Gone are the days when world-class doctors, reputation and referrals alone were enough for medical practices to have a steady flow of patients walking through the door.

 

In the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, doctors need to be smart and savvy when it comes to medical marketing. They need to use marketing strategies and tactics that will attract and retain new patients, reduce attrition and help their practices grow.

 

Here, read on for 6 proven ways to use marketing to grow your medical practice this year.

 

1. Create content

According to a report by Healthcare Insight, approximately 73 percent of healthcare marketers use content marketing and for good reason.

 

Posting well-researched, engaging content at least two to three times a week is one of the best ways to market to both new and existing patients.

 

But don’t stop at your blog. Offer a free report to those who opt-in to your mailing list, an e-book or post regular videos.

 

2. Strategically use social media

 

You might think that Facebook is the best place to share content and advertise, but that might not be the best channel to market your practice.

 

First find out where your current and prospective patients hang out. If you’re trying to market to those between 18 and 29 years old, Facebook is probably the way to go, but not so for Medicare patients, for example.

 

3. Show off

When patients look for a new doctor, they crave authenticity, transparency and trust. Referrals are always best but if they’re searching online, they’ll look for reviews and what people say on social media.

 

Testimonials can help too, and although many medical practices will include them on their websites, most fail to include stories, or case studies, about how they helped a patient find a cure for their fatigue or prevent a heart attack, for example.

 

4. Host an event.

When patients have the opportunity to meet their physicians, they’ll feel more comfortable with receiving care.

 

In fact, 85 percent of people said it’s important to have a doctor who listens to them and 71 percent said they want a doctor who is caring and compassionate, a study in the Journal of Participatory Medicine found.

 

Aim to have an event at least once a month at your practice, at the local chamber of commerce office or the local library.

 

Host casual meet and greets and special events to present a timely and relevant topic that your patients want to know, such as “5 Myths About IVF,” or “How to Optimize Your Fertility.”

 

Cater the food and wine, have a raffle and ask everyone to bring a friend to increase your referrals.

 

5. Send direct mail.

 

Direct mail is not dead. In fact, in 2015, direct mail volume was down but data spend saw an increase. Take advantage of newcomer’s clubs or purchase lists and send a letter and a brochure about your practice.

 

Although you may not see an immediate flood of calls, people keep paper and will call when they need you. Include information about the doctors, their services and what patients can expect.

 

6. Keep in touch.

 

Medical practices need to think like brands and make patient loyalty a priority. Patients want to feel that their physicians actually care so think about special opportunities throughout the year to keep patients engaged.

 

Send cards for birthdays and anniversaries, SMS or direct mail reminders for annual wellness visits, mammograms and prostate screenings or a monthly newsletter with targeted health tips.