A simple fact about marketing: You could be the best in your field and offer top-notch services, but if no one knows who you are, what you do, or when, why, and how to see you, your business may struggle.
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Explore This IssueJune 2009
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With marketing, you can reach the people who need you the most and can provide them with information that will help them lead healthy, happy lives—and will help your practice thrive. Remember, marketing isn’t reserved for the largest companies in the biggest cities—it is a sound investment for your small business.
In the simplest terms, marketing is when your practice has an ongoing conversation with a particular group of people—the audience. How you do that can vary and may include advertising, public relations, branding, brochures and newsletters, a Web site, hosting or supporting community events, and other options. As you consider how to market your practice, approach the process as you would a new patient visit by following these steps.
Assess the Situation
This involves all of the background work you need to determine the best way to reach your target audience. Assessing your practice’s situation by:
- Determining what you want to achieve and what success will be. Do you want to grow your practice by 5% or increase primary care physician (PCP) referrals by 3%? Set goals and objectives and determine what will be considered success.
- Looking at where you are now and where you’ve been. Have you tried to market your practice in the past? If so, gather any materials from past efforts and review what worked and what didn’t. Look at what you are doing now and determine if you and your staff are ready, willing, and able to make marketing a priority for your business.
- Deciding who you want to speak to, and learn more about them. You may be marketing to potential patients, current patients, or lapsed patients, or you may be reaching out to managed care companies, PCPs, hospitals, or lawmakers and community influencers. Once you identify your target audience, take the time to learn about them.
- Finding out what the competition is doing. Are there other rheumatologists in or near your area? Are there nontraditional or natural treatments being offered to your target audience? Are PCPs treating potential patients? Determining who your competition is and what they are doing will help you tailor messages to your target audience. You may even find ways to work with your competition.
Welcome to the Practice Page!
“From the College” always offers information and advice on the business side of medicine for rheumatologists in private or group practices—and our new “Practice Page” will make it even easier to find tips for running your practice. Turn here each month for advice on running your business, managing staff, serving patients, and improving your practice.