Medical Practice Direct Mail: Right Patient, Right Time, Right Message
How to grow your medical practice with mailing lists and direct mail
In many ways, medical practice marketing is just like any other form of marketing. You’ve got to reach the right prospects, at the right time, with the right message.
All three of those components – the who, when, and what – are essential to success.
So how can you formulate the best marketing campaign possible and ensure that you make the right marketing decisions?
Let’s break down each component into simple, actionable items:
For a pediatric clinic, it might be a household with children, with an income range between $75,000 and $150,000. Or, for a women’s health clinic, it might be females between the age of 25 and 45, who live within a few miles of your practice.
The best way to determine the “who” component of your marketing campaign, is to analyze your existing patient database to find common threads. Typically, you can identify basic parameters, and start to build an ideal prospect profile.
Start analyzing your database with these basic definitions:
- Geographic location. Identify ZIP Codes with highest density of patients and determine the average drive-time from your practice. You might find that 80% of your existing patients live within 20 minutes of your practice.
- Age. Add up the ages of all existing patients and then divide by the total number of patients to find the average age. You might find that the average age is 35, or perhaps 60. This information is critical for your marketing communication – especially when it comes to the images and messaging that you include on advertisements.
- Gender. For some practices, gender matters. Those medical facilities specializing in women’s health or men’s health will obviously need to account for the target gender in all marketing efforts.
- Income. You can determine median income levels by reviewing publicly available homeowner and census data. The easiest method of acquiring income data is to review reports on the ZIP Codes where most of your current patients live.
- Children. Depending on the type of medical practice you operate, you may need to target households with children, households without children, or both.
Once you have identified what your ideal prospect looks like, it’s time to use a mailing list service to find lots more of them. Just make sure to stick to your data points when building your new list, even if it’s tempting to stray in an attempt to reach more new patients.
The Right Time
When it comes to marketing, timing is very important for most medical practices. For example, many medical practices see increased appointment volumes after children head back to school each Fall. With added exposure to bacterial and viral infections, along with flu season, many children require frequent medical care during the Fall and Winter seasons.
In fact, certain seasons are so busy that medical practices extend business hours and higher additional staff. Additionally, many medical practices have blackout days for paid time off (PTO) because of increased patient demand.
Clearly, there is fierce competition for market share during seasonal transition periods – whether during allergy season or flu season – and many successful practices execute massive local marketing campaigns to gain an edge every three to six months.
The Right Message
Unlike retail business marketing efforts, medical practices can’t send out coupons and discount offers. Trust is paramount in medical practice marketing. As such, a 20% OFF coupon doesn’t have the right tone or appeal to prospective patients. In fact, overly “salesy” marketing can severely damage a medical practice’s reputation and credibility.
For optimal performance, medical marketing collateral (postcards for example) should include authority indicators, factual information, and clear benefits. They should clearly address medical issues and offer convenient, professional, and affordable solutions.
To reduce a prospective patient’s anxieties, and more quickly familiarizes them with your practice, it is extremely helpful to include a doctor’s headshot photo with a reassuring quote. You can further extend credibility by including photos and testimonials from local patients, with their permission of course.
Follow these straight-forward strategies to better position your practice for success. Additionally, great marketing helps solidify your staff as the local subject matter experts on a variety of health services topics.
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