By providing community education to potential patients you are building awareness, and with that awareness we’re able to impact healing outcomes for patients in our community.
By educating the medical community and patients about where to go to have their problem wounds treated, you will be saving your entire local healthcare network time and money in not having to triage and refer the patient through the system. At the same time you will be saving patients from days or weeks of frustration in having to advocate for themselves while trying to navigate a healthcare network that they don’t understand.
The following are 4 easy steps to raise awareness of your clinic's services.
#1: Bring Awareness to the Local Medical Community of the Services You Offer.
Get out from behind the desk and make personal visits to potential referral sources in your community. Getting out into the medical market, accessing physicians and their office staff, home healthcare organizations, DME's stores, pharmacists - even those at the major chain stores, i.e. CVS, Walgreens, etc,. and the like will elevate the awareness of the specialty services provided at your institution. More than 75% of all new referrals coming into wound care programs are directed from the formal medical community while the remainder of patients are self-referred. Evaluating how patients accessed your program is critical in your understanding and monitoring the health of your business/practice.
#2: Hold a free community education series.
Organize regularly scheduled free lectures for your community on topics of popular interest (e.g., diabetes, carbon monoxide poisoning). Ask your physicians and/or clinic practitioners to provide 45 minute educational lectures followed by a 15 minute question and answer session. Remind the lecturing faculty that the audience is comprised of current and potential patients, not fellow practitioners, and to be mindful of the terminology and phraseology used in delivering the message. Hold the lectures at least once a month. In the beginning, you may need to hold the lectures at different times and on different days to see what results in the highest attendance (e.g., lunchtime on Wednesday versus at 5:30 pm, or Saturday morning 9 am). A key to remember is to be consistent with the series; don’t just schedule a talk once and be done. You will be more effective in building awareness through consistent, regular messaging.
#3: Create a short video or commercial.
In today’s multi-media driven culture, it is critical to have visually appealing content that clearly explains the services you provide to a target audience in a minute or less. The first step in creating video content is to sit down with your marketing team (or strategic planning team) and thoughtfully identify your target audience (e.g., patients at high risk for necrotizing fasciitis), what services you want to promote to them (e.g., hyperbaric medicine), and what action you want them to take (e.g., calling your clinic for an evaluation/consultation).
As for promoting and distributing the video or commercial, you may want to consider posting it on your hospital or clinic webpage, promoting it via your social medial channels (such as Facebook or LinkedIn), or uploading it to YouTube. If you have resources in your budget, you may also want to consider contacting the local television stations to run your commercial.
#4: Write an article for a local newspaper, magazine, or blog.
Newspapers, magazines, blogs, and journals are always looking for good, high-quality, engaging content. In today’s marketplace, producing educational content (content marketing) is proving to be a very effective marketing approach. To further explain, are you familiar with the term “advertorial?” The term is a blend of the words “advertisement” and “editorial”. Advertorials are widely used to effectively communicate a marketing message through storytelling. Advertorials promote a product or service by using a story that your target audience can relate to. For example, using patient testimonials (with proper consent from the patient) could effectively explain the benefits of hyperbaric medicine from a patient’s perspective, in a way that potential patients can understand. If a reader feels like they are better informed after having read your article, you have taken the first step in building their trust. At the end of your article/story be sure to include a “call to action”; direct the reader to take the next step and contact your clinic for more information (i.e., for a consultation). Consult with your hospital or facility’s outreach, education, or marketing department about creating educational content that is also entertaining and engaging.
Now we'd like to hear from you: What has worked best for you in marketing your clinic? Tell us in the comments below.
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