategic position.

Here’s where to begin: The First 7 Marketing Audit Questions to Get You to the Next Level.

Regardless of the size of the facility, the program or any of the strategic or tactical parts, if you don’t track you just don’t know what’s working. Do you have a tracking system? Is it working? Is it consistent and accurate? It’s impossible to manage the plan or calculate your ROI without this part of the equation.

Call us. We can help you find the answers.

We understand what works and what doesn’t work. We know how to effectively communicate your value message to your various “customers” in ways that help them appreciate and utilize all that you have to offer. In sleep center marketing these audience groups include patients, prospective patients, referring physicians, self-referral patients, health insurance plans, hospitals and others.

Healthcare Success can guide your sleep disorder diagnostic center marketing as we have done for others around the nation, providing ethical, creative and evidence-based strategies. Few professional situations are as competitive or as diverse as sleep labs and we can help with answers you need.

Call us today at (800) 656-0907. We’ll help you find the answers you need for success.

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