Huge egos, unapproachable, know-it-all individuals… Medical professionals are a very difficult category of people to deal with.
I find that these types of generalizations are always dangerous.
Obviously, there are MDs who match the description above and I have encountered some of these individuals, too. However, there are loads of doctors, surgeons and dentists running hospitals, practices and businesses of all sizes who are super approachable and amazingly intelligent. They are wholehearted individuals looking to help as many people as possible in a world that seems to be falling victim to “epidemics” such as diabetes, cancer or Alzheimer. These are most certainly the medical professionals I love to surround myself with and I’ve been fortunate to work with.
Medicine has been one of my big passions since childhood. I love to read, listen to and watch documentaries about state-of-the-art surgeries and new discoveries that go beyond traditional med know-how. I go to conferences and relevant trade shows all over the world. And it’s also one of the main reasons why I decided to take my scuba diving knowledge to the next level by joining the community of rescue divers.
MDs and dentists make up an important percentage of my clientele. They offer quite unique portfolios of services and procedures enriching my life as a marketing consultant by constantly empowering me to try new marketing strategies and techniques that go beyond mainstream approaches. They also fuel my hunger for testing out new paths and roads less traveled and allow me to build more robust bridges between the offline and online marketing world.
Medical professionals who are in charge of their own businesses face a lot of challenges. Just like us marketers, they are human beings, entrepreneurs and small business owners with their own set of problems.
Before I reveal to you the three most common marketing mistakes medical professionals I’ve worked with make, let’s have a closer look at the groups of people who are most likely to benefit from these insights.
Who Is This For?
- MDs/doctors, surgeons and dentists with private practices and hospitals, medical professionals/ doctors who want to start their own business.
- Those of you who work with doctors and dentists, who represent your main target audience or one of your ideal client groups in terms of profession.
- Small business owners who operate in other related or unrelated industries and who are open and willing to learn from the marketing mistakes of other professionals.
The Three Most Common Marketing Mistakes Made By Medical Professionals
#1. Marketing Mistake: Focusing on everybody in pain without putting extra attention onto the most valuable patients
A lot of doctors and dentists with private practices run their businesses according to the premise that: “everybody in pain is my patient”.
Often times they don’t know who their most valuable patients are or how to narrow down their target audience to allow them to focus their marketing efforts on a larger group made up of their ideal patients.
Let’s say you have a private practice for urology and you are committed to providing state-of-the-art kidney stone removal surgeries and procedures. Your patients include teenagers, pregnant women with kidney stones and adult men from all age groups.
After thoroughly analyzing your patients’ portfolio you come to the conclusion that your ideal patients are men aged 45-55 who have developed kidney stones due to unhealthy drinking habits. If this is the group of people who is most valuable to your business, then they should be marketed to differently.
#2. Marketing Mistake: Perfecting clinical procedures without clearly communicating uniqueness and relevance of private practice (business)
Unfortunately, a lot of medical professionals don’t know how to articulate what sets them apart from the rest of their fellow doctors.
They think that providing an excellent service and the world’s latest medical procedure is enough in today’s day and age to build a community of loyal patients that will stick around long enough for them to develop and more importantly, maintain a thriving business.
Let’s say you’re a dentist and your ideal patients are kids aged 5-8. We all know how kids hate going to the dentist. To turn the appointment into a positive encounter, you could provide a one-of-a-kind experience for both kids and parents by making your waiting room look like a rainforest with all kinds of wild animals. Your dentist chair could have the shape of an elephant or a lion thus distracting kids’ attention from the procedure and giving you more space to perform the treatment.
Happy patients mean more appointments and healthy margins.
#3. Marketing Mistake: Spending money on advertising without first having a referral system in place
Word of mouth is, to this date, the most powerful marketing instrument on the planet. Yet so few small business owners including medical professionals use it to their advantage.
Some may have one or two ways of gathering referrals but very few have a proper referral system in place that generates new patients (clients) consistently and predictably.
Instead, they pour their hard earned marketing dollars into fancy advertising campaigns, thinking that radio spots, Facebook ads or Google AdWords will solve all their marketing problems.
Let the Challenges Medical Professionals Have Fuel Your Hunger for Sophisticated Marketing Systems
Working with medical professionals has been very rewarding for me and my team.
The numerous challenges different medical specialists face, have opened new marketing frontiers we otherwise would never have explored. The consulting sessions and meetings have inspired us to go beyond mainstream marketing and try new, non-conventional techniques and tactics while sticking to the laws of direct response marketing.
Having a diverse client portfolio and providing services to a wide range of industries certainly puts us into a position of strength. This is one of the reasons why I’m a huge advocate of working with knowledgeable professionals and business owners that are result-oriented and enjoy helping people from all walks of life.
What marketing mistakes have you seen medical professionals and small business owners make in your industry?