Common Question From Doctors: How to Improve Patient Acquisition For My Medical Practice?
11 Specific steps you can take this week to start improving your patient acquisition.
Are you looking to acquire new patients for your medical practice? In the past, putting a sign out front, word of mouth, and being listed in the phone book was more than enough to get patients. However, more needs to be done in today’s competitive environment. While those three things remain relatively significant, in today’s digital age, there are many options for medical practices to consider when promoting their services. Doctors and owners need to carefully consider where to put their marketing money to be more productive.
1. Create A Marketing Plan
One of the biggest mistakes doctors and medical practices make is not thinking of a plan of action to market their medical practice. Creating a marketing plan gives you a clear direction on your efforts and gives you goals to strive to meet. Without a marketing plan, you could find yourself drifting from idea to idea without any way to evaluate the results of your effort. While marketing plans can be updated and adjusted as you go along, having a plan is vital to organizing your marketing efforts to acquire new patients.
2. Ask Your Patients For Referrals
Do you know who the best person is to talk about your services at your medical practice: Patients who left happy with their experience. While you may assume your patients will talk about your medical practice and your doctors, it probably isn’t an active thought in their head. Encourage your patients to tell their friends and family about the services you offer and their experience at your medical practice. Reinforce this encouragement with reminders in their discharge paperwork, signs in your medical practice, and incentives for referrals. The more active you are with your patients for referrals, the more engaged they will be in sending them your way.
3. Send A Patient Newsletter With Rich Content
Anyone can send out an email blast to their patients, offering them well wishes for the season or reminding them of their hours of operation. Send high quality, informative content to your patients regularly. This content could be health-related news, updates on the services you offer, or even announcements in the lives of your employees. The more informative and useful you make your newsletter, the more likely it will be read and forwarded to people not on your mailing list. Try to send out a newsletter once a month, but no more than once a week. A daily newsletter will end up in the spam folder and put a lot of pressure on you to create something interesting daily for your mailing list.
4. Coordinate With Your Staff
Everyone working at your medical practice should be on the same page when a new patient arrives. A new patient, especially one that is referred to you, should get a great first impression of your medical practice. Your staff should be reminded to be as friendly and likable as possible. A patient is not going to refer others or even return to your clinic if they have a terrible first experience at your location. If a patient is referred to you and reports back to their friend or family member about a bad experience, that person is also unlikely to refer anyone else in the future. Train your staff to provide the best possible experience for any patient in your clinic.
5. Facilitate Online Access
If possible, let patients schedule an appointment through your website. By allowing patients to make an appointment at their leisure, it will result in more appointments to your medical practice and gives a patient a sense of control in their health care decisions. It is a much better system than leaving an after-hours message that must be followed up in the morning. Also, try to include a referral button on your website that can allow patients to refer others to your clinic.
6. Improve Online Visibility
Besides having a website, be sure to claim or create your profiles online. These profiles include:
- Google Business Listing
- Yelp Listing
- Foursquare Listing
- Facebook Business Page
While there may be other social media platforms that are useful to your medical practice, these are some of the big ones you should look at first.
7. Thank Referrals and those who referred them
A little thank you, and recognition goes a long way to show you appreciate the efforts of your patients to send you new patients. It may take a little time to thank someone on a social media platform or in a monthly newsletter, but it is worth it. If someone feels appreciated for referring others to your medical practice, they will continue to do so. Also, saying hello and welcoming new patients to your practice is a powerful way to keep them happy and encourage others to visit your clinic. The return on investing time on this can be tremendous!
8. Send Reminders & Other Messages
Technology allows doctors and medical practices today to set up automated messages to send out to patients. Some of the most common automated messages include:
- Happy Birthday Emails
- Reminders Of Special Hours
- Appointment Reminders
These are opportunities to reconnect with patients, especially if they have not used your services in a while. Bringing them back into the fold will help improve your overall patient base and improve your count. These easy communications will remind patients you care about their health and are available to help them with their needs.
9. Host Events
When was the last time you had an open house at your medical practice? Invite the public to get a tour of your facility and show others what your capabilities are at your location. Provide some snacks and drinks to encourage people to stay and talk with your staff. An annual open house can be quite an event if done regularly, where people look forward to visiting for the year. Not only can you reconnect with your usual patients, but they will often bring others to an event allowing you to introduce yourself to them. You can also have other events throughout the year like vision testing, blood pressure screening, or other diagnostic health screenings for the public.
10. Give Incentives For New Patients
Regardless if a new patient is referred to you or they find you online, give them an incentive to visit your clinic for the first time. These incentives can include:
- Discounts for services
- A coupon to give to someone else to use
- A “welcome bag” of swag and other healthcare-related items
Make sure you don’t go overboard and lose money on any incentives you give to new patients. By spending a little money on welcoming a new patient to your practice, you help encourage them to come back again in the future.
11. Participate In Community Events
If you can’t get people to come to you, go to them! Sponsor local events and set up a booth with information about your medical clinic. Offer a free medical screening and send them home with the results as well as your contact information. Attending these events can be an excellent way for your staff to meet other people in the community and can be a great team-building event for doctors and staff. Go out there and show your competitors that you care about your community.
Take some of these ideas and see if you can push your patient count higher with new patients to your medical practice!
PatientGain.com has spent years working with a variety of healthcare clients in many different fields of medicine. Our powerful software has produced excellent results across the country. Make an appointment today to speak with our experts today and let us show you the difference PatientGain.com can make at your clinic.