A year ago we started sharing our marketing successes (and failures) with other urgent care clinics across the country. Now we receive phone calls or e-mails almost every day asking questions like “Does this idea work?” to “Can you help me figure out why our traffic has dropped?” to “I’ve tried everything, what should I do next?”
Here’s the most common question: “What’s the one marketing tactic I should focus on right now?” I wish I had a magic pill for you, but as you suspect, there is no ONE thing you should be focusing on when it comes to marketing. While there is a longer list, here is a nice round formula that’s proven to be successful for many urgent care companies we work with:
This tactic seems like it’s a no-brainer. Yet, it’s the one marketing tactic urgent care clinics rarely utilize. Ask your patients to refer their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and more. Make it easy for them. Business cards should no only be available at the counter, they should be handed to the patient as they leave. Better yet, have your providers give two business cards to every patient. One for the patient and one to give away. We’ve employed several referral tactics over the years that have been very effective.
Don’t forget the primary care physicians. If you approach your relationship with them in the right way, they will see you as an extension of their office services rather than competition. It’s one of the largest sources of referral traffic for our clinics. Ask us how we did it!
Improve Your Digital Presence
Think like a patient. They feel terrible, they can’t get into their primary care physician, what’s the first thing they are going to do? Online search. Patients don’t start by driving around looking for your sign, calling their friends and family or looking for your print ad in the local newspaper. They search. This is where they will find you. So many urgent care websites do this wrong, or not at all. You are failing to capture your fair share of people searching the Internet daily for urgent care. You should leverage all the online tools available from optimizing your website, understanding pay per click campaigns, leveraging social media and reputation management. If you have any questions, give us a call for a no-cost, no-obligation analysis of your online presence.
Manage Your Online Reputation
The first thing a patient does is search online. Once they find you, the second thing they do is glance through your reviews. Most people trust a set of reviews from people they’ve never met. Because systems like Yelp! and Google were developed to solicit honest feedback. Sometimes those reviews are fair, sometimes they aren’t. However, they cannot be removed once they are there. You can only overwhelm them with good reviews. Ask us how we did this for our clinics!
Use Free Publicity
Just sending a press release to your local paper isn’t enough. Improve your chances of getting your press release published by 1) making friends with the editor or the medical beat reporter. You become a great source they can come to for comments on medical stories of all types. 2) Submit story ideas, not press releases. Pitch them stories that are of interest to their readership rather than just a plug for your business.
Be Visible In The Community
It’s important that you become part of your community, in a relevant way to urgent healthcare. For example, our clinics used to sponsor a local Fun Run. Health-related, so it made sense, right? We got a booth that sat next to the chiropractic school (where they gave free sample massages) and a local t-shirt printer.
We were invisible.
Then we volunteered to manage the Fun Run First Aid tent. We sat right at the finish line for the run, instead of blending into the vendor tents. Everyone walked past us, most stopped by. We partnered with a local grocery store to hand out bottles of water. We were a visible part of the event.
Get Out And About
Visit your business neighbors and let them know about the services your offer. They see lots of customers each day and have lots of employees.
Give Back to Local Schools
Your prime target audience is women aged 25 to 55. One of the best ways to get information into their hands is through the local school system. Stop by and get to know those school nurses, volunteer at the school or see if you can send information home as part of a supply packet for the kids (i.e. pencils, rulers, and a handout).
Offer low-cost school, camp or sports physicals. Convenience for a mom can go a long way.
We’ve helped dozens of urgent care clinics across the country build traffic to their practice and loyalty to their brand. We can tell you the number one tactic you should employ is consistency. We’ve seen it with our own clinics. In the past, we’ve reduced our marketing budget to pay for other things. It always results in reduced traffic. Be where your patients are searching, when they are searching and you will thrive.