How To Market Your Practice Via The Office Brochure
- Volume 16 - Issue 11 - November 2003
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The office brochure is an effective and comparatively inexpensive method for both internal and external marketing of your practice. With the advent of desktop publishing, almost anyone with a computer and a few hours can design, write and edit the brochure. Once it is printed, you can use the brochure to promote your practice effectively to present and future patients, referring physicians and insurance companies.
However, to be successful, you must understand certain concepts such as color, paper weight, font and layout. At one time, an office brochure was considered a tool for only the most upscale practices. Design costs alone made a brochure a fairly expensive method of marketing, especially when the practice wanted to be able to change the design and information on a regular basis. With the development of desktop publishing, a brochure can now be an inexpensive and effective device to promote a practice to those both inside and outside of your office.
The right brochure imparts a sense that your practice is professional, up-to-date, efficient and caring, even before a patient reads the information it contains. The brochure is an effective way to communicate with your patients. In today’s healthcare marketplace, you have at least three kinds of customers:
• the patient and his/her friends and family;
• the referring physician; and
• the insurance companies or managed care organizations.
Without marketing to all three groups, your practice may be destined to achieving less financial success than is desired. A well-assembled office brochure is an easy way to market to all three at the same time. After the first printing is completed, this can all be done in a relatively inexpensive manner.
How Brochures Foster Internal And External Marketing
Send the brochure to new patients to confirm their appointments. Don’t just leave a pile in the reception room. Hand the brochure to each new patient when he or she checks in and write their names on the brochures beforehand. If you personalize it, it won’t be left in the office or dropped in the trash. Offer it to each established patient when he or she leaves. Say the patient’s name when you hand it to him or her. You want patients to think “this brochure is specifically for me.”
A brochure can be an important part of your external marketing. Patients will show the booklet to their friends, family and co-workers. Although it is true that many of these brochures may end up in the parking lot, some of the patients may re-read and discuss them. Many will take them home.
Give a supply of the brochures to referring physicians. Physicians always search for reliable colleagues to whom they can refer and they will appreciate being able to pass along information about your practice to the patients they send you. Patients feel much more comfortable at the first visit if they know something about you. Include your credentials, hobbies and even a photo.
A memorable brochure may impress health plans. When people ask them to recommend a physician, the image projected by your informational material may tip the balance in your favor, resulting in a referral. Often, health plans are opened to only a limited number of specialists and the brochure can be instrumental in their selection process. It implies that you have taken an extra step to inform patients about yourself.
Internal marketing is directed to the patient who is already a part of your practice and has already expressed an interest in you and utilizing the resources that you offer. The brochure allows you to advise patients of specialized services you have to offer that may not otherwise be apparent. It will answer questions about training and certifications. Perhaps a patient who shares your outside interests is also a member of Kiwanis or is a Girl Scouts den mother. This establishes an invaluable link. Sharing your hobbies and activities helps the patient know you as a person.