FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

click on the questions to reveal answers

  1. 1
    When is the “right” time to think about marketing for my ASC?

    We believe that every ASC, whether it’s a standalone center or part of a larger group of facilities, should be actively marketing itself at all times. Remember, there are only so many patients available in your market, and there is plenty of competition from other ASCs, hospitals, and even facilities OUTSIDE your market to contend with. So the answer is to start thinking about marketing your ASC immediately, and not just for a short while…it’s critical to keep your presence active and ongoing to retain a top-of-mind presence with the prospective consumer base.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  2. 2
    I have an ASC group with multiple locations – does/should that change our approach?

    Absolutely.  If your group has locations throughout a market or even a broad region or state, then how you market it will have to take on certain characteristics.  You may develop a centralized website for all your facilities, and then have patients self-select based on their region.

    Similarly, if your group serves different practice areas (such as ortho in one location, plastics in another, and gastro in a third,) then you may consider developing a marketing plan to cover all of those, or even consider separate marketing plans for each discipline, bound together with a common or unifying theme.

    The key is to maximize efficiencies within your efforts. This is true both financially and psychologically:  remember, even a commercial for your ortho practice is valuable when a patient hears it long before he or she might need an ortho procedure.  But if that patient is suddenly in need of cataract surgery, the fact that he or she may have heard several commercials about your OTHER practices might communicate a level of trust with your brand.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  3. 3
    How much should I spend on marketing for my ASC?

    The answer is “it depends.” Generally, there are many models for approaching how to invest in marketing for your ASC practice.  It depends on whether or not you’re a new ASC or if you’re an established player, if you have a viable website, if you’ve done any marketing in the past, what the market is like, and what your competitors may be currently doing in terms of marketing.  Our rule of thumb is this: build the house, then decide what you want to accomplish.  By “build the house,” we mean getting all your foundational patient-facing materials in order, especially your website, a practice brochure, referral materials, and a general strategy for going forward.  These all have to be developed and prepared before you start any outbound plan.

    The other critical element is figuring out what you want to accomplish:  do you simply want more patients and procedures coming through your facility? Are you looking to attract new physicians to the practice?  Are you new and just want to make the market aware of your presence?  Each one of these might require a different kind of strategy.

    In terms of how much to spend, there are many models to consider. You can consider your marketing spend as a percentage of facility revenue (models range between 3 and 10%, depending on where you are in your life span.)  So if you’re a small ASC, and doing $5 million a year in procedural revenue (not profits,) then you should consider anywhere from $150,000 to as much as $500,000, depending on what you want to accomplish.  Generally the range falls between the 5% – 7% range of topline revenue for most ASCs.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  4. 4
    How do you know if the marketing is “working?”

    ASC marketing is working when it’s meeting the objectives the ownership group set out to accomplish.  If more patients are the goal, then look for key metrics like patient inquiries and phone calls to the facility.  If more procedures are the goal (per average week, as an example,) then develop benchmarks based on year-over-year facility volume.  Observe that this requires some fairly rigorous record-keeping, and if these are not available, the marketing may be working just by virtue of the fact that the facility is now keeping track of important milestones.

    There’s also the MROI (marketing return on investment) equation, which is a calculation of the incremental financial value the practice has gained as a result of the marketing investments that have been made, divided by the costs themselves.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  5. 5
    Isn’t marketing for ASCs a “one-size-fits-all” thing?

    Never.  And if a marketing agency comes in and tells you that they can simply execute a few basic actions and guarantee your success, you should proceed with caution.  The truth is that every ASC requires a customized plan, formulated around that ASC’s objectives, considerate of what’s happening in the market, aware of the direct and indirect competitors, and always trying to anticipate where the market is going.

    Your ASC is unique.  Whether it’s the mix of physicians, your outstanding practice administration, your amazing location, your bedside manner, your success rates or any other scale.  There’s no way it deserves anything less than a marketing plan that takes all of that into consideration.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  6. 6
    Should my ASC consider marketing, even if I’m in a very small market?

    There’s never a time when marketing your ASC is not a good idea.  Even in a tiny market, there are ways to efficiently communicate your core message and drive preference that will stave off potential new entrants and keep your customer base from seeking treatment elsewhere.  This is especially true in outer suburbs of cities – the general assumption among patients is that they “have to go the big hospitals to get surgical needs met.”  You can re-educate that patient population, and even gain traction in surrounding towns and regions, just by asserting your facility’s message.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  7. 7
    Why is the website so important? Isn’t the one we have good enough?

    Your current website may be fine, but it may not be the marketing tool you need it to be. Generally, a marketing agency can help transform a simple informational website into a feedback tool that helps you understand your audience and their motivations.  In addition to supporting your marketing messages, your website should meet all the consumer’s expectations, and even surprise and delight them with new information that can prove helpful in converting inquiries to procedures.

    One thing that’s very important regarding your website is that many patients don’t understand the financial differences between having their procedure(s) done at an ASC compared to a hospital.  The ASC website can also be an educational tool, and sometimes that’s enough to generate a highly motivated inquiry.

    Further, the website for your ASC should be a technical tool that supports all the other marketing activities.  So if your ASC is running search advertising, or social media, or even digital advertising on health sites, the website can (and should) connect to these efforts and report on granular levels.  Even though some of the language sounds a bit too technical, there should be a strong analytics component bolted on to every ASC marketing plan.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  8. 8
    Should I market to the referring hospitals or to patients?

    Yes.  A good ASC marketing plan (depending on your objectives, of course,) should include both business-to-business components along with business-to-consumer messaging. Are you looking to stand out from a cluttered field?  Maybe a well-timed and well-executed PR plan that highlights your doctors and your results is just the thing that the administrator at the largest hospital group in the region needs to see in order to start sending referrals your way.  Or perhaps you need to be more visible in your local community to get the approval and trust of the patient population. Whatever might be holding you back from breaking through to success should be among the very first obstacles you tackle with your marketing agency.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  9. 9
    How can we get all the stuff we need, like videos and testimonials, and photos of the doctors?

    Very often, an ASC will have several resources available to it.  You may have photographed your physicians when you first opened, but haven’t photographed the three newest (and youngest) additions to your team.  Or you might have done a video a few years back that doesn’t fully represent who you are today.

    A good marketing agency will recommend that we update (and keep updating) your resource and asset library, so you always have these tools on hand to use for your marketing needs.  This is especially true for video assets.  If you’re considering doing television commercials or social media campaigns, having an up-to-date library of information and content can be a very useful advantage.

    Do not underestimate the value of having timely and refreshed visual and video assets at the ready.  It can mean the difference between receiving press coverage and missing an opportunity, as many press opportunities pop up at the 11th hour and require the ability to move quickly.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  10. 10
    Should we be engaged in social media?

    The answer here, again, is “it depends.”  It depends on what kind of ASC you have, what kinds of procedures you perform, and whether or not those lend themselves to a robust conversation on one or more social media platforms.

    Social media is a thrilling, and often very valuable marketing tool.  However, it’s also fraught with dangers for the uninitiated.  Make sure your marketing agency understands HIPAA, and understands what it means to share post-surgical information online. Proceed carefully, but if your ASC is right for social media, there’s a good chance you can use it to your advantage.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  11. 11
    How should we be working with GPs and referring physicians?

    As often and as productively as possible! Remember, most surgical procedures (or at least consults,) are referred by a physician.  Getting them in your ASC is your business, so making sure you have physicians aware of your facility and your capabilities is critical in your market.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  12. 12
    Can I just work with the local marketing agency here in town?

    Of course you can, and if they have experience in healthcare, they can likely be an excellent advocate in establishing your ASC in your market. But if there isn’t one near you, don’t be afraid to reach out beyond your borders for an agency that has direct experience with ASCs, or healthcare, or whatever you might be most interested in.  One of the benefits of today’s technologies is that you can work with an agency almost anywhere, and the distance doesn’t really impact the relationship at all.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  13. 13
    How can we compete with national threats like Laser Spine Institute?

    There are serious threats to local ASCs, and not all of them are nearby. Nationally recognized brands, like Laser Spine Institute, are marketing all over the country and trying to convince people in markets large and small to fly or drive to their facilities, no matter where they are.  The only way to defend against competitors (whether they’re local threats or national,) is to be active and visible in your local market.  If potential patients haven’t heard of you, of course they’re available to messages from competitors like LSI.  Make sure they know who you are, what you’re great at, and that you’ll be there for a while.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  14. 14
    What if I want to sell my ASC?

    ASCs are bought and sold every day in markets large and small. But remember that each buyer, whether it’s a hospital network or a venture capital firm, is looking at your business from a VALUE angle.  Now if you’re doing solid business, you may get an offer based on a multiple of your TTM. But not all transactions are based on the same benchmarks.  The value of an ASC is a function of the SUSTAINABILITY of earnings and growth potential of the practice.  It goes to reason, then, that if your ASC has built an established brand in the market, and is an active and visible advertiser, the sustainability aspect becomes a real driver to your potential valuation.

    A marketing agency that knows the ASC business can help you build up the most promotable (and saleable) aspects of your practice, and help you articulate your long-term value to any audience, including potential buyers.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

click on the questions to reveal answers

  1. 1
    When is the “right” time to think about marketing for my ASC?

    We believe that every ASC, whether it’s a standalone center or part of a larger group of facilities, should be actively marketing itself at all times. Remember, there are only so many patients available in your market, and there is plenty of competition from other ASCs, hospitals, and even facilities OUTSIDE your market to contend with. So the answer is to start thinking about marketing your ASC immediately, and not just for a short while…it’s critical to keep your presence active and ongoing to retain a top-of-mind presence with the prospective consumer base.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  2. 2
    I have an ASC group with multiple locations – does/should that change our approach?

    Absolutely.  If your group has locations throughout a market or even a broad region or state, then how you market it will have to take on certain characteristics.  You may develop a centralized website for all your facilities, and then have patients self-select based on their region.

    Similarly, if your group serves different practice areas (such as ortho in one location, plastics in another, and gastro in a third,) then you may consider developing a marketing plan to cover all of those, or even consider separate marketing plans for each discipline, bound together with a common or unifying theme.

    The key is to maximize efficiencies within your efforts. This is true both financially and psychologically:  remember, even a commercial for your ortho practice is valuable when a patient hears it long before he or she might need an ortho procedure.  But if that patient is suddenly in need of cataract surgery, the fact that he or she may have heard several commercials about your OTHER practices might communicate a level of trust with your brand.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  3. 3
    How much should I spend on marketing for my ASC?

    The answer is “it depends.” Generally, there are many models for approaching how to invest in marketing for your ASC practice.  It depends on whether or not you’re a new ASC or if you’re an established player, if you have a viable website, if you’ve done any marketing in the past, what the market is like, and what your competitors may be currently doing in terms of marketing.  Our rule of thumb is this: build the house, then decide what you want to accomplish.  By “build the house,” we mean getting all your foundational patient-facing materials in order, especially your website, a practice brochure, referral materials, and a general strategy for going forward.  These all have to be developed and prepared before you start any outbound plan.

    The other critical element is figuring out what you want to accomplish:  do you simply want more patients and procedures coming through your facility? Are you looking to attract new physicians to the practice?  Are you new and just want to make the market aware of your presence?  Each one of these might require a different kind of strategy.

    In terms of how much to spend, there are many models to consider. You can consider your marketing spend as a percentage of facility revenue (models range between 3 and 10%, depending on where you are in your life span.)  So if you’re a small ASC, and doing $5 million a year in procedural revenue (not profits,) then you should consider anywhere from $150,000 to as much as $500,000, depending on what you want to accomplish.  Generally the range falls between the 5% – 7% range of topline revenue for most ASCs.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  4. 4
    How do you know if the marketing is “working?”

    ASC marketing is working when it’s meeting the objectives the ownership group set out to accomplish.  If more patients are the goal, then look for key metrics like patient inquiries and phone calls to the facility.  If more procedures are the goal (per average week, as an example,) then develop benchmarks based on year-over-year facility volume.  Observe that this requires some fairly rigorous record-keeping, and if these are not available, the marketing may be working just by virtue of the fact that the facility is now keeping track of important milestones.

    There’s also the MROI (marketing return on investment) equation, which is a calculation of the incremental financial value the practice has gained as a result of the marketing investments that have been made, divided by the costs themselves.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  5. 5
    Isn’t marketing for ASCs a “one-size-fits-all” thing?

    Never.  And if a marketing agency comes in and tells you that they can simply execute a few basic actions and guarantee your success, you should proceed with caution.  The truth is that every ASC requires a customized plan, formulated around that ASC’s objectives, considerate of what’s happening in the market, aware of the direct and indirect competitors, and always trying to anticipate where the market is going.

    Your ASC is unique.  Whether it’s the mix of physicians, your outstanding practice administration, your amazing location, your bedside manner, your success rates or any other scale.  There’s no way it deserves anything less than a marketing plan that takes all of that into consideration.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  6. 6
    Should my ASC consider marketing, even if I’m in a very small market?

    There’s never a time when marketing your ASC is not a good idea.  Even in a tiny market, there are ways to efficiently communicate your core message and drive preference that will stave off potential new entrants and keep your customer base from seeking treatment elsewhere.  This is especially true in outer suburbs of cities – the general assumption among patients is that they “have to go the big hospitals to get surgical needs met.”  You can re-educate that patient population, and even gain traction in surrounding towns and regions, just by asserting your facility’s message.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  7. 7
    Why is the website so important? Isn’t the one we have good enough?

    Your current website may be fine, but it may not be the marketing tool you need it to be. Generally, a marketing agency can help transform a simple informational website into a feedback tool that helps you understand your audience and their motivations.  In addition to supporting your marketing messages, your website should meet all the consumer’s expectations, and even surprise and delight them with new information that can prove helpful in converting inquiries to procedures.

    One thing that’s very important regarding your website is that many patients don’t understand the financial differences between having their procedure(s) done at an ASC compared to a hospital.  The ASC website can also be an educational tool, and sometimes that’s enough to generate a highly motivated inquiry.

    Further, the website for your ASC should be a technical tool that supports all the other marketing activities.  So if your ASC is running search advertising, or social media, or even digital advertising on health sites, the website can (and should) connect to these efforts and report on granular levels.  Even though some of the language sounds a bit too technical, there should be a strong analytics component bolted on to every ASC marketing plan.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  8. 8
    Should I market to the referring hospitals or to patients?

    Yes.  A good ASC marketing plan (depending on your objectives, of course,) should include both business-to-business components along with business-to-consumer messaging. Are you looking to stand out from a cluttered field?  Maybe a well-timed and well-executed PR plan that highlights your doctors and your results is just the thing that the administrator at the largest hospital group in the region needs to see in order to start sending referrals your way.  Or perhaps you need to be more visible in your local community to get the approval and trust of the patient population. Whatever might be holding you back from breaking through to success should be among the very first obstacles you tackle with your marketing agency.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  9. 9
    How can we get all the stuff we need, like videos and testimonials, and photos of the doctors?

    Very often, an ASC will have several resources available to it.  You may have photographed your physicians when you first opened, but haven’t photographed the three newest (and youngest) additions to your team.  Or you might have done a video a few years back that doesn’t fully represent who you are today.

    A good marketing agency will recommend that we update (and keep updating) your resource and asset library, so you always have these tools on hand to use for your marketing needs.  This is especially true for video assets.  If you’re considering doing television commercials or social media campaigns, having an up-to-date library of information and content can be a very useful advantage.

    Do not underestimate the value of having timely and refreshed visual and video assets at the ready.  It can mean the difference between receiving press coverage and missing an opportunity, as many press opportunities pop up at the 11th hour and require the ability to move quickly.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  10. 10
    Should we be engaged in social media?

    The answer here, again, is “it depends.”  It depends on what kind of ASC you have, what kinds of procedures you perform, and whether or not those lend themselves to a robust conversation on one or more social media platforms.

    Social media is a thrilling, and often very valuable marketing tool.  However, it’s also fraught with dangers for the uninitiated.  Make sure your marketing agency understands HIPAA, and understands what it means to share post-surgical information online. Proceed carefully, but if your ASC is right for social media, there’s a good chance you can use it to your advantage.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  11. 11
    How should we be working with GPs and referring physicians?

    As often and as productively as possible! Remember, most surgical procedures (or at least consults,) are referred by a physician.  Getting them in your ASC is your business, so making sure you have physicians aware of your facility and your capabilities is critical in your market.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  12. 12
    Can I just work with the local marketing agency here in town?

    Of course you can, and if they have experience in healthcare, they can likely be an excellent advocate in establishing your ASC in your market. But if there isn’t one near you, don’t be afraid to reach out beyond your borders for an agency that has direct experience with ASCs, or healthcare, or whatever you might be most interested in.  One of the benefits of today’s technologies is that you can work with an agency almost anywhere, and the distance doesn’t really impact the relationship at all.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  13. 13
    How can we compete with national threats like Laser Spine Institute?

    There are serious threats to local ASCs, and not all of them are nearby. Nationally recognized brands, like Laser Spine Institute, are marketing all over the country and trying to convince people in markets large and small to fly or drive to their facilities, no matter where they are.  The only way to defend against competitors (whether they’re local threats or national,) is to be active and visible in your local market.  If potential patients haven’t heard of you, of course they’re available to messages from competitors like LSI.  Make sure they know who you are, what you’re great at, and that you’ll be there for a while.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

  14. 14
    What if I want to sell my ASC?

    ASCs are bought and sold every day in markets large and small. But remember that each buyer, whether it’s a hospital network or a venture capital firm, is looking at your business from a VALUE angle.  Now if you’re doing solid business, you may get an offer based on a multiple of your TTM. But not all transactions are based on the same benchmarks.  The value of an ASC is a function of the SUSTAINABILITY of earnings and growth potential of the practice.  It goes to reason, then, that if your ASC has built an established brand in the market, and is an active and visible advertiser, the sustainability aspect becomes a real driver to your potential valuation.

    A marketing agency that knows the ASC business can help you build up the most promotable (and saleable) aspects of your practice, and help you articulate your long-term value to any audience, including potential buyers.

    Download: Building a Thriving ASC Through Intelligent Marketing

Have questions about ASC marketing?

Have more questions about ASC marketing?