July 1997 Bulletin

How to market your practice

Use Academy brochures, slides at public meetings

by Cary C. Cox

Cary C. Cox is a marketing and public relations professional who heads Cox Marketing Group, Charlotte, N.C.

The Academy makes marketing your practice easier than ever with their educational program series on prevention of injuries. Drive It Safe promotes safe driving techniques, Play It Safe discusses playground and youth sports safety and Live It Safe gives tips on preventing broken hips.

Professionally-designed brochures are the foundation of these programs. Each brochure is filled with useful advice on fast and easy ways to live safer. Facts and figures are interwoven with pictures and eye-catching graphics. On the back is a blank area to personalize the brochures with your practice name.

One smart way to use these brochures is through community lectures. While performing a community service, you also will be marketing your specialty at very little cost. Choose a topic you are interested in and an audience that would appreciate learning about your chosen subject.

"My office gets quite a response right after I have given a community lecture," said Diana D. Carr, MD, Sebring, Fla. "While most of the calls deal with the subject I presented, many of the calls deal with other orthopaedic problems." Dr. Carr makes a point to have various Academy brochures, stamped with her name and phone number, available for attendees to pick up and take home.

The Drive It Safe program is the latest program to have been expanded to include a slide show, complete with script, poster, talking points and background materials. All you supply is the lecture opportunity and the audiovisual equipment. Your topic, handouts and question and answer background materials have already been carefully designed for you by the Academy. Play It Safe, Prevent Playground Injuries offers slides and a video. Slides are available with the Live It Safe package.

One of the best places to secure lecture presentations is your community hospital. Many are in desperate need of quality subjects. Retirement communities, parent-teacher organizations, service clubs, fraternal organizations and church groups also are good choices to pursue. Each of these has a ready audience. Teaming up with a large bookstore that wants to increase their traffic, as well as your local medical society also are worth checking with to see if they are interested in hosting a lecture.

"I usually begin my talk with slides or a videotape," said Dr. Carr. "Depending upon the subject, I may also include some personal slides. Then I answer questions from the audience for about 30 minutes. I have found this to be a popular format." Videotapes on various subjects also are available through the Academy.

If you are experienced at giving speeches, Academy brochures can enhance your presentation. Having information that can be taken home and reviewed by patients makes them feel more comfortable. An informed patient is always a better patient.

"Many of my patients were looking for a doctor who was willing to answer their questions and the community lectures gave me an opportunity to do just that in a public forum," continued Dr. Carr. "The vast majority of the questions I'm asked are those that I answer day in and day out, but I review the Academy talking points just prior to a lecture to make sure I am comfortable with the subject matter." The Academy will supply you with a wealth of information that can be personalized to your presentation.

Your introduction and close are a critical part of your talk. Be sure that you briefly discuss who you are, where your office is located, what an orthopaedic surgeon is, various examples of what you treat (in addition to your subject) and how patients can reach you. Include a guest book at the entrance or have a drawing from a business card fishbowl to find out who attended. Follow-up with a thank you letter or a phone call from one of your staff.

"Hopefully, when a potential patient is going through the phone book or HMO provider manual, my name will be familiar to them and they'll give my office a call," Dr. Carr said.

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