By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
If a patient on medication for depression started to feel better, should she go off her meds? Should someone experiencing relief from strep throat throw out the remaining antibiotics? Of course not.
From time to time, we hear from clients that their current patient volume is just fine. They’re ready to stop the marketing and go it alone. But we’re here to tell you that it’s like going off your (marketing) meds. Don’t do it unless you’re prepared for the consequences!
The Downward Spiral
When a patient feels well enough to go off her meds, she might feel confident, in the beginning, that she’s made the right decision.
But before too long, the symptoms kick back in. She may feel symptoms all at once, or they might come slowly with time. Regardless, acting against her doctor’s wishes turns out to be more complicated than she’d realized.
The same is true of your marketing.
Let’s say you’ve been working with an advertising agency for about a year. The new patient calls are so frequent, your doctors are booked out for weeks.
So, you decide, you’re ready to cut ties with your agency.
Eventually, patients can be lured away by the competition. You may lose a major referral source or two. And by the time you have a near-empty patient database, you’re scrambling to find a marketing company that can make things happen—fast.
It can take some time to see the negative effects. But without a backup plan in place, you risk a downward spiral from your marketing withdrawal.
Building Momentum Back Up
Once a patient quits taking meds, it may take time to work back up to the right dosage.
In this time, there may be some highs, but there are likely to be a lot of lows before the medication starts to balance back out.
Well, guess what—the same is true of your marketing.
It takes time to build up momentum, whether you’re brand new to marketing or you’ve put your marketing on hiatus for a year or two.
For example, search engine optimization (SEO) takes time to build out, and taking a year off of posting blogs and optimizing your website can result in poor Google rankings that take months to build back up.
Quitting your marketing because you feel it’s working too well is going to be more trouble than it’s worth. Trust us—you don’t want to wait until you’re without patients altogether before you realize you need to do something about it.
If the Marketing’s Working…
If the meds are working, stick with them! And if the marketing is working, stick with it—but always be open to trying new things.
A change in diet and exercise, vitamin supplements, and other techniques can assist a patient dealing with chronic pain or mental health disorders. This gives the patient the chance to go beyond “normal” and feel their very best.
Similarly, if the marketing is working, don’t be afraid to try new things to supplement your success. Try promoting a different service line or treatment option, or consider reaching out to a new demographic.
In the end, healthcare is a business. And growing your business can only bring positive change to your community—helping you change more lives each day.
If the Marketing’s Not Working…
If the marketing’s not working, on the other hand, it’s time for a new prescription. There’s more than one way to advertise a healthcare business, and it’s important to research and experiment in order to find the right strategy for your area.
- If you’re mainly using traditional media marketing, try moving into the digital sphere—and vice versa.
- If you’re primarily physician referred, consider hiring a physician liaison who’s primary job is to build referrals and keep the referrals you already have.
- Or, consider moving to a cash-pay system for some of your service lines.
- Not seeing enough traffic from SEO? Try paid digital advertising on Google, Bing, Facebook, and other platforms.
- Not seeing results from your PPC (pay-per-click) ads? Test new keywords or build a new landing page to link to your ads.
If the (marketing) medicine’s not working, it’s time to try something new. And if you’re working with a marketing company that sticks with the status quo, it’s time to find someone new.
Your Marketing Medicine: Stick with the Right Prescription
The right marketing company will listen to your needs and help you find strategies that grow your business or help maintain your current patient volume.
They’ll adjust your marketing meds and help you find a prescription that works for your hospital, practice, or corporation.
Call the marketing strategists at 800-656-0907 to find the strategy that’s right for you.