Communication is key when marketing your practice

August 14, 2019

When you're planning marketing tactics for your practice, focus on communication, expert advises. More insights in this article.

When considering how to market your practice, “think less about marketing and more about communication overall,” advises Eric F. Bernstein, M.D., M.S.E., Main Line Center for Laser Surgery, Ardmore, Pa.
Communication informs your patients about all of the services you offer, says Dr. Bernstein, a.k.a., “The Dermguy.”

When patients are familiar with your office, and they trust you, they’ll seek other services, he says. Offer easily accessible information about your services around your office.

INTERNAL CONSIDERATIONS
In his 3,600-square-foot office space, Dr. Bernstein discovered that patients didn’t always realize that one floor has most of the laser devices, and the other focuses on injectables and surgical procedures - but it’s all one practice. He placed marketing materials in both patient locations to help clarify.

He also uses video technology judiciously and sparingly, with before-and-after shots of procedures.

“It’s not the same video over and over,” he says. “Patients get iPads that explain our procedures and repeat things I normally say in a patient room.”

He holds events to highlight special procedures.

“Remember that companies you work with will usually help. Sure, they want you to offer discounts to your patients, so why not ask them to offer a discount to you, so they also have ‘skin in the game,’” he says.

Larger expenditures such as advertising, billboards and television really are expensive, Dr. Bernstein says.

“Hire a professional, then track results for a few months,” he suggests. “Device and filler companies may also have co-op budgets and may split marketing costs with you.”

Dr. Bernstein says you can offer easily-accessible printed brochures, or a video or slideshow to watch in your waiting areas. These say a lot about who you are and what you do.

YOUR EXTERNAL MESSAGE
Take a long, critical look at your website, and if it needs a revamp, do it and include a strong and concise landing page, Dr. Bernstein advises. Then use Google Ads (formerly Google Ad Words) to optimize the site and drive traffic. Read more on website optimization: "9 Tips to boost your Google ranking here"

If you don’t know how or don’t have time, hire a local company to help you, Dr. Bernstein says.

It’s normal to be hesitant. “Get yourself out there and don’t wait until you have a perfect message,” he says. “'Perfect’ is the enemy of ‘done’ and you can improve your message as you move forward.”

UNDERSTAND WHO USES SOCIAL MEDIA
Everyone isn’t actually “moving away” from Facebook - still the most popular social media platform. Dr. Bernstein says it tells a longer story with larger blocks of space, but some people don’t have the attention span.

He cites these users-per-month for the “big three”:

  • Facebook: more than 2 billion. 58.3 million users are age 25 – 34, the most common demographic. 47.4 million of users are age 55+

  • Instagram: 1 billion

  • Twitter: 321 million

Dr. Bernstein shares these tips:

  • With both a personal and business Facebook account, do use personal information on your business account to convey a “real person,” says Bernstein. Take advantage of Facebook’s free online courses, use analytics to assess your marketing, and “boost” for more successful posts.

  • Instagram is growing fast, he says, with the United States its top consumer. Images get 23% more engagement than on Facebook because of its one or two pictures, a quick movie, or a collage. Younger viewers with short attention spans want a single picture multiple times a day.

  • Instagram’s hashtags aggregate images on the same topic. Use them on Twitter and Facebook to find images or videos on similar topics.

  • Be smart and careful about choosing influencers to increase your following.

  • Competent in-house staff may be able to do social media for you, he says. You may consider a reverse mentorship with a young staffer who teaches you and you do the same for them, he suggests. ƒ

References:

Bernstein, E. Internal and External Marketing Considerations. Presented at the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery; March 29, 2019; Denver.

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