We’ve covered the importance of effective marketing for urgent care before, but the topic is worth revisiting. And, did you know that Practice Velocity Management (PVM)—our unique patient registration, billing, collections and reporting software—offers unique customizable reports for your urgent care center to track the effectiveness of marketing methods.
It is critical to know which marketing methods offer a return on investment and which ones do not work for your urgent care center. Whenever a patient is registered in PVM the urgent care center can require the receptionist to enter the answer to the question, “How did you hear about our urgent care center?” into PVM.
Your urgent care center can then run reports to see how the public is responding to various marketing campaigns. PVM reports will allow you to instantly see if a mailing, billboard, print ad or other marketing campaign is working.
Urgent care centers utilize multiple methods for marketing urgent care center services. In PVM, you can track how many new patients find you each month through each of the marketing methods you’ve chosen. Many of these methods are similar to marketing methods used by hospitals and retail outlets, for example:
- Urgent Care Center Signage: The most important marketing element for most urgent care centers is a large, well-lit sign on a busy thoroughfare. Before purchasing a property or signing a lease, you will want to make sure that you can get the proper permits to secure adequate signage for the urgent care center.
- Yellow Pages: Consider getting a box advertisement listing in every major yellow pages book in your community. Note: you will need to consider purchasing the ad prior to your opening, as yellow page ads are often sold over six months prior to publication.
- Free Press: The local media can often be a valuable asset in marketing your urgent care center. Get to know local reporters, and let them know that you are available to do interviews for TV or newspaper stories on relevant medical topics.
- Cable TV: Because of the unique opportunity to target specific communities, cable television advertisements can be a cost-effective method to market the urgent care center. Often the cable TV company will produce an advertisement (generally of relatively low quality) at no cost to your urgent care center.
- Billboard Marketing: Billboards can help you raise community awareness that your urgent care center is available after-hours, nights, weekends and holidays for walk-in medical care. Make sure that you crystallize your message in five words or less (e.g., quality medical care without appointments) and have a catchy picture that helps communicate your message.
- Mass Mailing: This marketing method has been used by some urgent care centers, but it has a large up-front expenses and benefits are somewhat marginal.
- ZipPass® Get in Line, Online™ – Online Patient Registration: Practice Velocity allows its customers to place a ZipPass link on their own business website, and patients can register online for the next available appointment at the urgent care center.
- Video Production: Consider shooting a commercial or corporate video, or possible document a conference presentation.
In addition to the well-known marketing opportunities, urgent care centers have significant unique marketing opportunities:
- Grand Openings: Unlike a restaurant or a dress shop, an urgent care center (especially the first center in town) can be a news story. With the town mayor cutting the ribbon, some urgent care centers have managed to hit the front page of the local newspaper.
- Corporate HR Directors: You can become a critical resource in helping HR directors reduce unnecessary expenses on workers compensation cases and lost-time injuries. As you build a mutually beneficial relationship, the corporate HR person is often willing to use her influence to promote and market your urgent care center to the corporation employees. When they realize that the urgent care center can be an important method to reduce unnecessary use of the hospital emergency department, the HR director may be willing to put up a poster for your urgent care center in the break room or a flier in each paycheck envelope.
- Marketing through Health Fairs: You can offer free blood pressure checks, body fat analysis, cholesterol screenings along with a mug or refrigerator magnet featuring the logo of your urgent care center.
- Urgent Care Press Releases: Upon your opening a new center, offering a new service, or reaching a milestone (your 1,000th patient, your first anniversary, etc.) consider sending a press release to your local newspaper and to free press release website. These free press release sites will increase the visibility of your urgent care center on the internet.
Also, don’t hesitate to be imaginative and try something new in marketing. Feel free to drop us an email to let us know what marketing methods worked for your urgent care center, so we can share your marketing tips with the rest of the urgent care community.