A New Year is upon us, and with it the opportunity to make some new resolutions. Here are some MD Marketing priorities to firm up for 2020:
1. Capitalize upon chiropractic successes & targeted market opportunities
2. Optimize & grow core customer business
3. Generate great brand & market awareness to support strategy and vision
4. Develop a world-class experience for our patients
5. Create a high performance culture with excellent outcomes and lower costs of care
1. Capitalize upon chiropractic successes & targeted market opportunities. Chiropractors excel at managing acute and chronic lower back pain, some forms of headache and neck pain and it’s well documented in the research. These successes serve as open doors to begin conversations with medical doctors. Each encounter with an MD should have the goal of sharing with providers’ key points of our care for these open door conditions and achievements of proven success including:
• mechanism of action of manipulation
• efficacy/outcomes with emphasis on pain and disability measures
It should be a priority that once an MD triggers a referral that you monitor your statistics to ensure that you optimize the referral rate of that MD through discharge reports of referred patients and consistent education and outreach. It cannot be underscored how imperative this step is to success, and consistency in communication efforts plays a large role. Make sure you have a plan in place to track your reports, outreach and your statistics with an emphasis on consistency.
2. Optimize & grow core customer business. In most instances, land with the expectation to build referrals with lower back patients and plan to expand into neck, headaches and other appropriate conditions you excel at treating. Of course there are exceptions but remember that while we may start with the lower back, it doesn't limit you to the lower back. This is a relationship that will be fostered for the lifetime of your career and there will always be opportunities to expand the physician's horizon on what patients are suitable for referral. Land with a plan to expand!
3. Generate great brand awareness. When looking to your brand you immediately think about your logo, color themes and tag lines. Those things don’t make your brand strong, they can only support the message of a strong brand. When you think about your brand, think about what you want your brand to reflect.
Target Audience: The obvious starting audience for most chiropractors are patients with lower back pain. However, some of us go broader in our marketing and target musculoskeletal conditions, others prefer an emphasis on sports, ob/gyn and many other conditions. In order to sell a strong brand you have to sell it to the right audience. If you cater to extremities, your brand shouldn’t be built on headaches. If you excel at managing the lower back, you shouldn’t build a brand on shoulder pain. The best part of marketing to MD’s is tapping into large groups of patients with conditions that interest you, through proper branding. Think about the conditions you are passionate about treating and build your brand with that audience in mind.
Great Customer Experience: Results are a top contender in patient experiences and great patient experiences build a strong brand. But results don’t define the experience. It starts immediately at first contact and continues a lifetime through proper patient education and contact. Strive to anticipate concerns and meet expectations beyond the standard expectations.
Office Environment: Your office environment (cleanliness, organization, wait times etc.) reflect your brand. Your bedside manner, your front desk and other staff all support your brand. If any of these are lacking or can be improved upon make it a priority to do so now.
Social Media: You should market your social media sites in your print material. Any social media where a patient can post a comment (think Google etc..) about your care must be carefully monitored. One bad review can outweigh a host of good ones and instantly put doubt in the readers mind. To remain HIPPA compliant it's advised you shouldn't respond directly to the review, rather contact the patient directly and see if you can resolve the complaint - hopefully they may consider taking it down once they feel they have been heard.
Material: Your marketing material must reflect your brand and should broadcast key features of your care. It’s worth promoting your commitment to MD communication and referrals as it will build patient confidence to know that their providers are communicating and taking a team approach. Materials should be fresh looking, modern and provide a clear and concise brand message.
4. Develop a World Class Experience:
Patients: Chiropractic care has incredibly high rates of patient satisfaction which is definitely a selling point to MD’s. At the time of patient discharge, ask the patient to fill out a patient satisfaction survey (or consider having it via an email survey format). Accumulating this feedback helps with marketing, it also provides invaluable feedback on whether or not you’re meeting your desired patient experience. Make sure you collect your own office satisfaction rates and broadcast them appropriately in print material and in medical conversations.
MD’s: If an MD asks for information make sure you or your staff prioritize the response. Reports are part of this. Quick responses and timely reports instill trust, professionalism and generate high levels of MD satisfaction. If you asked the patient for permission, share their survey results with the physician by sending a copy along with the discharge report. If you know an MD has an interest in a certain clinical condition and you see a report or article about it from a chiropractic perspective send a copy to them. If they know you’re catering to them, they’re certainly going to know how important it is for you to cater to their patients. Be quick in your responses and look for ways to keep communication flowing.
5. Create a High Performance Environment.
Front Desk: The front desk is a patient’s first experience. Make sure that you have proper procedures and protocols in place to ensure a high level of patient confidence and a smooth running experience. These days, it’s not that hard to stand out from other health practices. All too often we can hear the fatigue in a receptionist’s voice, wait weeks for a first appointment only to spend a limited time with the physician. With little effort you can provide a friendly, warm environment that caters to patient comfort the second they step into the front door adding value to their experience.
Employees and Other Staff: Hire A-players that will support your vision. A friendly, outgoing and energetic receptionist, a professional, firm but fair billing specialist have primary roles in patient experiences. Any other practitioner in your office should be on board with your vision for the ultimate patient experience. You, as the owner, are in complete control and if you place these expectations upon your staff they will carry it through with you as the ultimate role model. It will certainly make for a more uplifting and positive work environment and your patients will be sure to notice. Hire exceptional people and provide them with the opportunity to learn from mistakes and with the skills and materials to do their job to the best of their capabilities.
It’s a New Year, start if off right!