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Business Best Practices: The 5 Essential Components of a Marketing Plan

Although there’s no single formula for marketing a lab, there are five basic elements a marketing plan should include.

1. A Website

An online presence is a must for even single-location labs. The common misconception about websites is that they must be content heavy. But a basic site can be just as effective, not to mention faster, cheaper and easier to create. All you really need is information about services, location and phone number, hours of operation, insurance accepted and staff along with some visuals to help convey details like a photo of the outside of your building and a street map. Interior photos of your facility and staff at work can also convey a sense of professionalism.

It’s also crucial to keep your website up to date.

2. Use of Social Media

Using social media to get word of your lab out is another must. Many labs have had particular success with Facebook. While a website is professional and somewhat static, a Facebook page is more casual and conversational. Ideally, it will supplement and link to a website.

Case Study

You can use a Facebook page to showcase staff involvement in the community, post open jobs, etc. For an example of different ways to use Facebook for marketing, check out the page of Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. in Aiea, Hawaii. Note that the page links to the Diagnostic Laboratory Services website, which is a site for all seven of the company’s locations. A Facebook page is also a way for a location that’s part of a larger company to showcase its separate and possibly unique offerings.

3. Printed Marketing Material

Even in a cyber world, print still has its place. And that place should be onsite, at your facility.

Brochures and other printed marketing material give patients something to review while in the waiting area. Patients may also take the material with them and share it with others. Increase the likelihood of this happening by creating high-quality material that shares relevant information.

 What do people want to know? Services offered, hours of operation, phone number, and insurance information are a good start.

4. Word of Mouth

The best marketers are your own patients. Ways to get them to refer their friends and family may include:

  • A basic “please share this brochure with a family member or friend” message on your printed marketing material;
  • Patient satisfaction surveys, which generate data that you can use to promote your lab, e.g., 95% of our patients say they would refer us to others”; and
  • Online ratings, e.g., “we have a five-star rating on Facebook.”

5. Outreach to Medical Professionals

Your website, Facebook page, and printed marketing material are also vehicles for sharing your services with medical professionals in your community. Introduce yourself and your lab in person or via email, to explore how you can partner for mutual benefit. Working with physicians’ offices and others will result in greater awareness of your services, and an increase in patient referrals.

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