The medical community tends to separate the term customer from patient. Something about this reality causes an uneasy feeling in a doctor. My opinion is, this is because they entered into the medical field to help and heal not market and sell their services. I have even been corrected during presentations that “my patients are not my clients”. The problem with this thinking is the delivery of health care is indeed a service based business, and your patients are indeed your customers that choose to receive their healthcare from you. Once you understand this, you remove a major obstacle to growth allowing you to structure your marketing strategy to draw more patients to your medical team.
Who Is Your Customer
Assuming everyone is your customer is a mistake. You marketing message will be diluted. This will waste a lot of money and effort resulting in unproductive results. You don’t have to appeal to everyone. You only need to focus on gaining the attention of those that care about what you are offering.
Who Cares About Your Business
Determining what groups will make up your customer base starts with some introspection. If you are able to do what you like with people you enjoy spending time with you will experience a lot of joy during your work day. This idea may seem silly since we all need to do things everyday that we don’t want to, but by spending the majority of your day on activities that excite you while interacting with interesting people you will find a higher level of productivity and satisfaction in your work.
What Do You Like To Do
Don’t mistake my idea to mean you only need to do the things you like with people you like. This is not reality, though you can get to a point that you effectively hire and outsource the tasks and interactions you want to avoid. Think about what got you into medicine. What do you love about what you do? Are there techniques or tools you enjoy using? What do you find challenging? Where would you like to learn more to implement additional services? Answering questions like these will allow you to design your day in a way that builds from your strengths.
Who Do You Like To Hangout With
Seems like a ridiculous notion, right? Listen, you will always have a few patients that are difficult for you to work with, so you should focus on structuring your clinic to appeal to the populations you enjoy working with. Before you start ordering new wall art for the waiting room, think about this idea. What are your interests? What are your friends like? How do you enjoy spending your time? Is there something you are passionate about? Understanding what you like is key here. It makes it easier to attract a “fan base” and increases your willingness to do social and community events for your business.
Who Do You Help the Most
Now that you have determined what you like to do best, and who you enjoy spending time with, you need to ask yourself who benefits the most from your services. This is the person most suited to what you are offering. You don’t want to be in the business of offering medical services that don’t get results and no one is interested in. Where do you shine in your work? Who are the patients that keep thanking you and tell everyone they can about you? (I hope you ask them for referrals!).
Find the Overlap of All 3
If you determined what you like to do, who you like being around, and how you can best help them, you are on your way to a different way of working and marketing. Think about the value this type of structure offers. You will be in a better mood more often, you will be able to relate and understand your patient at a much deeper level, and you will be capitalizing on the things you are most successful with. I hope by now you can see how this approach can reduce frustration and burn out with medical professionals and improve patient outcomes.
Attract More Patients
Now that you know who you should be working with, you need to find them. We advocate focusing on your “ideal customer” here. This means not trying to recruit anyone and everyone. We even recommend referring out those that do not fit this profile. You should never discriminate or refuse care, but have a list of colleagues and other services that will better serve these unintended inquiries. In addition to a focused marketing message, have a process to qualify and screen patients so you can to focus on serving the ones you are looking for.
Know All You Can About Your Prospective Patients
Everything matters in this sense. You need to know the demographics, geographics, and psychographics. The demographic information will explain to you “who” the person is, while the geographic details will tell you where they live, work, and spend their time. Psychographics are more about what the person thinks and feels. Here are some questions to ask to understand more about your customer, but understand the more you know about them the easier the marketing is.
- Marital Status
- Education level
- Where they live
- Where they work
- Where they spend leisure time
- Likes / Dislikes
- Philosophies & Beliefs
- Social Causes
Reach Out and Let Them Know
This may seem like a lot of planning, but it is necessary for a successful marketing strategy. This research gives you insight into where to advertise your message to get the most attention from your ideal customer. It also guides decisions on what copy you should test and which social platforms you should focus on. This research will benefit you beyond marketing, sales, and profits. You will have an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of your patient and their life demands enabling you to foster a doctor-patient relationship that leads to greater trust and better patient outcomes.