We examined the concept of internal marketing for healthcare practices in a previous blog. Let’s turn our attention now to the concept of external marketing for healthcare practices. Simply stated, [external marketing] for healthcare practices is any activity or event done outside the walls of your office to promote your practice. The most effective marketing strategies utilize a combination of internal and external marketing for practice success.
What are some examples of external marketing for healthcare practices? Effective and attractive business cards and brochures you give to prospective patients at events…a healthcare talk or series of healthcare talks hosted off-site…providing services at an athletic event…sponsoring a 5K…and so on. (Remember, don’t get caught up in the labeling because it is possible for an item or activity to be used for internal and external marketing.)
When establishing your marketing calendar each year, start by scheduling one external and one internal marketing event or activity each month. You may be tempted to schedule more than one of each, but resist the temptation. Consequently, you may overwhelm yourself, your staff, or your available resources. Then when the event occurs, you’ll likely be exhausted and unable to project the best image of your practice. You can always add more activities and events to your calendar throughout the year as your resources and energy permit.
Once the events are scheduled you can begin the planning process. Create a system to organize all your event information and materials. Try a 3-ring binder or a digital folder structure, depending on your preference. This way, the next time you host the same (or similar) event, you don’t have to start from scratch! Establish reasonable goals for what you hope to accomplish with your marketing activity (i.e.: New patients, increased awareness, raise money for a charity, etc.). Determine how you’ll track the progress of those goals. Research, collaborate, delegate, and modify as needed.
Finally, with proper preparation, you can relax and enjoy the event when the day arrives. Afterwards, debrief with staff and volunteers. (If you can get feedback from participants that’s even better!) Discuss what went well, what could have gone better, and what to change for next time.
I’d love to hear from you! What types of events and activities does your practice do for external marketing? Share your most creative and successful ideas in the comments section below!
For more information on building community connections, I encourage you to read my new book Community Connections! Relationship Marketing for Healthcare Professionals. If you want more valuable information about how to Connect with YOUR Community, you can find FREE healthcare practice marketing content, PowerPoint Presentation Jumpstart Kits, workbooks, blog articles, and my FREE “Practice Marketing Planner” Now!