Does Marketing Make The Podiatrist Or Does Reputation Make The Podiatrist?
- Kathleen Satterfield DPM FACFAOM
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There are two camps of podiatrists: those who have formal practices and those who are physicians but are business and marketing-minded as well.
The latter do what it takes to bring the patients in the door and keep them coming in. The former put their names on the door and let their reputations do the advertising for them. These are the speakers, educators and book editors in our profession. Incidentally, they do not usually make much money in a lifetime. They may say that their riches are in the form of their students and publication, and not in their bank accounts.
The best podiatric physician is, unfortunately, not always the most financially successful one. (Granted, there are significant exceptions that everyone can name.)
Maybe the best of the best is somewhere in the middle. Remember this classic piece of advice: While you cannot always guarantee a cure, you can always guarantee satisfaction.
The most financially successful podiatrist I know is an excellent podiatrist, both medically and surgically, but she is an even more outstanding marketing professional. She is able to serve her patients’ every need — diabetic care, forefoot and rearfoot surgeries, shoes, cosmetic needs and even offers a medically-based pedicure salon.
Her secret? Word of mouth and incredible marketing. She has a dynamic Web site, writes a blog to her patients, pens newsletters, offers referral fees to incentivize her patients and more.
Another successful podiatrist I know holds monthly open houses for his patients with wine and cheese, and gift bags provided by local companies that would like to reach the same demographics he reaches.
What about the other podiatrists, the ones who let their reputations do their advertising? They would never do these marketing efforts. I equate it to visiting an oncologist who just told you that you have a difficult disease to manage. Would he then hand you a gift bag? No, he would not but it would be appropriate for his office staff to have that type of relationship with a patient.
In the end, there is a way to success for all of us, whether we prefer being a straight-laced, no-nonsense podiatrist or a freewheeling, comfortable-with-marketing type. With patients choosing between healthcare or other essentials, marketing to patients just makes plain good sense.