You probably spend more time focusing on the care you provide than thinking about promoting it to potential patients and prospective new surgeons, but getting the word out about all your facility has to offer is critical to its future success. Before jumping headfirst into marketing your surgical services, however, dedicate some time to answering these important questions, which will guide your promotional strategy.
1What's the end game? The more you put into marketing, the more you'll get out of it (see "6 Building Blocks of Effective Marketing" on page 14). I recommend against spaghetti marketing — throwing different strategies against the wall to see what sticks. Consider working with a marketing professional who can implement a multifaceted promotional plan. One piece of advice: Look elsewhere if a marketer starts giving advice within the first 5 minutes of your initial meeting. Anyone who rushes to provide a marketing strategy without first listening to your objectives isn't willing to learn about the specific needs of your facility or develop an individualized plan for meeting your goals.
2What's your brand? If you're like most amateur marketers, you believe branding involves redesigns of your facility's logo, brochures and website. Those elements make up your facility's brand identity, but branding entails examining the overall reputation of your facility and the entire experience patients have when they visit and interact with your staff. Is the waiting room clean, accommodating, stocked with refreshments and filled with current magazines? How do staff members greet patients on the phone? You can improve the marketing of your center with very little investment simply by focusing on the little things that enhance the patient experience.
3What's your budget? The cost of a marketing campaign can vary, from $2,000 to upwards of $20,000 a month, depending on your goals and intended outreach. The unsophisticated physician-owner says, $20,000 to promote the center, are you nuts? The sophisticated surgeon thinks, $20,000? If I get a 4-to-1 ROI, I'll pay that every month. Marketing isn't measured by how much you spend; it's measured by how much you make on how much you spend. That's a key concept to get.