You should be capitalizing on owning an ultrasound by turning it to advantage in your marketing.

I will be expanding this section soon with more elaborate ideas for making use of your ultrasound in bringing in new patients for your practice, but you should begin by implementing a few simple systems:

On Your Website

You should have a page on your website letting patients know that you make use of diagnostic ultrasound in your practice. Be sure to make it clear that you’re referring to diagnostic or imaging ultrasound, so as not to have it confused with therapeutic ultrasound or arterial Doppler. You can make this page as friendly or as technical as you like, but if at all possible try to include at least one photo of yourself using the ultrasound. An example of a page featuring a more technical outline of the benefits of diagnostic ultrasound can be found on a sample page I posted on our site, which you can see here. You would of course take this material, revise it, and work it into one of the pages on your own site, providing a link to it from other pages on your site.

Referral Systems

One of the most obvious ways to use ultrasound to bring in new patients is by getting your current patients excited about it and giving them a reason to talk about it to their friends, family, and coworkers. The best way to do this is to give the patient a copy of his ultrasound image to take home with him (with two of your business cards stapled to it!), or even better, to have one of your nurses email the patient after his exam with a simple email along the lines of:

“Dear Mr. Smith, The doctor asked me to write to say Thank You for coming in today, and asked me to send along a copy of your ultrasound, which I am attaching to this email. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday! Have a wonderful week!” … and of course then include, as part of the email signature, a link to your website and your office number. Images sent by email tend to be shared much more often than printed images, and another nice aspect here is that someone who receives a copy of the image in this way can often come back to look it back up in their email program even it’s many months later.

Two quick tips on this approach. First, it’s probably best to only share images that turn out well, and only with patients you think enjoyed the procedure and will likely appreciate them. Second, always take a moment to point out something in the image to the patient, so that they understand a little better what they are seeing (and as a result will be more inclined to want to share it).

And remember, talk it up! If you find something of special relevance during an ultrasound exam, make a point of it to the patient. If because of a quick ultrasound procedure you are able to save the patient the expense and bother of scheduling an MRI, point out that fact to the patient. If using your ultrasound to guide a particularly delicate injection, make sure your patient understands how much more accurately you are able to perform the procedure because of the help of the ultrasound guidance. Whenever you are able to make a very specific measurement with your ultrasound, make sure to refer to the measurements when talking to the patient.

The more your patients see you as an expert, the more they see you as being “advanced” in your use of diagnostic instruments like ultrasound in your care of them, the more they are apt to talk well of you, and even “sell” you to their friends and family. Your use of ultrasound is one of the things that makes you stand out. This is an important step toward achieving what marketers call the “Strategy of Preeminence,” which is all about being seen, not as one option among many, but rather as the only viable option in the eyes of your patients.

You don’t want to be just one podiatrist among many; you want your patients to see you as the only podiatrist they can even imagine going to when they or someone they know has a problem with their foot or ankle. As long as you are calling attention to the procedures you are performing, the use of ultrasound in working with your patients helps reinforce your preeminence in their eyes.