Adaptability is defined as the ability “to adjust to new conditions or a different environment.” It is a word that should be ingrained in the mindset of any sales-minded urgent care clinic.

I believe that lack of adaptability is the primary cause of less than stellar sales and marketing initiatives. In a business world that is changing daily, yesterday’s approach is, well, so yesterday.

You need to adapt quickly to our rapidly changing environment. Right now, the sales and marketing theme appears to be social networking. In order to ride this wave, you should:

  1. Commit to the concept of change before you define ex- actly what change you want to If you are more re- active than proactive, you are inevitably backed into the yesterday corner.
  2. Browse the Internet for the latest marketing trends, read the hottest marketing books and periodicals, and watch how savvied marketers approach you and Health- care tends to be a step behind when it comes to sales and marketing; borrow from beyond the healthcare planet and you are likely to be a step ahead of your competitors.
  3. Balance your Although investor strategies vary by economic circumstance and personal risk adversity, many professional financial advisors recommend ear- marking 10% (or so) of your stock holdings in higher risk/higher return holdings rather than sticking with a 100% conservative allocation.

Your commitment to tomorrow should be firm and consistent, but by no means should you go “all in.” Rather, strike a balance between forward-thinking tactics and currently effective traditional tactics.

Networking
Marketing experts point to networking, including and going well beyond social networking, as the “next big thing.” The time will come when an urgent care clinic will never need to send a routine introductory letter or place an introductory telephone call to a total stranger. Rather, the name of the sales/marketing game will be to network your way to that prospect through existing contacts.

Using LinkedIn
LinkedIn is compelling because it is a social networking venue for professionals (whereas Facebook is more personal-use ori- ented and Twitter is something else altogether). Using LinkedIn can help an urgent care clinic market its services in numerous ways:

  1. Whenever your clinic has developed a good relationship with a company or other member of your business community, you should establish a link with that If they are not involved or familiar with LinkedIn, you should encourage their participation and send them an invitation to get the ball rolling by linking to you.

Over time, you will be linked to scores, if not hundreds, of local decision makers and in most cases will have access to everyone who is linked to them. For example, if you are linked to 100 local professionals and each of them is linked to an individual of inter- est to your clinic, you can encourage your contact to “introduce” you to their contact. It certainly beats the old “I’d like to introduce myself” foot-in-the-door sales method.

  1. LinkedIn offers an easy path for any of your linkages to write a short recommendation about your clinic or sales It will henceforth be available on your LinkedIn page and readily available to anyone who passes by the page. Likewise, it certainly beats the old fashioned way of spreading references.

You can announce just about anything to everyone you are linked to. Tell them about a new product, a new colleague, or a soon-to-open clinic. It is a modern way to spread information and is a welcome adjunct to email blasts and advertising.

Facebook
Granted, as mentioned previously, Facebook is more of a personal networking site, but its sheer numbers of subscribers (more than 500 million active users worldwide, according to its own data) make it attractive.

You can use Facebook in various ways, as well, in that you can create a business page and use it for just about anything, including interesting photos, videos, event invitations, games and contests, discussion chains and sub-pages for selected subgroups of your client universe. Further, you can and should connect on a personal level with many of your clinic’s contact base; the more your clients consider you a friend the more likely they are to refer you to other companies and of- fer strong recommendations.

Mobile Device Marketing
Moving out another step out into the solar system, we find the new world of mobile device marketing. This is the world of apps and text messages, and a new avenue to clinic brand awareness.

In the near future, apps are likely to be available on almost any topic, thus providing mobile-device users with immediate access to any specialized information they deem valuable or essential. Healthcare apps could range, for example, from a detailed medical dictionary to a summary of work-related conditions. Some insurance companies have even come up with apps to help users locate the nearest urgent care center.

Although it may seem onerous, using text messages to transmit information to your constituents is almost certain to get bigger and bigger. Remember, a nuisance can become a thing of joy if the information being transmitted is of value to its recipients.

It seems that virtually everyone these days has a multi-functional mobile device basically attached to their body. Never before in marketing has there been such a direct track to the consumer. In summary, two core messages emerge from the networking frontier:

  1. Take full advantage of those you know to facilitate up- beat, reassuring connections with new
  2. Touch your prospects more often, and make each touch briefer and ever more valuable to its

In short, network and connect.

Using the New Media: A Modern Plan
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