Being active in your community by joining local medical organizations, volunteeringwith community groups, regularly attending a place of worship, and joining serviceorganizations increases your visibility and enhances your practice. If you are a goodpublic speaker, contact local civic, religious, and other organizations and offer to speakon a variety of medical topics. Contacting your local television and radio stations andsuggesting specific health topics for talk shows is another idea worth considering.Relationships between the media and physicians do not occur overnight, but the long-term payoffs in practice visibility can be worth the extra effort. Newspaper andtelevision reporters work in a fast-paced environment driven by deadlines, so be sure topromptly return phone calls and be prepared to take 15 minutes out of your afternoonschedule to speak with them. The demand for health related information is rapidlyincreasing and as a physician you have a great opportunity to educate the media and thepublic, while simultaneously promoting your practice.
If public speaking is not your forte, you can write a health column for local newspapersor volunteer to write an employee newsletter column for a local business. Keep thelanguage simple and choose subjects that are of general interest or are timely such aswater safety in the summer or receiving flu shots in the fall.
Organizing a health screening at a community center, shopping mall, or nursing home is agreat way for you and your office staff to meet potential patients. Hosting an open housein your office is another way to meet members of the community. Creating a theme orcelebrating a particular event, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ten years inpractice, or introducing a new partner, bring added attention to the event and your office.Publicize the event well in advance with local newspapers, community groups andschools and inform all of your established patients by giving them a special invitation.
Although paid advertising is increasing for larger health care organizations, itsappropriate use for physician practices is still debated. An advertising campaign isexpensive and requires staff time, but is often used to announce new developments in apractice or provide public education. Physician practices typically advertise in theYellow Pages, however only a few purchase a slightly enlarged ad in the physicianlistings to stand out from others. Some practices also believe using bold type or a boxabout the size of your business card will make your name more prominent. If spacepermits, use your logo and identify special characteristics that set your practice apart,such as weekend office hours or board certification status.
- A practice brochure is another traditional marketing tool that can explain your specialty,services offered, and describe how your practice operates. Keep in mind that a brochureis only an introduction to your practice, so only provide enough information to enticepatients to contact your office for an appointment.
- Designing a logo with the help of a professional is advisable, however with the help ofinexpensive graphics software, many smaller practices are able to enlist the help of afriend or family member. Place your logo on all stationery, business cards, invoices,newsletters, prescription pads, brochures, and signs. You can also place your logo andpractice name on health-related gifts for patients. These items could include telephonestickers and pencils for recording emergency numbers, medical identification bracelets,patient education materials, Bandaids, etc.
- A welcome letter for new residents that includes a copy of your patient brochure, a mapshowing the location of your office, and the hospitals you are affiliated with can generatenew business. Contact real estate agencies in your area to purchase lists of new familiesand mail the packet to each of them.
- The sign outside your office building is an important marketing tool, so select signs thatare clearly visible while not clashing with other signs in the neighborhood. Considerplacing your logo on the sign as well. Once inside your building, be sure that patientscan find your office, and that doors are appropriately labeled, such as: “EmployeesOnly,” “Laboratory,” “ Private,” or “Reception Area”).
Advertising may be regulated by your state Board of Registration in Medicine. hack yourstate medical board to ensure you abide by their ruels and laws:https://www.fsmb.org/contact-a-state-medical-board.You should consider consulting with a private attorney if you need assistance withcompliance.