There are so many ways of driving new clients to your practice.
Marketing is growing industry and is undergoing a seismic revolution. There is a perception that paper adverts are not noticed, we fast forward through TV adverts and use pop-up blockers to get rid of internet adverts. So businesses concentrate on being found on a search – maintaining a good Google rating, with SEO, twitterfeeds, back links, putting up YouTube videos and the rest. Even Podiatry Now has started to print articles on marketing your practice!
Real Time Reception was developed because broadband made it possible to share your diary.
We have a big birthday in 2016 and I have been considering how much has changed in our industry in the last ten years. With broadband we were able to use voip from the outset which saved many thousands of pounds in capital expenditure. At the time that was rare and there were not very many hosted diaries out there so we had one developed from a local software firm.
Since then the whole world has changed, we don’t provide our diary anymore but there are literally hundreds of hosted diaries and hosted telephony is widely available and so much better with superfast broadband. Back in the day the idea of online booking horrified me. I thought “Clients could just book themselves in and not turn up, competitors could maliciously book in, teenagers could make fake bookings” in other words it felt vulnerable. I would still have issues with new customers booking themselves in, but there are ways to manage that, and for repeat bookings it seems sensible to allow patients to manage their booking themselves. Whether they will or not? GP practices find that even with the capability to book online few patients do. So you do still need the back up of the virtual reception service.
The healthcare industry has changed within the NHS and the private sector.
Increasingly clients are using the private sector to access the healthcare they need, with a perception that in the NHS they will have to wait too long, and as the NHS cuts back on AHPs there is greater provision in the private sector. Increasing professionalization in the private sector too; HCPC registration and increased regulation and CPD have encouraged many professionals to up their game, specialise, and become more business oriented.
Different ways to ensure that new clients find your practice are mushrooming.
That’s not to say the old ways don’t still work, -you can’t beat a personal recommendation. Customers still notice a sign outside your clinic, so that when they need you they know which address to look for, they can look you up in Google. And they may be able to book online from there. Local and parish newspapers are still a good option in some areas. But if your target market is the millennial generation you need to be found on-line.
Over the last year or so we’ve come across several platforms that match physicians and patients. Crucial to all these platforms is the volume of medics and of patients, there need to be thousands of medics to cover the whole of the UK with all the services available to thus encourage use of the website by the public making them a very targeted and cost effective way of promoting your practice.
They are a good way of targeting your marketing as the customers will be actively looking for a treatment. A large number and distribution of medics is crucial to encourage use of the website by the public. They are therefore very competitively priced for practitioners and generally free or very low cost to register your profile on, you would pay for bookings. The success of the site will in the end depend on their own marketing.
Prospective patients go to a website enter the treatment they want or the problem they have and the location and they will get a list of practitioners with a profile etc. They can then book directly from the website.
Two that we are impressed with are Medstars and MEDitSimple.
Medstars, founded by 2 doctors, offers a very competitive package for doctors, dentists and regulated AHPs who showcase their profile and expertise on the attractive Medstars platform for free. Patients join-up (also free) and then search for the service they need in the location they want and send a booking request online. This is confirmed, (or refused) by the practitioner within 24 hours. The unique aim of Medstars is to be more than a matching service, and to put personal human connections and transparency at the heart of paid-for and insured healthcare.
Medstars are planning a big PR campaign to become the predominant search and digital healthcare platform in the UK, so look out for their promotional activity in the New Year.
MEDitSimple provides a very similar service connecting doctors and other registered practitioners with patients with an additional service for international clients, finding medics with languages. Appointments are confirmed immediately. Pricing is competitive.
Both packages are driving new clients to your practice, both are worth a look. If you would like to find out more about our services: