4 Reasons Physicians Must Market More
Not everyone goes to the doctor when they should. You would think that our health would be important enough to us to do so, but many people don’t schedule appointments. And that’s not good for us, or for you.
But why might people avoid visiting you, their neighborhood M.D.? You run a great practice:
- Your rates are reasonable
- Your staff is courteous and professional
- You reliably diagnose and treat patients.
It seems there’s no good reason for people to stay away, and yet too many people do.
Let’s look at a few reasons that we don’t visit you as much as you’d like. Next time around, we’ll talk about how you can overcome these common objections with your email campaign.
1. We Feel In Control Of Our Health…
Years ago, people went to the doctor, you diagnosed us, prescribed a treatment and we went on our way. We trusted you because… well, because we had to. Medical information wasn’t easily accessible for the masses, and it sure wasn’t easy to understand.
That’s changed radically in recent decades, particularly with the rise of the Internet. Sites like WebMD enjoy immense success by giving people the ability to read up on our own health and illnesses. Even superficial research gives us the feeling that we’re our own doctors.
Armed with a limited base of medical knowledge, some of us feel we can “tough it out”:
- We don’t believe in taking pills.
- We don’t think we’re that sick.
- We’re sure that which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.
So even if we’re kind of sick, we probably don’t think it’s bad enough to come see you.
2. We Don’t Like To Be Told We’re Not In Control
Of course, we’re not doctors. And deep down, we know this.
But that doesn’t mean we’re about to admit it consciously, to ourselves or to you. We often prefer to stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t have any health problems (even when it’s clear to anyone else that we do) rather than admit our own mortality and pay a visit to the doctor.
We know that if we go see you, you’re going to reprimand us for our poor health habits, and we’d just rather not have that conversation – it hurts to hear we’re not taking care of ourselves. We’re busy people, and sometimes there just isn’t time to make the perfect meal or go for that 3-mile run, right? And who are you to tell us that’s no excuse?
Well, you’re the physician. But remember, we like to think we’re in charge of our own health. We don’t want to need you.
3. We’re Afraid Of You
Ever talk to someone who just doesn’t trust doctors and medicine? I know I have.
- Their own negative experience;
- A “medical horror story” they heard from a friend; or
- A sensationalist news story on the local TV station
anecdotal evidence against physicians can turn people off to modern medicine in a heartbeat.
In my own experience this is less true with each younger generation, but I and the rest of the 18-34 crowd aren’t the ones that most need to be making frequent visits to our doctors. Our parents – and grandparents – are, and they’re the ones who are less likely to trust you.
4. Frankly, We Don’t Have The Time
Finally, something that might actually have as much to do with doctors and your offices as it does with us.
Most physicians operate during “normal” business hours – that is, during the same hours that many of us work.
Rightly or wrongly, doctors’ offices have a reputation for frequently running behind schedule. Which means we expect to:
- Sit in the waiting room for a while
- Move to the examining room and wait some more
With the doctor eventually showing up (often preceded by a nurse and some more waiting), taking up more of our time and then sending us back to the waiting room or reception area, possibly to be called back later.
There’s no way we can get through all of that on our lunch break. And we don’t want to burn a vacation or personal day on a trip to the doctor’s. So we just don’t bother.
So What Can You Do?
You’re in business, right? So obviously some people are coming in. As they should.
But you want to make sure they come back when they need to. And that the people who aren’t coming in when they should, start to do so.
Check back next time for ideas on how doctors can build relationships with potential patients through email.
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Also, if you’re a physician and have any other common objections/complaints that you often hear from people who don’t visit you as much as they should, please share those in the comments (and if you’ve found a good way to address those complaints, please share that, too!).