Marketing Your Concierge Program:
Grow Your Program Beyond the Launch
Concierge medicine began as a practice transition program more than 20 years ago. Once a physician decided to make this change, patients were alerted and either joined, or transferred to a new doctor. Today’s programs are different. There is a wide variety of practice models to choose from, with many requiring ongoing marketing support.
Today, we discuss how CCP helps physicians recruit and retain members with CCP’s Senior Vice President of Membership Development, Michele McCambridge.
Can you briefly walk us through how the program is initially marketed to patients?
Prior to Covid-19, we had a very successful approach that involved live, in-person events where the physician could speak personally about the changes and/or opportunities in the practice, and patients were able to ask questions and register on the spot.
Of course, that all changed with Covid. Patient demand for the programs has not, thankfully. We have had to pivot to virtual events, and they have been remarkably successful as well! We continue to invite patients and send detailed marketing collateral as before, but events are virtual now. We’ll see what opportunities come next! Many patients like the convenience of virtual events, so perhaps we will be
able to do a combination of both in-person and live events.
What happens to patients who don’t join, are they lost opportunities?
That’s a good question, and is largely determined by the membership model they choose. Simply put, if the doctor chooses a full model concierge program, patients must find a new physician, and therefore any future marketing to attract new members will exist outside of the practice. If the physician opts for our blended model, the Hybrid
Choice™, where only those patients who want concierge service join and the rest continue to see their provider in the traditional sense, our opportunities for future marketing become more targeted. We are able to market both inside and outside of the practice.
Let’s focus on the Hybrid Choice blended model for now. How is post-launch marketing different?
In a Hybrid Choice model, the physician has a limited membership model for patients who want more time and support. The physician continues to see traditional patients in the practice. A typical doctor would have about 100 members and a significant number of nonmember patients at the time the program launches. This means there are a lot of opportunities.
Can you talk about the ways you market to these nonmember patients?
One of the most basic things we do is periodically remind patients of the opportunity to join the program through direct mail and email marketing campaigns, and keep attractive, updated collateral pieces for display in and around the office. This is important because, as you know, people grow and change, and healthcare needs evolve. The person who never thought they’d need this kind of relationship can suddenly feel it’s important to their peace of mind. Covid-19 has certainly shown us that. Patients want a one-to-one relationship with a doctor who will answer their calls when they feel vulnerable. So keeping the program top-of-mind in the traditional practice is essential.
What is the most effective marketing technique at CCP?
We have great relationships with our clients, and they know we have a first-rate customer service team that is well trained to discuss their program with patients. This is a tremendous burden off their staff. Many practice managers and physicians don’t have the time to “sell” concierge medicine to patients who come in, or perhaps they don’t feel comfortable doing so. That’s ok! That’s what we’re here for. We know how to sell the program, and we are good at it. When a practice
refers patients to us—either new patients to their practice, or patients who have had a change in their situation, we take it from there with a great success rate.
What about online marketing? What role does that play?
Online marketing is one of the most popular services we offer our clients—our full model concierge clients and our hybrid clients. We have an internal creative team that is happy to work closely with clients to develop customized websites, blogs, e-blasts, and even digital ads in select markets.
And of course, online reputation management is a huge issue for physicians. We have a number of ways to help our clients ensure a positive presence on Google and other review sites.
All of these services are completely free of charge for our clients. It’s part of our suite of basic services.
What about member retention?
Member retention is a huge part of what CCP does, and personally, one of my favorite areas in which to focus. We support our clients by constantly adding value to membership. For example, we offer members a number of interesting health and wellness programs. We send print and email newsletters with health or practice information.
We have a wellness app for members. We even host wellness events with doctors, like book clubs or nature and museum walks. Members really enjoy this time spent with their physician, outside of a patient visit. We coordinate the whole thing, from invites and RSVPs to space rentals, etc. I have a Master in Public Health and am certified in a number of nutritional and fitness areas, so I work closely with clients to customize programs their members will appreciate and value.
We also work closely with practice staff. They are such an integral part of a physician’s success so we do whatever we can to make their job easier—things like send out email blasts to members with news about office closings or flu shot clinics, or even providing them with membership mailing labels so they can send their members holiday
cards. We have staff training boot camps, and can schedule private staff training too, for new hires, or anyone who would like a refresh. We really try to stay involved and help out as much as we can.
CCP’S ONGOING MARKETING SERVICES:
Generally included in our basic services agreement
After the Launch:
Start by simply giving us a call, or go online to www.choice.md/pvr and answer a few short questions.
From there, we can compile a complimentary report that
gives some top-line information about the viability of a
membership medicine program in a physician’s practice.