Push vs. Pulling Patients to Your Practice
Medical marketing can be a difficult arena, especially since the competition for local patients has been increasing among private practices. The ‘push’ method is an outdated approach to marketing and advertising in which you are pushing your product or service onto the patient.
The ‘push’ method goes something like this:
- Push messages out through your preferred channel, typically TV or radio.
- Hope those messages stick.
- Hope that the consumers take action.
Push marketing works, but it’s expensive. Effective push marketing requires being the best pusher, meaning you have the most money, the least competition, and the advantage of scarcity. However, if you're competing with other companies (and you aren't the biggest one), this method becomes ineffective and it’s unlikely that you will reach your intended audience.
How Does the ‘Pull’ Strategy Work?
If you're looking to improve your medical marketing approach, consider a new tactic. Instead of bombarding your potential patients with product or service offerings, marketers use the ‘pull’ method to get the patient to come to you.
The Internet and social media have greatly changed how marketing works. Patients search for healthcare information online and find you, the doctor, long before you see them in your office. Pull strategies work well to draw potential patients in and engage with your brand.
As part of your pull strategy, you need to create and deliver valuable content to potential patients online. What do potential patients consider valuable content? Do your research. Find out what they are searching for online.
Once you’ve identified your audiences’ wants and needs, create content and materials around those topics. Offer suggestions, helpful tips, advice, best practices and continuously create and share insightful information.
Publish this information across social media platforms, your medical website’s blog, etc. Because you are delivering content that is wanted, you will pull more potential patients to you and your practice.
Ironically, you must pay extra to push your ‘pull’ content on social media. For the greatest amount of reach, brands need to pay for sponsored posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, among others. While these outlets allow companies and brands to set up free business accounts, the actual exposure of their content to fans or followers is often as low as 2 percent. To counter this, brands and businesses can pay for sponsored posts to better reach their target audience.
Pull Strategies Require More Time
A push strategy is simple. You create an advertisement and you run it over and over again until you start picking up customers.
Pull strategies are different. Pull strategies require the constant creation of original content, whether it’s a social media post, a video, or a podcast, and then the subsequent repetition of that process, over and over again, to keep the engagement of your audience. Although pull tactics require more time and effort, it is a long-term marketing strategy suited for modern, tech-savvy patients.
Pull Strategies Require a Different Attitude
A common mistake is to treat the new ‘pull’ strategy like the old ‘push’ strategy. For instance, marketers will repurpose press releases (which are a form of the push method) for Facebook posts. Rather than creating content that's appropriate for each platform, companies will simply use a “one-size-fits-all” message and share it across multiple platforms. Without customizing your marketing communications, you will not appeal to your desired audience.
Instead of spending all of your time, energy and money attempting to push your services on prospective patients, open up and invite potential patients to engage in a two-way conversation with you. Give potential patients a way to learn more about their condition, or how their condition can be treated. Give them a reason to come to you. Use persuasive communication and offer valuable information to organically pull potential patients to you and your practice.