The Medical Marketing blog focuses on how physicians can leverage the Internet to grow medical practices and apply technology to solve common business problems. The blog is led by Tony Mork, MD, an endoscopic spinal surgeon.

BLOG: How do you know your marketing efforts are working?

The first thing to remember is a medical business supports a medical practice. Your medical business is comprised of the following three pillars: administration; operation; and marketing. Marketing is the most important of these business functions as it creates the flow of new patients into your office. No patients equal no practice.

In last month’s blog, I identified the most important key performance indicator as the number of new patients coming into your office. Perhaps less obvious, but equally important, is that the more pipelines you have in place, the more new patients you can expect.

A pipeline is a marketing campaign that is implemented to lead patients into your practice. This campaign can use any platform, from newspapers and other print media, YouTube or Facebook. Given the number of ways we can now market our practices, the list of potential pipelines is almost infinite and can range from an ad in a school newspaper to a more formal Google pay-per-click campaign. The more of these you have at play, the more patients you can expect to see in your office.

The difficulty is to know which pipeline or campaign is working well and how each one stacks up against the other. In order to know this, the campaigns must be labeled. Most campaigns will do one of two things: either direct the interested party to call a phone number or have them opt-in to a website with a name and email address to get more information.

The easy way to do this is to use a service like or that will rent different phone numbers to you. You can rent as many numbers as you want and the cost is reasonable. The phone numbers you rent are forwarded to your regular office number, so you will be able to see which of the rented numbers are the most active.

As each phone number will tag or identify a certain campaign or ad, you will see the call activity with the assigned phone number. The call activity will show the success of your campaign. The idea is to try several things and when you find one that works, then double down.

Stay tuned for next month when I will talk about search engine optimization use after the recent Google changes.

Tony Mork, MD, is a practicing endoscopic spinal surgeon and author of Medical Marketing Demystified, a book that teaches physicians how to leverage the Internet to grow their medical practices. Mork also launched the Medical Website Academy, an educational website that highlights how to apply technology solutions to solve business problems. He can be reached at or