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Medical providers typically have a hard time finding the resources to spend on marketing for their medical practice.  With the recent changes in healthcare, more and more medical practices are finding the need to aggressively market their practice to the community. Unless the practice has a large marketing budget, they are most likely not going to be able to achieve all of their marketing plan goals initially. That said, even the smallest dollar amount committed to marketing means nothing if your staff is not tracking the efficacy of your marketing initiatives.

How to Effectively Track Marketing – Ask Questions!

Any marketing initiative starts with the desire to grow. Once a marketing strategy is implemented, it is important for the practice to follow any incoming leads generated from a campaign to accurately track its success or failure.

Here is an example:

Dr. Brown wants to make an impact in his community and runs an ad in his local paper while simultaneously running a series of radio spots. He then sits back and waits for the phone to ring. The phone does ring, perhaps a little more than typical. Patients are booked and seen by he and his great staff. The mistake that was made by Dr. Brown is that he did not have an effective marketing tracking system in place. Therefore, he was unaware of where his patients were coming from before the ad campaigns, and is still unaware of whether they came from his radio or newspaper ads, the internet, or a friend, because the callers were never asked how they found the practice!

If you are going to spend money on marketing, it is vital that you track your work. By showing a return on your investment, you can remove marketing campaigns that are ineffective. This allows you to spend your money where you make the greatest impact.

The biggest challenge businesses in general experience is getting buy-in and commitment from the staff on effectively tracking all marketing initiatives. If you staff is not asking every caller or person who walks in, how they heard about you, you are not marketing wisely. It is imperative that all members of the staff ask this simple question. It is also important to dig a little deeper when necessary. This means not just accepting “radio” or “internet” as an answer. Here’s why:

Over the past year, a client of MindStream Creative’s tested marketing efficacy on several local radio stations. Thankfully, the staff tracks all inquiries exceptionally well. If a caller said they heard about them through the radio, the staff then asked what station. From these efforts we were able to determine that only one radio station actually generated a substantial return on their investment. This allowed us to plan better for 2011 and not include marketing campaigns that were ineffective in 2010.

Even if you are not currently marketing your practice, it is important to know where your patients are coming from. Keep track of this through a contact management system (CMS)and run a report monthly. Add the current ways patients can find you to your CMS to ensure staff has the ability to choose the correct item from the available choices. If you are running ads on multiple radio stations, list each station separately rather than just listing “radio” as a menu option. This again, ensures you are effectively tracking patients.

Take a proactive stance and find out how patients are finding you. This simple step can save your practice thousands of dollars each year!