How to Attract More Patients to Your Medical Practice
At PatientGain, Common Question How to Attract More Patients to Your Medical Practice? (Applies To Dentists, Surgeons & Healthcare Practices)
If you have a medical practice, you need patients to stay in business. It would be easier to accomplish if you always were looking to get new patients to come to your clinic. Sure, some of your current patients will be coming back forever. However, natural attrition will continuously reduce the number of patients you see. Some may move away, others may be cured and no longer need your service or a competitor may woo away even some. With that in mind, you should have an active plan to acquire new patients for your business. Below are some tried and true ways for you to build your patient count at your medical clinic.
What’s the best way to develop a referral network?
Previously, a physician could rely on their medical field’s reputation to get referrals from other doctors. In today’s highly competitive industry, that is less likely to occur. Instead, your practice needs to build strong, personal relationships with doctors so they might refer patients your way. The stronger the relationship and trust you develop with a doctor, the more likely they are to trust you and your providers’ abilities. A referring doctor’s reputation is on the line as much as yours. A patient’s negative experience may cause them never to come back to you again, but it also may shatter a long-term relationship they have with the referring doctor. That doctor will only send patients to you if they are 100% sure they will receive the best care at your practice. All in all, to develop a referral network with other doctors, you need to build a strong, positive relationship with them.
How do I increase the number of referrals I get to my medical clinic from other doctors?
This may sound obvious, but the easier it is for other practices to refer patients to your clinic, the more referrals you are likely to get. The front desk staff and doctors at your medical practice are just as busy as your clinic. The more hoops they have to jump through to refer a patient for care, the more likely they will find another medical practice to send patients to for treatment. Go through your referral practice with a mock patient and write down every step a doctor has to go through to send a patient over. Look at that list and see if anything can be combined, skipped, or changed to accomplish faster. Some tried and true methods to make it easier for referrals include:
• The dedicated phone number for practices to call for referrals.
• An employee is assigned to handle all referrals, so they always know what is needed to complete the referral process rather than a different person every time flipping through a checklist.
• Referral forms should be online and straightforward for patients to fill out.
• Any information that can be transferred over should be so that patients do not have to repeat themselves or bring their records with them.
• Prompt and clear communication between your medical practice, the patient, and the referring doctor.
• A follow-up with the doctor a few weeks later to let them know patient and treatment status.
• If needed, prompt digital communication of all notes regarding treatment and diagnosis to the referring doctor for their medical records.
Should I hire a physician liaison?
A relatively new position in medical practices is a physician liaison. While becoming more common, not everyone is familiar with this position or the tasks assigned to them. Building relationships and communicating with different parties is a time-consuming proposition, and most doctors do not have time to do that and treat patients. This is where a physician liaison steps in and helps. They should be intimately familiar with your services, treatments available, the providers working at your clinic. While this knowledge should also be ingrained into your front office staff, they have various other duties to perform throughout the day. A physician liaison will go out and actively meet with people and build relationships. They should also be involved with strategic medical marketing planning with the owner.
Both the medical clinic owner and the physician liaison should work together to develop a list of practices and other businesses for referrals. Being on the same page will make the entire process run more efficiently. In doing so, a physician liaison can be educated and trained about all the medical practice’s ins and outs so she can present it as a great choice to a potential referring party. To secure a referral source, they need to know the clinic and speak intelligently about the medical field the clinic practices in.
How do I know if I am effective in acquiring new patients?
The best metric to use to determine if your patient acquisition plans are effective is to analyze the return on investment or ROI. All in all, you want your ROI to be as high as possible. For example, if you spend $10,000 on a marketing plan that brings in patients that generate $5,000 in revenue, then that marketing plan was a failure. If that $10,000 generated $10,000 in revenue, then you did alright, but it could be much better. In terms of what ratio you should aim for, if you can generate $2 or $3 for every dollar you spend to acquire patients, then you are in good shape. If you generated $5 for every dollar you spend, that is considered to be very strong. If you achieve a ratio higher than that, you have come across a great marketing plan to get new patients.
What are some things I should look at to help me figure out if my marketing efforts are working as best as possible?
It would be best if you were evaluating your marketing efforts throughout the year. You must set up trackable and achievable goals. These goals should be tracked in your CRM or some other product to quickly determine what is working and what could use another look. Doing this by hand will be time-consuming, and there is a good chance you might miss something. Some critical questions regarding your marketing efforts should be:
• Did your marketing campaign accomplish its goals?
• What was the percentage of growth compared to last year?
• Is there an income increase or loss?
• How many new patients did you retain?
Why should I care what my competition is doing with their medical marketing plans?
Competition is very high in the healthcare industry. You need to keep tabs on your competitors because your competitors are keeping tabs on you! They will watch you for changes in your medical marketing plans and the start of any new campaigns. They will adjust the mitigate the impact on their business, which may drastically affect how effective your campaign is in acquiring new patients. Watching their adjustments to counter you allow you to make your adjustments to your marketing campaign to counter them. Yes, this does sound like you are going in circles with them, but it is the only way to ensure your campaign remains effective and maintains a high ROI.
Also, you should watch your competitor see if you can steal any useful ideas from them. Just because a marketing idea did not come organically from your head does not mean you can’t use it. You can not cut and paste whatever they have and stick it into your marketing campaign. You will need to make sure it is branded for your medical practice. Finally, your competitors are likely to steal a good idea from you. If you come up with a marketing plan that is effective and bites into your competitors’ patient count, expect them to come up with their version.
Is social media an excellent way to acquire patients? What are some ways you can use social media to build your patient count?
Social media continues to be more and more important to medical practices. It is a great way to engage with your current and potential patients, building your overall patient count. One of the biggest challenges with social media is producing content regularly that is engaging, informative, and not repetitive. If all you do on your social media channels is sell your services or products, you are bound to fail, and many of your followers will tune you out. Instead, try to present a variety of different content posts for your followers. Yes, include some information about your medical practice and share health stories, local news, and some tidbits about the employees at your medical practice. This variety is much more engaging and will lead to your current patients’ friends and family discovering your medical practice. This organic discovery is much more powerful than advertising directly to them, which main social media channels allow you to do.
It would be best to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google, the four main social media channels medical practices typically. (Yes, Google Business Profiles has a social media component that allows you to post updates.) Each social media channel is a little different from the other, but all will enable you to share updates to your followers to share their social media profiles. Some medical practices have found some success with Snapchat, TikTok, and some other smaller social media channels. Do not try to do everything at once, or you will likely be overwhelmed. Work with some of the big ones first, and then when you are comfortable, add more as needed.
How does my online reputation impact my patient acquisition?
Your online reputation may be one of the most significant factors determining how easy it is for you to acquire new patients. Online reviews are amongst the first things a new potential patient will review before making their healthcare decision. If your online reviews are terrible, they will click on a back button and review another choice. If your online reviews are good, but their are only a few of them, they may look at other options with more reviews. The most potent way your online reputation can help your patient acquisition is by presenting a plethora of positive reviews for a potential patient to read before exploring your website. You will always run into a few disgruntled patients and are unhappy with the services they received at your clinic. They are unavoidable, and their negative review will likely remain. However, you can counter them by having a ton of good reviews to drown them out. These reviews will reassure potential patients that you are the right choice for them, and you can also use them for marketing campaigns.
Many medical clinics struggle to figure out how to get positive reviews from their patients. The answer is quite simple: Ask. Unfortunately, someone who has had a negative experience at your clinic is generally more motivated to leave a review. However, you will be surprised how many people will leave a review if you ask. The key is making it as easy as possible for someone to leave a review with as few clicks as possible. The more clicks and hoops someone has to jump through, the less likely they will leave a review and will abandon the process altogether. Ideally, you want it to be one click and then take them directly to where you want them to leave a review.
The vast majority of your reviews will be on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Ensure you can monitor these reviews but create or claim your listings on these websites. In most cases, you will need to verify your medical practice’s ownership via an automated phone call or a postcard that will be mailed to you. Once verified, you will be all good to go to managing your reviews and reputation.
The experts at PatientGain.com are ready to help you manage your marketing strategies to help you acquire new patients and grow your medical practice. We have many custom-built apps that can help with patient engagement and acquisition. Call today and let our team show you what we have done for other medical practices in your field. We are confident we can help you improve your current patient acquisition strategies and introduce you to some new ones.
Twenty-first century Americans want an ATM on every corner, a Starbucks on every block, grocery stores within a two minute drive from home, cell phones that setup appointments for them, gas stations that serve fresh coffee and bagels, and now with the changes caused by the Affordable Care Act, walk-in medical clinics at every corner. Patients today expect doctors who show up on time, and polite receptionists at the front desk. They are also exercising their right of free speech by posting their experiences on the internet, social media, Yelp, and Google Reviews. Clinics who want to improve their businesse’s health with a strong flow of new patients need to have a plan in place to effectively manage their presence on the web. This is just ONE area of online healthcare marketing.
Running a comprehensive online strategy means your clinic has to utilize a lot of software tools and marketing consultants. Medical practices typically have to work with four to eight different vendors to coordinate and manage their efforts on the Internet. Keeping up with the constantly changing online landscape is hard enough, and when you have to get strategy advice and execution from multiple companies it become an even bigger headache.
Impact of Medical Marketing on Physicians Earnings
Thousands of Physicians & Specialized Medical Practices struggle every day to fill their calendar with patients. Despite having a great location, a dedicated and professional medical staff, proper equipment, and hard earned certifications and qualifications, their daily patient counts aren’t where they’d like them to be. Many clinics don’t realize that what they are missing is online expertise and a sophisticated software solution to power their patient acquisition efforts. These days, your clinic’s strategy for generating new patients online has to be more than just having a good looking website. Review of 162 online campaigns reveals that 72 percent of the patients are searching for medical services on a mobile device. Exactly the same test revealed that this number was 54 percent 12 months ago. PatientGain.com predicts that this number will be close to 90 percent in the next few years. As a healthcare practitioner and a physician you are aware that average income of primary care physicians, while has increased in the last 6 years (possibly due to ObamaCare), and averaged $194,000 per year. But this should not be compared with "savvy" physicians, who are using online medical marketing software to increase the value of services they provide. For savvy physicians, these numbers are significantly higher. We wish you to be in the “savvy” category.
5 Steps for Facebook Success for Doctors & Medical Practices
Use Social Media Apps To Acquire New Patients and Engage & Service Existing Patients
Social Media Marketing is another very important aspect of your marketing. Your potential and existing are hanging around on Facebook. You have to make it easy for them to do business with you. Here are 5 steps.
5 Steps for Facebook Success for Doctors & Medical Practices
- Create Facebook Business Page for your medical practice.
- Optimize FacebookBusiness Page for your medical practice.
- Add apps to your FacebookBusiness Page for your medical practice. For example, add Contact Us app, add Appointment Requests app, add Promotions app.
- Add content to your FacebookBusiness Page for your medical practice
- Advertise your FacebookBusiness Page for your medical practice on Facebook – There are multiple ways to promote your FacebookBusiness Page for your medical practice. You can hire a professional ( recommended ) or do it yourself. Professionals who are certified advertising professionals will produce better results for you.
PatientGain.com is a proven dental and medical marketing solution, includes apps, websites, SEO, HIPAA compliance and account management.
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