Posted on August 18, 2016
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) affect 60 to 70 million people in the United States every year. And that's not counting the millions more with undiagnosed symptoms. Colon cancer alone is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths each year, even though it can be detected early through colonoscopies. With over 20% of the population suffering from GI issues, the phone in your gastrointestinal specialty clinic should be ringing off the hook.
But what if it's not?
Well, you might not be marketing your clinic to its full potential. Like any specialty field of healthcare, marketing your GI clinic effectively is key to your success. How are people going to walk through your doors if they don't even know what you offer?
Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for your GI clinic:
1. Understand your patients' needs.
Yes, you might have the latest and greatest technology for a certain procedure. And yes, maybe you have a recent interest in Zenker's Diverticulum, but what are most of your patients actually looking for?
Place high priority on common GI issues that will attract the greatest number of patients possible. For example, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and heartburn are just a few of the most common GI conditions that occur. Think of your marketing like a tree: start with the trunk, and branch out from there.
2. Determine your target markets.
You're off to a good start, but now you have to put faces to names. What ages are you targeting? What level of knowledge does your target market have? Specific outlines of whom you're aiming for will go a long way in the creative process.
Also think about what stage your target markets are at in the process. Have they self-diagnosed? Have they been evaluated but didn't seek treatment? The messaging will vary based on their knowledge.
3. Design customized strategies for each market.
Would you give your 8-year-old nephew a brand new car for his birthday? No, because it doesn't make sense.
Same concept applies for your target markets. Different messaging and unique approaches will apply to each target market you're trying to reach. Brainstorm with your creative team and come up with several options for each market to draw in as many patients as possible.
4. Develop creative, but appropriate messaging.
Many of us wouldn't read a billboard that says, "Stop in today!" next to a picture of a GI clinic and get off the nearest exit to rush there.
Messaging should highlight your services, providers, quality of patient care and more. It should be creative and attention grabbing, yet informational and inviting. For example, a billboard might feature a line that says, "Fight Heartburn Today," and a graphic of a person in a boxing ring with heartburn. Cheesy? Maybe. But will it grab a person's attention more than a boring picture of your clinic? Yes.
5. Highlight your strengths.
You probably have many impressive features within your GI clinic, but make sure to highlight the ones specific to what separates you from your competitors. Strengths such as friendly physicians, convenience, or a comfortable, warm facility can attract new patients. For example, one GI clinic features content about their onsite surgery center because it's more convenient for patients than having to go to two separate facilities for the evaluation and surgery.
6. Provide content.
Use social media to your advantage. People look online for everything these days, so posting relevant information tailored to your markets' needs can attract a broad range of potential business. Social media content can include anything from blogs, Facebook posts, or tweets, but remember to fit each post within the style of the particular platform. An effective social media strategy would include a Facebook post about a healthy diet for people with Crohn's disease and a tweet about new summer hours and availability for patients.
7. Track your results and adapt to change.
If the first strategy you tried isn't working, don't just give up and revert back to old ways. Monitor your results, ask what you could be doing better, and adapt to the changing market. It might take some time, but the results will be positive in the end.
A well-designed GI clinic-marketing plan involves understanding, planning, acting and reacting to the needs and wants of the potential patients in your community. An effective marketing strategy will significantly increase the amount of traffic that walks through your doors, and will grow your business to the point where new patients consistently seek your clinic for their gastrointestinal needs.
When it comes to marketing your GI clinic, challenges can present themselves along the way. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan to get you started, contact us today!