4 Steps to Introducing Direct-to-Consumer Marketing to Your Practice or ASC
He began by comparing the traditional model of healthcare delivery to an integrated approach, which Mr. St. Louis said is best suited for direct-to-consumer marketing, because it is most attractive to consumers. "Typical healthcare is fragmented and confusing, not only for the patient but also for the provider. We believe in singular approach; focused centers which deliver a dynamically aligned medical team." In the traditional model, he said, the physician is the customer, there is no to minimal sales or marketing function and care is not integrated. In the integrated model, the patient is the customer and care is aligned, making the experience more convenient for the patient.
For practices or centers that wish to market directly to consumers, Mr. St. Louis provided the following recommendations:
1. Position the center. Find a way to be different than your competitors. "The only way to attract patients is to offer a unique and beneficial service," he said.
2. Generate patient leads. Mr. St. Louis recommends four different channels to market to patients:
- Internet marketing, such as paid online ads, search engine optimization, website development and the testing of messaging and placement of internet ads.
- Offline marketing, such as effectively placed print materials with branded information.
- Seminars, which provide educational information to patients as well as information on your center and services.
- Outside sales. Here, practices market with more traditional, business-to-business sales, where services are marketed to other physicians.
4. Deliver on promises. Once the lead is converted to a patient, the practice must ensure it delivers first-class care in excellent facilities. Additionally, introduce processes that will "wow" patients. This includes the medical component of treatment as well as outstanding customer service. Outstanding customer service will help keep patients and attract new ones. "Make sure you deliver a Ritz-Carlton type of environment," said Mr. St. Louis.
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