3 marketing mistakes healthcare practices make

April 9, 2014

If offering “free consultations” is your primary mode of marketing your practice to bring in new patients, you may want to rethink your strategy.

If offering “free consultations” is your primary mode of marketing your practice to bring in new patients, you may want to rethink your strategy. Fernando Lamounier, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.S., is the founder of SproutPoint, a consulting firm to help guide healthcare professionals and companies in marketing, job hunting and negotiations. Dr. Lamounier will be presenting "A science-based approach to medical marketing: Why a 'free consultation' is not the answer,” at the 2014 Vegas Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetic Dermatology Meeting in June.

Dr. Fernando Lamounier

Free consultations don’t do anything to differentiate your practice from the competition, Dr. Lamounier says.

“It makes every practice look alike under the eyes of a patient,” he says. “Consequently, not only you will be attracting the wrong type of patient, but that patient will look at your services as a commodity, where price becomes the only decision making point. Before long you will be competing on price only.”

Patient testimonials offer a better alternative to free consultations, according to Dr. Lamounier.

“In the era of social media frenzy, social proof is more valuable than a free consulation,” he says. “But you need to know how to get good testimonials and use them effectively.”

But focusing too much on social media can be detrimental, he warns. The following are three marketing mistakes practices make:

  • Focusing mostly on media: As Dr. Lamounier stated, social media is a great place for positive testimonials, but keeping an eye on the bigger marketing picture is key.

“Most people mistakenly focus primarily on where they should advertise — Facebook? Google? A magazine?” he says. “An effective marketing system must deliver the right message to the right market using the right medium so you can facilitate the decision making process of your customer. These three elements need to be fully integrated for any marketing to work.”

  • Lack of understanding of marketing science: “There is a scientific-based way that we as consumers respond to marketing and advertisement,” Dr. Lamounier says. “Unfortunately most practices and marketing companies don’t understand it. So they copy what they see everywhere, which is inherently flawed, to painfully and costly realize it doesn’t work.”

  • Marketing fragmentation: “In piecemeal marketing, the content, design and execution of the services or ads that you’ve purchased are handled by the salespeople you’ve purchased the services from,” he says. “Although they call themselves ‘marketing consultants,’ they lack the knowledge and skills to create and integrate all the core elements of a successful marketing system.”

For more tips to market your practice, make sure to attend Dr. Lamounier’s presentation this year at VCS. He will also be presenting “The five deadly marketing mistakes that are holding you practice back and preventing you from becoming the leader in your market.”

 

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