We recognize that the best ambulance service entrepreneurs tend to possess solid marketing skills. Yet in this industry, the characteristics of able marketers aren't always obvious.
Strategic marketing tactics can help small ambulance services stand toe-to-toe with the rest of the market. What small companies lack in resources, they can make up for in marketing intelligence and expertise.
Marketing Tips for Ambulance Service Providers
Ambulance service providers are some of the unsung entrepreneurs who ensure the smooth delivery of healthcare services in the U.S. While many municipalities feature government-operated ambulance services, others outsource patient transport and even second-tier, emergency medical services to private companies.
Although the healthcare industry is booming, running a profitable ambulance service business is no small feat. To market an ambulance service, it's important to look at niche markets with attractive revenue streams. Once you've isolated your markets, you want to market aggressively and tout your credentials and your track record.
Diversifying Revenue from Ambulance Services
A big part of your marketing efforts will focus on finding attractive revenue sources. This requires that you think outside the box a little bit.
Remember, government contracts aren't the only source of revenue for ambulance services. In fact, many ambulance service businesses don't handle 911 calls at all. But even if your company is fortunate enough to land a government contract, it's useful to diversify your revenue stream as quickly as possible.
Maybe your marketing plan should involve reaching out to nursing homes. Nursing homes routinely contract with ambulance services to transport their residents for non-urgent medical care. Likewise, hospitals contract with private ambulance companies to transport patients from one location to the next.
The bottomline? Highly successful ambulance service entrepreneurs are creative thinkers who look for revenue opportunities throughout their communities. Sporting events, parades, festivals and other gatherings often hire ambulance companies to be on hand should a medical emergency occur during the course of an event.
Tout Your Ambulance Service Accreditation Standards
Accreditation is an important asset for ambulance service providers. Why? Because it assures key stakeholders (i.e. patients, government officials, medical professionals) that your business is accountable to an independent oversight mechanism. Just as importantly, accreditation mitigates risk because it improves the overall quality and safety of the services you provide.
Most ambulance service providers are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS). CAAS is recognized by major EMS organization like the American Ambulance Association, the National Association of EMTs and the National Association of State EMS Directors.
If you are not fully accredited, you need to do so ASAP. The accreditation is fair but thorough, so you'll need to research standards and prepare your business accordingly. For marketing purposes, after receiving accreditation, make sure you leverage the investment as much as possible. Your accreditations should be on all of your marketing materials and should be visible on your company website.
Measurement & Evaluation
With a little more attention to details, ambulance services may be able to increase the impact of their marketing tactics. However, there are no substitutes for measurement and evaluation mechanisms. A robust measurement and evaluation process should include metrics that can be monitored on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. Designed to monitor marketing efforts on a campaign-by-campaign basis, these metrics can be used as a baseline for strategic planning. Simple quantitative tools are a good start. However, ambulance services often choose to consult with professional marketers for assessment tools and strategic insights.
Make Sure You Have a Good Business Sign
Good signage is a Business 101 concept. Even though ambulance services are very different from each other, signage can be used by any ambulance service to communicate the company's value to their customers. Is your sign visible and attractive? Does it reinforce your brand and value proposition? Does your signage invite customers to take the next step or does it simply annoy them? These are the kinds of questions you'll need to ask about both exterior and interior sign elements.
Given the fact that signage in ambulance services has unique characteristics, avoid glossing it over as an afterthought. Talk with somebody who knows a lot about business signage advice and get their input before you create new business signs.
Leveraging Print Ads
You're probably familiar with many of the ways print advertising has been used to market ambulance services. In the digital age, print advertising's influence has been under attack from new media technologies and an expanded range of marketing channels. Even though the Internet has challenged the position print ads once held in marketing circles, you can still realize substantial gains from marketing your ambulance service in printed media. These days, the key to effective print advertising is to align the publication with your business goals and ROI requirements.
Given your interest in marketing and in ambulance services, you might find these additional resources to be of interest.
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