Preparation for marketing your spine practice

As you know, the medical industry has changed tremendously over the past years. In most markets, you can longer sit back and wait for patients to come to you. In planning for the future of your practice, you must remember it is better to be proactive, not reactive.

There are many reasons why you may want to better market your spine practice, such as:

  • Increasing your practice revenue
  • Building patient volume to add physician(s)
  • Defending market share against a new or expanding competitor
  • Changing patient mix
  • Adding a new office location

If you are considering marketing your spine practice, the following information will clarify and answer questions you may have and show you how to get started.

Understand "good marketing" vs. "advertising"

There is a major misconception in the medical industry today that "marketing" is "advertising".However, this is not true. There are many ways to grow your spine practice that are much more subtle than advertising.

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Good Marketing
Marketing is a way to educate your patients, referring physicians and the community about your practice and its' services, without "advertising" in the weekend paper.

The basis of good marketing is a Strategic Marketing Plan, which includes:

  • Specific goals in which you will define certain objectives and action plans to meet those goals.
  • An analysis of your practice - including an evaluation of your spine practice's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • An evaluation of your competitors and the market and demographic areas that you service.

Marketing is an ongoing process, not a one time event. As such, the Strategic Marketing Plan should be a living document - focusing on tracking results over time and evaluating areas for improvement to obtain better results. An evaluation of results should take place on a regular basis and will help define what is working for your practice and what should be changed.

General advertising is typically very expensive whether it is print (i.e. newspaper, magazine), TV, radio or billboard, etc. These types of advertising are a quick, impersonal means of reaching a large demographic audience with a certain message and/or product. You will reach people you may or may not consider as "good patients".

Some people, especially the medical community, may frown upon "advertising" and consider it flashy and unprofessional. It is not to say you shouldn't implement advertising within your marketing effort. However, there needs to be an approach, a time, a place and a carefully thought out reason for doing so to ensure that the desired results are obtained.