By Brooke Strickland
By Brooke Strickland
The decision to advertise for your practice is an important marketing decision for outreach to new patients. An important question to ask yourself is: How is retaining a placement in Yellow Pages and directory advertisements, which my practice may have purchased for years, still a valuable method for reaching new and existing patients?
Let's face it: small business marketing has changed significantly and quite dramatically with the Internet, especially in the last five to ten years. Marketing and branding is not what it once was and while there are many traditional marketing methods out there that still work well, approaching marketing the same way that it was done 10 years ago, can be detrimental to your practice.
When it comes to the Yellow Pages, many doctors are asking themselves if an ad is really generating the amount of new patients to make it worth it. While many people today consider the Yellow Pages a great recycling item, the bottom line is that this marketing method isn't a total irrelevant way to reach new patients. Many people, especially those in older demographic, still use the Yellow Pages as their primary source of information. Multiple studies have shown that consumers go to the Internet first when they need information on a new product or service (80% of the time) . In addition, Yellow Page ads are expensive and require a long commitment, and in order to really stand out, businesses likely need a large ad that's eye-catching and well designed ñ this is even more expensive to do. And measuring success can be pretty hard, too. Other than asking every new patient how they found you there is really no other way of tracking who books an appointment with your practice based on a Yellow Page advertising. While it can be done, Internet advertising is proving to be more effective in growing a strong patient base and it's usually more cost effective.
Consider who your patients are now and what type of patients you're still trying to reach. Are they a younger audience that has grown up with the Internet as their sole source for finding information? Are they middle aged and familiar with searching the Internet, or are they part of an older population, making them more likely to use reach for more traditional methods of marketing such as the Yellow Pages or the newspaper? The first step to deciding if the Yellow Pages should be part of your marketing plan is to really consider your patient base and decide if there is real, tangible value in placing an advertisement. If you do decide you want it as part of your plan then create a visually-appealing ad, one that stands out from the others.
However, being open to new marketing trends is important. Adapting your marketing models and reaching into new arenas of advertising can be rewarding and effective.
 Lewis, Kern. "Should Small Businesses Book Yellow Page Ads?" Forbes. 3/28/2011. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kernlewis/2011/03/28/should-small-businesses-still-book-yellow-page-ads/ Accessed June 18, 2012.