As opposed to hospitals or primary care, urgent cares are dependent on consistent walk-in patients to drive success. Marketing may seem like a task that is secondary to operational needs. The opposite is true. Marketing needs to be a primary focus if your urgent care is to succeed financially. A forward thinking budget will have a line item for marketing. In reality, you can have the best staff and medical equipment in the area—and no patients to serve because they don’t know about you.
Urgent cares can fail because they don’t invest in the power of marketing. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, the mean annual marketing budget per site was $37,000.1 The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates 7% to 8% of revenue should be budgeted for marketing.2 This percentage should increase for those in the start-up phase. Not only is money needed for marketing, so is strategy. Marketing requires you to know and reach the specific patient demographic you want to treat.
Here is the first in our blog series of tried-and-true marketing ideas we’ve seen be successful for others—and that your urgent care should consider:
Actually, this isn’t an idea. This is a good general rule of thumb. All your marketing material—ads, brochures, website, printed pieces, promotional items—should have a consistent brand. Your brand name and logo should be clear and easy to read. Inconsistent brand identity (look and feel) is the equivalent of changing your business’s personality. It confuses your patients.
Careful consideration should be given to your brand name. Changing it later can be a painful—and often costly—process. If your urgent care is part of an umbrella organization, ensure you’re meeting the brand standard they have set. Be conscious of not being too clever with naming and branding; this can cause misunderstanding as to what you do. People put trust in a brand, so correct use of branding is vital to building and maintaining respect.
Brand identity is more than a name and logo. A brand is how your patients think of you. How are you standing out from the competition? Differentiation is key to having people remember you. Be unique at your clinic; offer something that others don’t have. Valet services, movies in the waiting room, or personal consultations upon arrival can make your urgent care memorable and will drive more referrals.
Looking for a better EMR/PM and billing services for your urgent care? Take a look at DocuTAP’s cloud-based, tablet-run EMR and revenue cycle management services designed specifically for urgent care clinics.