According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the average medical practice spends 15% of its annual revenue on advertising and marketing.
That's more than twice what many other small businesses spend. It’s understandable that doctors feel pressure to invest significant resources in their marketing. But just because most practices are doing it doesn't mean they should keep doing it. This is especially true if they don't have an expert on staff who can run these campaigns for them.
Marketing is crucial for private practices, but there's something nobody is talking about: how much time it takes to do marketing well.
The X-Factor: How Much Time Does Your Marketing Take You?
Here's a hard truth: doctors are often not very good at marketing their practices.
This is understandable. Doctors haven't trained in marketing in medical school, and many doctors don't have a dedicated marketing person on staff. Marketing tasks often fall on practice administrators or other staff who don't have a background in marketing. Worse still, sometimes marketing responsibilities fall on the doctor themselves.
The focus with healthcare marketing is on results: how many leads are in your pipeline? How many of those leads converted into patients? How full is your surgery schedule?
On its face, this is fine. But once you've hit your goals, the focus should be on leveraging profits. This is how practices get their "marketing flywheel" spinning. The key to getting your flywheel spinning is to re-invest in what's working best to increase ROI and get more patients.
There are many approaches practices take to improve their marketing. Let's look at a few.
Different Approaches to Managing Your Healthcare Practice Marketing
There are many approaches to managing your healthcare marketing.
One way is the DIY approach. You do everything yourself. The problem with this is that you're likely already short on time. There aren't enough hours in the day to see patients and manage your staff, let alone do marketing well.
Another problem is that of expertise. Did you study practice marketing in medical school? Probably not.
If you're lucky enough to have a marketing specialist on staff, they almost certainly have other responsibilities.
Is their time really best spent digging into the details of what's working and what's not?
Managing all your campaigns?
Dealing with the inevitable problems that crop up?
Or is their time best spent on strategy and new techniques to attract more patients?
Marketing isn't something where you can throw something out there and hope it resonates. The cost is too high: if you don't do it well, you're throwing money down the drain. You need positive ROI. You need effective campaigns that produce quality leads and convert them into patients.
One way that many practices do this is by outsourcing their marketing to experts who know what they're doing.
A Different Way to Market Your Practice
Outsourcing marketing is the one thing that many of the most successful practices have in common. They re-invest profits from marketing into strategies that free up even more time and produce more revenue.
More time + more revenue = more margin.
This is a winning formula for practice growth.
If you had been doing marketing yourself, outsourcing means more time to focus on patients and the business aspects of your practice.
If you employ a marketing specialist, outsourcing can give them more time to think about strategy. It can free up time so they can focus on what only they can uniquely contribute to your practice.
Oftentimes, outsourcing is less expensive, improves ROI, and frees up valuable time that you should be spending on other things.
Healthcare marketing is a complex process that requires an understanding of how people think and behave. Too often, doctors don't have someone on their staff qualified to handle this.
Healthcare marketers are experts because they know how to think like your patients. What will grab their attention? What makes them tick? How can you get them into your funnel so they come in for a visit?
Outsourcing your marketing can free up time for both you and your staff while improving ROI by working with a trusted healthcare agency.
The thing that nobody talks about when it comes to healthcare marketing? Time.
Marketing a practice well takes a lot of time, and your time is likely better spent on other things.
So when you're thinking about how to grow your practice, consider how much time it takes you. Think about the opportunity cost. Are you better off doing it yourself? Or are you better off increasing ROI by putting your marketing in the hands of a trusted firm that can help you get more time back and get more patients, too?
You may be surprised at how much time you can save.