PR – Publicity, Promotion and Media Relations

This blog is adapted from the book, Beautifully Profitable / Forever Profitable, © 2014, by Cheryl Whitman

Medical Practices and spas are increasingly seeing the need for new and effective promotion efforts. Many are turning to public relations – making use of opportunities to tell their stories through the news media – in addition to social networking, the better to get the message out. Both will be covered in greater detail in future blogs.

Typically, professional public relations includes:

  • Identifying, contacting and working with members of the news media to bring favorable attention to you and your practice.
  • Integrated image-building, brand-building and patient-educational publicity programs designed to gain awareness for physician and practice
  • Programs that position the practice leader as an expert in his or her field, and get the news media calling for more information related to breaking news stories
  • Customized or standardized news media relations tools designed and implemented, over time, to connect the doctor (or other client) with the media as the (and their) expert in a specific field
  • Develop a calendar of planned future press outreach efforts, to ensure ongoing progress and growth of the client as a perceived expert
  • Create press releases designed to generate favorable press coverage, and present them to the news media in a way that attracts their favorable attention

Using these techniques and approaches, when executed to a plan and with professional skills, can make a dramatic improvement in a practice’s marketplace image and awareness.  This will, in turn, lead to new opportunities to attract new patients and enhance both revenue and profitability.
Like all marketing, public relations should be seen as an investment, one intended to create a positive return-on-investment.  Done correctly, consistently and over time, PR will generate a positive ROI unless there is something wrong with the practice itself.  If PR doesn’t create a positive ROI, then, something is wrong with the PR program, or with the practice itself.

Marketing

Medical Practices and spas are increasingly creating or enhancing physician marketing and promotional efforts in an efficient fashion. These innovative programs – many addressed in future blogs – are designed to support efforts to increase physician brand image and practice awareness.

They do this through effective marketplace positioning, enhanced brand recognition and marketing-generated prospect interest.   Their goal, directly or indirectly, is to:

  • Increase utilization by existing patients
  • Return former patients to the practice
  • Use word of mouth referrals to attract other patients
  • Use sophisticated marketing techniques to attract new patients
  • Increase traffic, volume, revenue and profitability

Marketing does all of those things, and will be covered extensively in future blogs.

Events

Events are staged to bring people to the Medical Practice office, the spa, or to hear the physician.  Some events are also built around procedures – and the good ones are set up to “close” appointments for those procedures.   These events are increasingly significant as practice-building marketing tools.

This will be covered extensively in future blogs, and there are checklists in the that we will be publishing that you can use to help you implement them.

Before you schedule your event, stop and think about its main purpose.

Identify your goal for the event first. This will help guide your decisions in planning the event.  Are you hosting the event to thank your existing patients, or to attract new ones? Are you launching a new treatment or product and want to create a buzz among a specific target audience, or are you just trying to build marketplace awareness of your brand and your Medical Practice?

Working with your brand and budget, as well as with your desired outcome, you should strive to create an experience that your attendees will remember. In addition to showcasing your products and services, the event should also differentiate your Medical Practice from those of your competition in a positive manner.

Conclusion

These PR, Marketing and promotion/event programs, along with practice management programs, are being designed to improve client conversion rates, increase the rate of patient up-sells with product development and enhance overall operations and efficiency of staff.

Future blogs in this series will delve more deeply into all of these areas, focusing on building the practice through services and products, promotion programs, operational efficiency and dramatic innovation.


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