The imaging environment is constantly undergoing changes, and a practice must market itself to stay afloat. Here are a few successful strategies.
The one sure thing that can be said about the healthcare environment is that it is always changing and is extremely competitive. The imaging environment is constantly undergoing changes. There are internal and external factors driving change, and consumers are better educated as a result of access to a wealth of information available online. I may not be a marketing genius, but here are strategies I have come to accept and believe in.
1. Perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis. What advantages does your organization have? What makes your department/center unique? What can you improve on? What obstacles do you face? Keep in mind it is recommended that a SWOT analysis be performed at the end of each budget year, when a business is not hitting its targets and budgets, and when you have an unusual loss of an employee or provider.
2. Do not waste your time trying to match or beat your competitor. While it is important to be mindful of the competition, think in terms of meeting the needs of the customer. For example, we now live in an environment where often both spouses work outside of the home and some employers make it difficult for people to get off work for imaging needs. Would evening or weekend hours be beneficial in your facility’s community? It’s important to note what works in one area will not necessarily work in another.
3. The 80/20 rule typically applies. You will find that most of the referral volume will come from a small number of physicians, so protect those relationships.
4. Focus on specific zip codes. One of the centers I manage provides women’s health services, and I keep my focus on the zip codes that will have the greatest influence on the center. In addition, I track the volume yearly by zip code to see what areas the volume is coming from and the effect that marketing may be having.
5. You cannot beat the effect of visiting referring offices in person. Call it “physician office rounding.” My thought is out of sight out of mind. Yes, while many practices are extremely busy I truly believe they appreciate you being visible. This is an opportunity for them to gather any information regarding the services you provide.
6. Welcome to the neighborhood. I have a half sheet card I mail to new home owners in selected zip codes. The card has a short narrative about the center, the hours and services offered. Individuals just moving into a new community have no idea of the services available in their area, unless you inform them.
7. Keep in touch with the consumer through patient satisfaction surveys. This is a method to keep a pulse on what they are thinking.
What other successful marketing strategies have you employed?