IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE that 2015 is almost behind us. Even though we have less than two months, there is still a lot to get done from a promotional standpoint and to prepare for in 2016!
November and December are busy times of the business year, with celebrations for major holidays and our patients. These are great opportunities to promote your practice, build medical relationships and retain and reactivate patients.
Was your marketing effective and targeted, or did you just check the boxes off, by placing yellow page ads, sending out coupons and keeping up with social media? How consistent was it? _ e amount of effort put into marketing and public relations will help keep your practice stable and solidify your position in your community, allowing your practice to grow and prosper.
As we enjoy these last few weeks of 2015, here are some last-minute public relations and marketing opportunities. Holidays are a great time to show goodwill to both your patients and your community.
Holidays are a prime opportunity to reengage and maintain patient relationships. I’ve seen a lot of success with patient recall from a simple canned-food drive. Offer a small token in return such as a sample packet of Biofreeze. You could make it a “Thanksgiving Bag” or “Stocking Stuffer Bag” by taking time to find local businesses that would want to promote themselves to your patients, either with discounts or small tidings, to make your giveaway more special without costing you much.
Another festive idea is a simple open house to say thank you. It greatly aids retention and patient reactivation. I’m never enticed to go to a doctor’s office for cookies and coffee, but if you provide music, maybe host an art show or feature a local musician, it becomes more festive, memorable and better attended.
FOR OUTSIDE MEDICAL PHYSICIANS:
In general, goodwill and outreach are easier when they blend in with other celebrations making your outreach seem less about sales and more about rapport. It’s an opportunity to say that you’re interested in building integrated care relationships.
Informational packets dropped off with a personalized Starbucks card, Jamba Juice card or fruit basket can be effective. Order some “Provided by YOUR PRACTICE NAME” stickers to plaster all over whatever it is you bring, as an effective way to make sure your name is seen. Simple, personalized and cost-effective efforts like this help build rapport with outside medical staff and set the stage for formal measures after the chaos of the holidays settles down. For those chiropractic physicians a little wary of medical outreach, this may provide some reason to be in the physician’s office and inaugurate your efforts.
Don’t limit these attempts to new practices. It’s also a fine time to touch base with MDs with whom you have existing relationships. Check in during this time to reflect on what worked well the past year so you know what to emphasize in the New Year.
FOR YOUR PATIENTS:
It’s important to offer patient events a couple of times a year, not just at the holidays. Consider a friendly spring softball game against another healthcare office. It could be a DC, a physical therapist, a medical physician or a specialist that you work with. Supply food and drinks, and make it a family affair.
Another idea might be a golf-themed event. Host a putting contest, and provide a golf pro to give tips on proper form to help avoid injuries. Tennis and many other sports can present multiple opportunities as well.
Incentives to offer include negotiating meaningful discounts to local sports stores, putting together a healthy snack package, and if you have the budget, offering water bottles with your clinic name for each participant. These remind them of the investment you have made in both their health and your community. Take photos to post on social media, promote events on social media, and invite a local newspaper to cover it as a community event. Make sure when you have patients sign up that you get HIPAA consent to share their pictures in this format.
NATIONAL HEALTH HOLIDAYS:
Almost every month has an event that you can build your PR events around. February could be a “blood drive” that would work for Halloween as well.
April is National Stroke Month; you might consider healthful diet tips hosted with a local chef and nutritionist. My favorite is to utilize ACA’s 2015 National Chiropractic Health Month materials to help increase awareness of the risk of NSAIDs and stroke with an emphasis on how manipulation can help limit pain without increasing stroke risk. Name a problem, and be the solution.
Finally, use any opportunity to increase public awareness of your services from an integrated perspective. Community health lectures are especially successful when you offer a variety of information. If you like managing headaches, host a talk with an MD specialist (neurologist or other MD) or biofeedback specialist.
Improve on the standard issue back talk, and present instead with an orthopedic surgeon and a pain management physician.
Sports focused? Try lower extremity related issues for runners. Present with a local running store that focuses on proper shoe fit and a specialist in podiatry or a surgeon who specializes in lower extremities.
These types of events make PR fun. They’re unique and different, and all the presenters who market the talk build your audience by increasing interest and exposure. The deeper your roots are in your community, the stronger and more stable your practice will become. There are lots of creative ideas to be a source of specialized information and education to your community.
We appreciate being part of the ACA News community, and we want you to have a successful 2016. Please visit www.alignedmethods.com/acatoday
for a complimentary pubic relations planning guide.
Dr. Christina Acampora is the founder of Aligned Methods, which offers online medical marketing courses and resources, and is the author of Marketing Chiropractic to Medical Practices, a 2007 Jones and Bartlett publication. She speaks for chiropractic and university organizations and is a consistent contributor for ACA News. She can be reached at www.alignedmethods.com.