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Medical Practice Business And Marketing Articles

Article #21 - Mar. 2011

“12 Essential Elements Of A Medical Practice Business And Marketing System (Plan)”

All wealth derived from business is based on systems.

     Think of a system as a detailed step-by-stem series of separate and individual actions and processes required by everyone in your business entity to perform in order to reach the primary goal or objective you have set.  A marketing system is created in a medical practice to recruit new patients, and retain old patients.
     What you sell to patients are your medical care services.  Unless you have a constant flow of new patients into your medical practice to compensate for the patients leaving your practice, you will need to have an exit plan for your practice.  The strength of your practice, along with profitability and productiveness, is directly dependent on the constant flow of new patients, which far exceeds the loss of old patients.

     The various segments of the marketing system required for efficiency and profitability must all be coordinated for and focused on the one
established goal.

1. Prospective patients-- Permitting new patients to spontaneously show up at your office  on their own recognizance as your only source for new patients is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Increasing medical practice competition demands that you must do your marketing for patients to stay in the game. 

Select a category of patients you want in your practice, narrow it down to a specific person with specific attributes, and persuade them you are the best doctor in town (because you are). If you’re a pediatrician, you serve kids 3 to 16 years old. An obstetrician normally deals with only female patients. Allergists want sneezing patients.

2. Finding prospective patients-- No, you don’t contact every patient within 30 miles from your office—costs too much and is not very productive.  Ask a list company to provide you with a list of 1000 people in your immediate area.  You tell them exactly the description of the patient you want names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, zip codes for. Now you have all the data you need to recruit a percentage of them as patients. Just keep repeating the process to keep the flow of patients coming in.

3. Establish a business and marketing budget-- Diligently, choose the maximum amount of your profits you can spare without compromising your other financial obligations. Until you do this, the two steps above may put you in the poor house. Start with a smaller budget and later increase it when you can afford more, and when you know that the method you are using is working well.

4. Decide on a marketing method-- Direct mail is the most productive by most measurements.  The aim here is to use as many marketing methods as you can afford and which work well for you.  Don’t waste time with a method that accounts for no new patients. Calculate the costs of each method and pick the one to begin with and that you can handle.

5. Create your marketing materials-- Marketing letters and materials must contain all the necessary elements known to persuade a percentage of people to take action and respond to the marketing offer. The process is called copywriting. You can hire it done, or do it yourself if you have the knowledge to do it right.

These are the essential elements of a marketing (your sales letter) letter to patients...

  • Hair raising, fire breathing, headline that draws
    immediate attention

  • Greeting... use person’s name

  • Bulleted list of unique benefits a patient would have at
    your office

  • Testimonials... what others have said about your medical
    practice and you

  • Guarantee issues

  • Offer of a medical service no other doctor is offering... details

  • Why a patient should grab the offer today... unique benefits

  • Rebuttals to potential patient questions that may delay
    their decision

  • Deadline to accept offer

  • Tell them what to do next—“Call for an appointment before
    deadline”... questions

  • Doctor’s name, office address, phone number

  • Repeat summary of the patient benefits for accepting the offer

                    a. Offer a free “get acquainted” visit

                    b. Ask for a referral of friend, relative, neighbor
                        if patient can’t accept offer

                    c. Note indicating they are always welcome to
                        join our practice in the future

                    d. Follow-up mailing in 3 to 6 months to remind
         nbsp;              the list about your practice

6. Send your marketing materials-- Sending marketing mail to your chosen list does not mean the envelope ever gets opened or letters read.  If they get 15 envelopes a day in their mail, which ones will get trashed without being opened and which are interesting enough to open? 

There are well documented tactics that increase the opening rate, which are called “envelope cosmetics” such as doodles on the outside the envelope, urgent or important stamps, postal stamp placed at an angle, a palpable item felt through the envelope walls, and hand written names and addresses. Postcard marketing gets around these barriers.

Always be sure you include all the features necessary to persuade a new potential patient to take action and respond to your offer.

7. Handling contacts made by new patients-- Without a doubt, a potential new patient’s first contact with your office, first impressions, solidifies their decision to become a patient or not. As soon as the office staff member knows the caller is a new patient, there should be an
immediate mind conversion of the employee to that of a person willing to spend the rest of the day with the caller. 

All other duties should instantly be redirected to someone else or put on hold.  You should have a template script written out for all your office staff to follow for new patient contacts. Consistency is important for your
practice image.

8. Appointments for new patients-- New patients should be treated like royalty. Their appointment should be within a few days of their call, unless it’s a serious medical problem.  In that case see them the same day.  Catering to a new patient’s choices is smart... even if it means staying late, or even as a forced fit-in appointment.

9. Obtain old medical records--  Much of the patient’s medical history patients will have difficulty remembering, especially for older patients.  Records can be requested at the time of their first appointment or before.  Electronic medical records will resolve this hassle in the future. Have a system to use to insure you have all the patient medical records.

10. Resources for new patients--  New patients are not aware of what you have available for your regular patients such as information handouts, a brochure promoting your practice, phoned-in prescriptions, educational materials like videos, newsletter the doctor creates monthly, or house calls. Have a process for informing them.

11. Follow-up sequence-- The fact that repeated sequencing of marketing offers increases response rates can’t be denied.  When you send your direct mail marketing letters out to your selected target market of potential patients, don’t quit with one mailing as so many do. In any target group, there are a significant percentage of people who never respond to the
first mailing. 

By repeating your mailing offer every week or so for a couple months your response rate will double or triple. You stop when there are no
more responses.

12. Outrageous Advertising-- Previously considered to be a fools gesture, outrageous marketing or advertising continues to stand out as a profitable means to gain new customers in a world saturated with commoditized marketing methods.  People enjoy and are attracted to unusual and different kinds of offers presented in unusual ways. 

You would be well advised to read Bill Glazer’s new book, “Outrageous Advertising” where he gives over a hundred successful examples you can
copy and try.

Comment about continually promoting your medical practice

     Constructing your personal customized marketing system using marketing strategies to promote your medical practice business is an efficient means of pulling your practice up out of the financial quicksand in any economy that comes along.  A medical practice business composed of business systems to streamline efficiency will free up previous wasted time doing lots and accomplishing little. Consider it an entrepreneur’s shield.

Our resource for learning business systems is readily
available to you.

Links to my articles related to this issue :

The author, Curt Graham, is a highly experienced business and marketing expert, copywriter, and entrepreneur who has been published in various media over 50 years while in medical practice and after.
Discover what it takes for you to reach the optimal limits of your potential in medical practice, and how to do it: Click The Link NOW!

© 2004-2011, Curt Graham M.D., All rights reserved.

 handwritten signature of Dr. Graham

Article #21A


photo Dan kenney 
								riding on a bull

Why People Fail

A series of No B.S.  Articles from Dan Kennedy

"News Flash" 

Britney Spears’ Mother’s Publisher Delays Release Of Her Advice Book, ‘Motherhood,’ In Light Of Britney’s 16 Year Old Sister’s Revelation She Is Pregnant.

No, in case you missed this, it is a real news item. Incredibly, Britney’s mother did have a book of parenting advice and stories from raising Britney coming out, and it was not a “you might be trailer park trash if” joke book. It was intended to be taken seriously, and presumably would be and eventually will be by a media that has become, itself, a bunch of ignorant fools barely able to read teleprompters and in perpetual drool over celebrity.

The fact that this is news at all speaks volumes about the sad state of affairs. But here’s what’s REALLY comical yet also instructive from this three way train wreck –
the mother’s statement expressing puzzlement at her 16 year old’s pregnancy because, quote (honest) “she always came home before curfew.”  You may be smarter than a 5th grader or do math better than a chimp, but are you dumber than Britney’s mother? Laugh. But are you similarly guilty of such stupidity in the operation
of your business? 

Some corollary examples 

Why should I spend all that money sending my customers a monthly newsletter, holiday and birthday cards, postcards every other week and weekly e-mails? They know where we are and what we do. I gave my front desk person the script and even went over it with her.  She’s a good employee who would never steal from me or agree with a customer that my prices are too high and refer them elsewhere or use time at work to shop on the internet. After all, she’s always here on time and never misses a day of work. 

How many more of these can I list? Hundreds. Of dumb assumptions used as excuses, for being cheap in marketing to past customers, negligent in managing employees,
and more. If you can’t see the sameness of these and Britney’s mother’s asinine statement, you’re either being deliberately obtuse or you need an I.Q. transplant.
Get this. NOTHING really “sticks” anymore.

Nothing. With customers, you re-create relationship (or lose it) DAILY. As assets,
they are increasingly perishable. ‘Customer loyalty’ is a fiction. Your ‘story’ is
forgotten even if told repeatedly. They have other things on their little minds, like today’s Britney news up-date. There’s a book titled, I think, ‘Ideas That Stick’ –
orange cover with duct tape; cute; but I do tend to forget and jumble its title. It definitely contains useful info about trying to make ideas stick, but even using every known strategy, you will only get stickiness, not permanent stuckedness. 

With staff, the entire job is forgotten every weekend, the relationship with you is inherently adversarial, familiarity and longevity breed contempt, you never get what you don’t constantly inspect, your rules are viewed as arbitrary. In Lombardi’s day, players wore coats and ties in public because Vince said so. Today, Jimmy Johnson (who exited coaching) says, at the pro level, when the player is paid a fortune, he’ll
do nothing without being sold on why it ought to be done, micro-policed in order to remind him to do it, and then it’s a 50-50 shot. What should be isn’t.

To prosper you must adopt that as creed and act accordingly. Or you’ll be explaining your missed targets, lost profits, lost customers, mess evolved behind your back and even ultimate failure with statements as dumb as Britney’s mom’s.

The WHY PEOPLE FAIL articles are provided by Dan S. Kennedy, serial entrepreneur, from-scratch multi-millionaire, speaker, consultant, coach, author of 13 books including the No B.S. series (, and editor of The No B.S. Marketing Letter. WE HAVE ARRANGED A SPECIAL FREE GIFT FROM DAN FOR YOU including a 2-Month Free Membership in Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, newsletters, audio CD’s and more: for information and to register, visit:


Articles © 2008/Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle LLC. All rights reserved.



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