As Florida natives, we’re spoiled daily by the Tampa Bay sunshine and our affinity for spur of the moment fishing trips. On a recent day on the water we were having a particularly tough time catching anything, due to the sheer amount of other fishers near our honey hole. It was a gorgeous day, so it wasn’t hard to understand why there were so many people on the water, but it got me thinking about a conversation I’d had earlier in the week with a physician about his marketing issues.
Dr. Desperate was frustrated because he’s been spending thousands of dollars each year on advertising campaigns with little to no return on investment. Billboards and magazine ads are great, but what are the odds of a patient needing an affordable MRI driving down the road and saying, “Why yes, I do need to go there, I’ve been waiting to see a billboard telling me where to go!” Not going to happen! That patient is going to go online and look for options. Dr. Desperate was getting lost in the shuffle and as a result, getting no bites on his lines. His reimbursement down and patient volume decreasing steadily, he complained, “Are there even any more patients out there?”
Imagine this analogy. Casting one line into the water will get you one fish at a time, no matter how many fish are there. There is a reason the pros use nets when they’re bringing in the big numbers. In recent years competition has grown as survival techniques for professional fishermen, and many areas have become overfished. The ticket to successful fishing, and marketing too, is to find that untapped stream and use collective nets rather than weak rods.
Websites like Save On Medical allow your practice to take a dip into the untapped stream of cash pay patients. With over 50 million uninsured Americans and 25% of Americans trapped in high-deductible health plans, there is a large population (32% of patietns) of price-shopping patients. They need options, and your practice should be one of them.
Since it’s Thursday and Thursday is the perfect day to think about your marketing impacts, let’s take some time to do some exercises to strengthen your marketing muscles. Today, ask yourself the following questions, and no cheating, you’ve got to be honest with yourself to get stronger!
- How are you measuring the effectiveness of your marketing dollars? Are you as happy as you could be?
- Who is really responsible for your practice’s marketing? If it’s a representative, are you only as good as they seem? If it’s your receptionist or patient coordinator, is that really a good sales tactic? If it’s you and you’re a physician, don’t you have anything better to be doing?!
- How far does your reach stretch and are you aware of the captive patients that are falling through the cracks?
- Do you have a cash pay pricing strategy and what are your methods for collections?
- How do you compare to your competitors? What can you steal from them that they are doing well?
- Perception is everything, how do your patients perceive your facility, staff, physicians, technology and patient experience?