Western Vascular’s Shauna Allen Offers Tips on Marketing Your Practice
Thinking about starting up a vein practice, or incorporating one into your already established business? With an already saturated market, be advised that finding your edge and branding your name amid the competition can be difficult. To stand out with your marketing campaign, you must be innovative, have the proper marketing collateral, and emphasize your strengths to build and maintain a successful, thriving practice.
How do I market my practice?
Marketing your vein practice is a two-tier process. Of course you want to brand yourself in the community, but working with established physicians is a great way to get referrals—invaluable to a growing business. Start by marketing to existing physicians in the area. This synergistic relationship can be beneficial to both parties and make all the difference with the success of your practice. Introduce them to your specialized services and educate them on how your techniques can benefit their patients. Take care of their patients post-treatment with timely physician-to-physician phone calls, reporting patients’ results, and ensuring and tracking client satisfaction.
Creating a high-quality, compelling brochure that describes your mission statement, while highlighting experience and accolades is an invaluable tool. Use this effective marketing piece by distributing it throughout the community at places such as hair and nail salons, gyms, doctor offices, and pharmacies.
Donate a day of the physician’s time for a “Free Clinic” in the community. That is you can offer testing at a nominal fee for the early diagnosis of venous disease. This is another advantageous way to brand your name at minimal cost.
Distribute, on a regular basis, a professional newsletter demonstrating the cutting-edge technology that your office employs. Use this as an educational tool on the treatment and diagnosing of venous disease and to highlight the latest trends.
Spending money on advertising is pertinent to developing your business. Choose one or two forms of advertisement and repeat…repeat…repeat! The key to a successful ad campaign is to be consistent with advertising. Differentiate yourself by creating an ad that is crisp and targets the appropriate audience. Moreover, make sure the media outlet you choose (magazines, papers, and/or ads) target the audience you want to attract—right age bracket, gender, and income.
What kind of budget do I need?
Deciding how much to budget for advertising really depends not only on the amount of business you would like to acquire, but also the amount that you are willing to spend. Avoid advertising for something that you don’t have the staff or the financial backing to support. Start small and go from there. It is completely plausible to market your practice with even a small budget. Be creative: make a presence at health fairs, pitch your local news station on the idea of doing a small segment on venous disease, submit articles to newspapers.
Magazine ad fees usually depend on distribution and target audience, spending anywhere from $1,500 - $10,000 monthly. Finding the perfect magazine consists of bringing in each candidate and interviewing them specifically for your needs. Remember that these prices are negotiable and that the longer the term, the less expensive the ad should be. Each magazine usually has a graphic design team as an included service. Let them help you come up with some ideas on branding your practice. For a minimal fee, you can purchase your own photography and use the same print on all of your advertisements, logos, and cards to achieve consistent exposure and brand awareness.
Placing an ad in the telephone book is a little less expensive ranging from $400 - $1,500 monthly; however, less people are referring to the phone book for services. One of the most important aspects of your campaign is to have an online presence. This is something you can do yourself, or you can hire a professional to help you create a site. Web designers can be contracted out for around $1,500- $3,000, depending how interactive and elaborate you want the site. Having an eye- catching, user-friendly website is an easy way to introduce your practice, as well as inform readers on company updates. Of course, people of every age are using the internet to help educate themselves and find the best physicians they possibly can. This is a perfect way to inform your readers and tout your physicians.
What do I need to watch out for?
Once you get the patients in the office, make sure that your administration has done the leg work on what is required that is if you opt to take insurance coverage. Insurance companies are finally recognizing the need for venous intervention, though they once considered anything of this nature cosmetic. Some of the latest technology used for varicose veins and venous insufficiency can be quite costly and non-reimbursable if certain rules and regulations are not followed. Each plan and sub-plans have their conservative therapy predetermined and are very inflexible. Log on to the insurance websites or call directly for prerequisites that qualify a patient for medical necessity. It will save you a billing nightmare in the long run.
Tackling the project
This doesn’t have to be a grueling process. It can seem quite overwhelming and very costly, but remember it can be done in small steps. Once the initial plunge has been taken, the rewards are endless. Put your plan in place and stick to your goals and deadlines. Branding is a priority to creating a successful business. We are in a time when the technology of this market practically sells itself. What were once traumatic procedures with extensive recovery times has turned into out-patient “back on your feet the same day” procedures. This makes a vein practice not only successful from a financial standpoint, but the quality of patient care remains a high priority. That, in itself, is your best referral—a patient that tells the world you made a difference!
Shauna Allen is a practice administrator at Western Vascular Institute in Mesa, AZ.