There were broadly different budgets and objectives between private medical practices, but we've found fundamental marketing principles that contribute to creating successful medical practices. We've narrowed down these principles to five major qualities. In our experience, every successful practice has at least four qualities of these five:
1) Understanding Marketing as an Investment: It takes money to make money. Marketing is an investment, and successful practices will invest in a consistent series of experiments to be measured. Don't put too much stock into your gut feelings about the market, your colleague's suggestions, or the charm of a sales rep. It's important to test your hypothesis to achieve real results.
2) Measure Everything: Marketing is a science, and good marketing practitioners are good scientists. They experiment and they track results. Successful practices run quarterly reports (at the very least) to highlight strategies that work and deserve larger investments, and detect strategies that aren't working and should be scaled back or turned off completely.
3) Leverage Patient Reviews Like Currency: There's an ethical and effective way to "game" most review systems in a practice's favor, but it takes strong adherence to ethical guidelines, understanding of the basic mechanics behind online reviews, and patience. Don't just associate online reviews as an obstacle for your practice, because most successful practices embrace and leverage them.
4) Automate Your Marketing: Make your marketing work for you, not the other way around. For example, practices with effective social strategies have invested in marketing software that integrates with Facebook, which automates Facebook sharing throughout your patient's networks. Instead of building a Fan Page or extolling your patients to "share" your practice on Yelp, see if you can automate social media "sharing" and test the results. Apps like Buffer and Zootrock can make this so much easier. You'll come to one of two valuable conclusions: automation sharply increases the effectiveness of your practice's social marketing, or social might not be the best way to increase your practice's reach with future patients.
5) Evolve Your Strategies: Marketing changes constantly regardless of the vertical. New strategies and optimizations come out every quarter, and the successful practices are the ones that stay ahead of the curve. Five years ago, PPC (pay per click) advertising meant nothing to doctors. Now, most doctors know what PPC can do for their practice, but they have no idea what impression-based advertising is or what drip campaigns are. Experiment and research new ways to reach out to your patients, and you'll always have fresh and successful marketing that funnels patients right into your waiting room.