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!
4 Important Tactics For Online Healthcare Marketing Strategy
- Focus on Patient Acquisition – This area focuses on your website, SEO, online advertising (Google, Facebook, Instagram etc), tracking of leads, secure HIPAA compliant CRM.
- Patient Engagement – This area focuses on your ability to engage patients. For example, Facebook and Google posts, SMS/Texting from your website so you can capture leads. Referral strategy, monthly Email marketing, auto-follow up emails and texts. Building a fan base on social media.
- Patient Revenue – This area focuses on your ability to monetize your marketing. Many doctors are doing a great job on marketing, but they are missing out on maximizing revenue per patient. Life time value of patient has 2 aspects. First initial visit and revenue generated by the first initial visit. Second part has to do with Life-Time-Value (LTV) of each patient – This could be a much bigger number and when calculating ROI – Return On Investment, should also be calculated. The second area is most overlooked by doctors.
- Reputation Management – This area can be a headache or a winning differentiator for your medical practice. As you service your patients, your plan should be as every patient ( shortly after providing service ) asking them “Based on your experience with our medical practice, would you recommend us”. This is probably the most important question you can ask. This can be done 4 different ways. 1) Personally asking them – This approach is most effective, however in real life, it is simply not possible. 2) Using SMS/Texting app sending a similar question and asking if they are happy with your service and willing to recommend you. If they say “yes” then software sends them link to a review site. 3) Using Email similar strategy is implemented. 4) Using an I-Pad in the lobby, similar strategy can be implemented. However this requires some clever software for changing the IP address.
How to Ask for Testimonials and Reviews From Your Patients
When you want to bring new patients to your medical practice, your online reputation is an important consideration when people research your location. When shopping around for services, people move in groups and are less likely to choose a location that has scant online reviews compared to a location that has a lot of customer feedback. You can use your online reputation to your advantage to bring in new patients, who will then leave their reviews. If approached correctly, this self-feeding loop of reviews and testimonials will give your clinic a significant marketing advantage.
How and why should I ask for reviews or testimonials?
A review or testimonial is a 1st person witness about how great of service they received at your clinic. Some of the most potent commercials on TV are ones featuring actual customers with the label “not an actor” underneath them. Let your most satisfied customers do the talking for you. They have the first-hand experience and are willing to tell others! These reviews and testimonials can be easily tacked onto your website. In most cases, they are short and to the point. They can also be used in print or email marketing materials.
Is it hard to get a review or testimonial?
If you have never formally asked for a review or testimonial in an organized fashion, it may seem like an impossible task. However, it is a lot easier than you may think. The most critical part: Asking. Still, timing is a key factor. The best moment is when your patient has been treated, and you have over delivered your service to them, leaving a patient feeling better, informed, and confident about their health.
How do I ask for a review on a site like Google, Facebook, or Yelp?
Reviews on these websites are often some of the first things a new patient will see when considering your clinic for your services. However, this is also where unhappy patients will leave their feedback, regardless if it is a valid critique of your business. Don’t let a single bad review make you sigh away from this powerful marketing tool. Patients widely recognize today that every business, be it a medical clinic, auto repair, or a pretzel stand will get bad reviews every now and again. The key is to build a vast repository of good reviews. All you need to do is ask.
To get as many reviews as possible, you need to make the process as easy as possible. The fewer clicks a patient has to do, the more likely they will follow through and leave you that review. No one wants to spend 5 minutes detailing their visit. You want to make it easy for someone to leave five stars, say a few words, and be on their way with the option to leave more detailed feedback if they choose.
Why does a patient leave me a negative review?
When a patient leaves a negative review of your medical clinic, more often than not, it has nothing to do with your doctor. In fact, studies indicate only about 28% of negative reviews are related to a patient’s interaction with a doctor. The other 72% often deal with billing issues, incorrect deductible payment, wait time, problems with a front desk worker or other staff, or improper handling of paperwork.
Patients will leave your medical clinic either happy, unhappy, or somewhere in the middle. With some focus on your end and combined with our excellent software, you can build a winning marketing strategy leveraging your patient’s experience. Unhappy and disgruntled patients leaving negative reviews can destroy a doctor and a clinic’s reputation. Proactively addressing problems, whether real or perceived, is the strategy you should adopt to protect your business.
How can I get positive reviews for my clinic?
The lobby of your facility isn’t just a place for a patient to wait to be seen by a doctor. It is a GOLD MINE for reviews for your business. Putting a little work into a patient’s departure can harvest great reviews from happy patients on their way out the door. Our reputation app works on iPads and is user-friendly. Once implemented, this easy to use app will start producing results in the first week at most clinics.
Your reputation on Google is, by far the single most crucial marketing strategy you should implement. While Facebook and Yelp are essential to keep in mind, a vast majority of people will start with Google first. Google Search produces excellent results for healthcare clinics, and within those results, the number of reviews is a powerful visual for potential patients.
What is the best strategy to get reviews or testimonials from patients? Should I use texted(SMS) based, email, or ask for them in my waiting room?
The truth is, you should adopt all of these strategies. Using only one approach can cause reviews to be flagged. For example, if you send out a mass email or text(SMS) asking for reviews, you will get a “burst” of reviews to your profiles. Text-based review requests often only produce a rating without any comments. The algorithms in these review sites will start blocking these reviews. By adopting all of these strategies, it will send a varying amount of reviews of different length and times throughout the week to your profile.
How do I get positive reviews for doctors at my clinic?
Ideally, the level of attention and quality of medical care should be enough to get patients to leave a positive review or testimonial. In reality, most patients need to be gently encouraged to leave feedback, which is why a strategy to acquire these reviews is vital for a medical practice. You should have a plan in place to maximize positive reviews and minimize negative reviews.
What review sites should I concentrate on?
At PatientGain.com, we’ve found our healthcare customers have had great success by focusing on Google and Yelp. You should expect an 80/20 ratio for reviews from these two sites. 80% or more of your reviews will come from Google, and the rest will likely come from Yelp. There are other healthcare centric review sites out there and should be kept in mind for your online strategy, but they are not as important as these two review sites.
How can I learn more about reviews, testimonials, and how to acquire them at my 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.