By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
We don’t want this post to sound like a rant…so we’ll keep our criticism to constructive tips (and only vent a little). It’s about marketing-smart healthcare practice and medical facility names…and by extension, their exterior signage (or lack of it). To be blunt, eight out of 10 times it’s wrong.
The root of our two-fold frustration is the lost marketing opportunity and the waste of limited resources. Practice names, and the signs on the street, simply don’t communicate, or they convey little or no meaningful message. Worse, we often visit practice locations where there is no sign at all. (At least we didn’t find it.)
Generally, it’s the private practices, medical groups and dental offices that more often miss the marketing boat, and less so the hospitals and larger medical facilities. Perhaps the latter ones have better healthcare marketing advice and planning. But regardless of the size of the business, we offer the following instructive counsel for all.
Quick Tips about a Practice Name
- The name you use is a big part of your branding message. To oversimplify a little, branding is part of everything you do. And often the first thing the public (and prospective patients) hears or knows is the name of the medical practice, health systems, hospital or other healthcare entity. Don’t dismiss the name of the business as simply a clerical convenience. It’s a linchpin for all that the public attaches to the practice.
- A benefit-based name is more memorable. A typical naming convention is using only a personal name…and it’s a classic pitfall. Sorry, but “Dr. Arnold B. Longlastname” is essentially meaningless to the public. (Surprisingly, the doctor’s profession is often omitted.) What prospective patients—individuals with a current or future need—want to know is “what can you do for me?” People understand and retain a concept of what benefits them personally.
Quick Tips about Names on a Sign
- Exterior signs may be your best marketing investment. Dollar for dollar, a marketing-driven exterior sign will, in most situations, can produce the highest Return-on-Investment. Although quality signs are not inexpensive, they have a long working lifetime and, done right, can continuously contribute to new business. The best use of all signage opportunity should be a high priority.
- Use plain-speak. Sadly, signs written in haste by doctors (or sign fabricators) use professional, medical or dental terms that read like a multi-syllable Curriculum Vitae. What’s correct and what communicates are vastly different. See the bit above about benefits and use ordinary people words, not doctor talk.
For more help, read the DOs and DON’Ts of Creating a Marketing-Smart Practice Name and other instructional medical marketing articles in our free, online library [here].