Posted on July 27, 2017
The Doors Are Open, But No One Is Coming In
You have the knowledge; you have the ability. You're ready to
change the world, one patient at a time. But where are they? You
know there are people in need of a behavioral health practice like
yours, but why aren't they coming in the door? You may be doing
nothing wrong, or you may be doing nothing. Chances are, there are
simple, client-attracting techniques you aren't doing. We've
complied a list of strategies to consider when patient volumes
aren't quite where they should be.
1. Lack of Awareness
It's not enough to exist. Your potential patients have to know
about your behavioral health organization. You may think that since
you've been at your same location for however many years, everyone
knows about your facility and what you do. In that case, you may be
laboring under a false supposition. Don't assume potential clients
know about your behavioral health facility. Be active in
promoting your facility and the services you offer. Don't stop till
your facility is a household name in your community and it's the
first thing people think of when they think of behavioral health.
Try inbound marketing, building a social media presence, Google
AdWords, or good old-fashioned traditional tactics.
2. Poor Reputation
Okay, so maybe people have heard of you, but maybe they haven't
heard good things. Reputations can be founded or unfounded. There's
nothing worse than being associated with rumors and negative
publicity that isn't true. If patients aren't choosing you, check
out your online reviews. Simply type in your organization's name
into Google and you will find reviews that have been left by
patients. Listen to what people are saying and respond to both
negative and positive reviews. It might hurt to hear, but it will
hurt more if you do nothing. It may be time to consider going on
the PR offensive.
3. People Can't Find You
When someone needs a behavioral health or addiction treatment
center, the first place they go to is search engines. It is
important that they find you online as soon as they hit "return."
Be sure that you have a strong online presence, which you can
achieve by having a well-designed and search engine optimized
website, a strong social media showing, and a strategic content
4. You're Not Accessible
We get that you're busy, but never be too busy to answer a
contact request. Be sure to be there when they need you: Have an
easy-to-find contact form and afterhours voicemail (that you
check), and follow up with messages ASAP.
You could have the best behavioral health facility in the world,
but it won't do anyone any good if there is something keeping
potential patients from coming to you. Instead of focusing on what
you are doing, it may be time to think of what you are not doing
and evaluate if a change of techniques might benefit you and your
Learn Ways To Use Inbound Marketing To Increase Patient Volumes
for Your Behavioral Health Practice
Adopting an inbound marketing strategy will make a considerable
impact on your brand awareness, patient volumes, and
cost-reduction. It will educate prospective patients about your
behavorial health organization and services. Download the Ebook
Posted on July 10, 2017
By Mike Milligan, The Rural Healthcare Marketer
In part 2 of our blog series, Increasing Profitability of
your Rural Hospital, I'll address these critical topics:
- Choosing service lines that are marketable and profitable
- Implementation of marketing that produces results
In the first part of the blog series, I discussed:
- Building relationships with referring physicians
- Forming strategic partnerships
You can read that blog here.
Choosing service lines that are marketable and
"Dr. Smith wants to be on a billboard."
"We really should be doing more gall bladder procedures. Can
you advertise that we can do these just as well as the larger
These are actual requests I've received throughout my career.
They are not necessarily unreasonable requests, but ironically in
an industry based on science, these questions are based on emotion
rather than fact.
How do we decide where to place our emphasis in marketing?
Having been a member hospital leadership teams throughout my
career, I'm well aware that there are politics. Realistically, when
an influential surgeon or board member makes a suggestion, the
request does carry some weight often due to the stature of person,
even if the idea itself might not be the most thought out.
But as healthcare leaders, our job is to best manage the limited
resources of our rural hospital. Decisions should be made based on
agreed-upon criteria and alignment with the goals outlined in your
strategic plan. And as our clients have often heard me say,
"marketing should focus on doing a finite amount of things very
well, rather than trying to do a little bit for everyone."
It may or may not make sense to put the surgeon's face on your
billboard. But the standard should be defining our goals and
developing the best strategy to achieve these goals. Regardless of
who or what is on a billboard, the broader question is whether or
not this is even the right approach. For instance, general surgery
is built through primary care relationships.
It's also developed through direct to consumer promotion, but
this is generally focused on promoting procedures where patients
may be seeking a remedy to an issue. As an example, campaigns
surrounding heartburn or hernias have messages that a prospective
patient can identify with. However, your average consumer isn't
comparing facilities for the best gall bladder procedure.
While you may appreciate the service provided by the dedicated
employees in housekeeping, does this justify spending money on
advertising? Absolutely not. But, it might
mean that you celebrate their achievements and thank them publicly
for their role in caring for your patients.
The point here is that as an organization, you must develop your
specific criteria and then weigh, or rank, those criteria depending
on your situation. For instance, criteria could include, among many
- Downstream revenue
- Competitive advantage
- Community goodwill
- Builds brand of your organization
- Supports the strategic plan
- Patient retention
Implementation of marketing that produces
Okay, let's say in the end you decided to do that billboard.
Then the next question is,
"What is effective?"
How do you know? The short answer is that you only know its
effectiveness if you specifically defined your desired outcome in
Most likely, that billboard itself didn't produce the results.
But, was it part of a larger effort? Did your surgery volumes go
up? Were there more inquiries on your website? Did new potential
patients attend a community education event that you promoted?
The takeaway on this point is the forming of
measureable, tangible goals. Sometimes these are business
goals such as increasing volumes of a specific procedure or service
line by a certain percentage. Or it's regarding marketing share, or
referrals. Or the goals are communications-focused such as number
of website impressions or social media engagement. Every marketing
initiative you begin should have a clearly defined goal before you
I'll cover these topics in even more detail in this week's
webinar, but the key is to use these criteria to make objective
decisions about what you will do, and about what you will not do.
And, once you know where you're going to place your focus, clearly
define your expected outcome.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out to us anytime
with your comments or suggestions for other blogs. We love hearing
from our readers!
Attend Our Upcoming Webinar
Register for our upcoming webinar, July 12 at 2:00 CDT "7 Proven
Strategies to Increase Profitability of Your Rural Hospital"
presented by Mike Milligan, President of Legato Healthcare
Marketing. Mike will provide a no-nonsense webinar with practical
tips for rural healthcare executives to put into immediate