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4 Tactics for Direct-to-Patient Marketing of Orthopedics

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April 07, 2011

By: Laura Dyrdra
As Seen In Becker's Orthopedic, Spine, and Pain Management Review
Article Published April 7, 2011

Direct-to-patient marketing of orthopedic services can be challenging, yet necessary in some communities to drive patient volume and promote a positive physician reputation. "Orthopedics certainly has unique characteristics when it comes to marketing because of the nature of the ailments patients suffer from," says Dan Weinbach, executive vice president of The Weinbach Group, a healthcare marketing firm and healthcare advertising agency based in Miami, Fla. "However, at the end of the day, it is governed by the same set of laws that are true for advertising across many healthcare disciplines."

Mr. Weinbach discusses four tactics for effective direct-to-patient orthopedic surgeon marketing.

1. Focus on relief of symptoms, not physician qualifications. Instead of focusing marketing efforts on explaining why you are qualified to perform a surgery, zero in on the relief of symptoms patients will experience if they undergo the appropriate treatment. "Humans want to know what's in it for us," says Mr. Weinbach. "In order to capture someone's attention and keep them interested, focus on what the patient needs first and foremost." Patients want to feel better, and advertising positive outcomes is the best way to attract their attention.

2. Utilize media appropriate for your audience. Many advertisers and healthcare facilities are using online media to attract patients. While online media works, and can be highly effective for medical advertising, it may not be the best outlet for orthopedists in some communities. When your patient-base is largely comprised of patients more than 65 years old, rely on more traditional advertising sources like newspapers and direct mail, says Mr. Weinbach. However, consider all media. An integrated mix of media works best. "Then spend your resources on the most logical places to reach your audience," he says.

3. Advertise often in your community. While not necessarily true, consumers assume providers that advertise are more qualified, says Mr. Weinbach, so frequent advertising can generate patient volume and build credibility. "Organizations that advertise have a greater top-of-mind awareness," he says. "We know there's a great correlation between those who advertise more frequently and perception of quality."

4. Connect with patients at seminars. For elective orthopedic procedures, the consumer is in a position to decide when to push forward with care and where to receive their treatment. Seminars related to joint health and sports medicine can be highly successful in building relationships with new patients. Advertise for the seminar in the newspaper or other print publications to attract potential patients. "Once the patient comes to the seminar, they are more likely to proceed with care," says Mr. Weinbach. "For the patient, it's part of the educational process and a way to connect face-to-face with the surgeon." At the seminar, talk about all different types of surgical and non-surgical interventions to help the patients understand the potential treatment modalities available to them.

Learn more about The Weinbach Group.