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Monday, May 2, 2011

FIELD GUIDE: Medical, Dental and Chiropractic Practices

Nature of the beast: Family practices, eye doctors, chiropractors, dentists and other health professionals set up shop everywhere from cities to tiny hamlets. Most handle their own marketing and patient communications, unless they're affiliated with a health system.

Approachability Level: Fair. Unlike hospital administrators, doctors and other medical types vary greatly in their understanding of what a freelancer can do for them. This is client that may require some grooming and education. 

What they need from freelancers: Web content, newsletters, patient communications, articles, ads, ghostwriting.

Ask for: The person who handles marketing. Sometimes it's the practice manager, sometimes it's a doctor.

Potential to Become a Regular: I haven't had much luck with private practices, though I've heard other freelancers have. Anyone care to chime in?

Caveats: Some practices are owned by large health systems which handle their marketing. You can usually tell from the practice website whether it's independent.

Calling practices will make you very good at dealing with receptionists and other folks who are protective of the boss's time.

I've been surprised how few doctors have voice mail. Be prepared to leave a brief message and ask for the decision maker's email so you can forward a link to your site.

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