Are sick and tried of advertising with no guarantee of results? At last there is a proven method for attract more and better patients!
Webster’s dictionary describes a commodity as a class of economic goods; especially an item of merchandise (such as soybeans) whose price is the basis for future trading. If you want your clinic to grow, and to get more and better patients, you need to break free of the commodity trap!
We live in a world where your patients have more options than ever before! The fact is that patients are loyal to doctors and not to practices. However, if the only thing that separates you from your competitors is price then you have become a commodity. Your value has been reduced to the lowest common denominator — cash! You will only get more and better patients if you provide value well beyond a price-point.
As you read this, think back to when you initially opened your doors. Did you intend to open a practice that was only distinguishable by the prices you charge for the services you provide? A clinic where the only discernible difference between you and your competitors is that the decor and color of the scrubs you wear?
As you read further, you will see many examples of things you can easily do to connect more fully with your patients. In so doing, you will also gain greater insight of your patient’s needs while reaching them!
First and foremost, to attain the success you desire, you must take personal responsibility for your promotional efforts. You may not be well-versed in marketing and advertising, but you need to align yourself with someone who is. Your clinic’s survival literally depends on it!
Additionally, according to the Harvard Business Review, it is up to 25% more expensive to acquire a new patient than to retain existing patients. Further, Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company states that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25%-95%. So the motto of the story is, you don’t have to spend time and resources to get new patients, you just have to make the ones you have happy.
Jill Avery (lecturer at Harvard business school) states that “churn rates’ provide important and measurable matrices. This matrix is important because it focuses directly on the lifetime value of a patient and your return on investment. It’s not just marketers who look at churn, many investors use the metric to evaluate the underlying health of a firm. The higher the churn rate, the more they question the companies viability. Therefore, it’s not just understanding that patients leave, it’s about understanding why they leave. Then, you must make a concerted effort to make sure that the rest of your patients don’t follow suit!”
If you have never considered the value, over a lifetime, of each patient you are in for an eye-full! The lifetime value a patient represents is an easily calculated formula. You simply calculate the amount of revenue you receive from a patient each time they visit. You would then multiply that figure by the number of times per year they visit. Finally, you would multiply that amount by the average number of years that you retain your patients. As I’m sure you can see, each patient represents a significant amount of revenue to you.
You will also notice that losing patients means that you are handing over thousands of dollars to your competitors. This is not to say that you can’t be discriminating. There is no reason not to exclusively work with your favorite patients. You simply have to be more astute with your promotion and content. You may even wish to explore strategic affiliations to increase the numbers of desirable patients.
You should now do some calculations to fine-tune and identify more and better patients. You need to evaluate the quality of your current patients. Essentially, you need to determine which patients represent the 20% that provides you with 80% of your annual revenue. Once you establish this number, you then figure out what their primary concerns are. For example, if these patients represent chronic migraines, and you would then target your marketing for that specific ailment.
Stay very close to your patients, so you know their exact needs, today and tomorrow. Your aim is to be irreplaceable as their healthcare provider.
As you deliver your “targeted” message you need to decide which platform you will use to deliver your important information. But first, you have to make sure that your own websites and clinic are ready to receive and IMPRESS.
Most doctors put all their marketing effort into getting new patients. However, as we’ve been discussing, it costs between 7-20 times more to sell to a new patient than it does to sell to an existing one. Therefore, your promotional efforts will be spent on retaining patients and encouraging referrals.
You must upgrade your web page and clinic to encourage more “social shares.” Your clinic must scream “I am the go-to doctor in town“; “I have it going on!” Add video testimonials to both your web page and clinic. If you active in community events and fundraisers include those on your website, social media, and your clinic as well. Your emails to patients must be timely, interesting, and easy-to-read. The content on your website (such as your blog) must be compelling and alluring.
Getting your content shared is the holy grail for most writers! Moreover, those shares validate that your content is “share-worthy,” and they help you reach a larger and more ailment (such as chronic migraines) specific audience.
Getting people to share your content isn’t easy. But if you create your own momentum you increase the likelihood of your patient’s sharing your information.
Invespcro reports that 89% of companies see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty, retention and referrals. Additionally, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, when compared to new customers. So develop more and better patients by providing more and better service to your existing patients. The data is irrefutable; if you want to excel, your current patient base will get you there!
Mobile technology and social sharing have reshaped the media industry in recent years. So, here are some tips to help you with your social media; and specifically, your social “shares!”
* Sharing is defined as The practice of sharing content from a website on a social media site or application. — Oxford Dictionary
- Make sure your headlines are compelling and alluring. Even though you’re working with people that know you, like you, and trust you, you still need to grab their attention quickly.
- What you write in your promotional messages is vital and not generic. Especially for doctors, make sure your material is not full of medical jargon which is only understood by you. In other words, make sure your content must be spot on and user-friendly. Across the board, social media experts agree that if your content isn’t worth sharing, it isn’t likely to be shared.
- Make your promotional pieces are visually appealing. You want to get more and better patients? Then appeal to their senses. It’s human nature, people are much more likely to share something (in this case your message) if it has images.
Okay, now let’s focus our attention on your website. Encourage visitors to share your content by including social sharing plug-ins. Also, because so many people access the Internet via their phones, make sure your site is compatible with mobile devices. Incidentally, if you’re not very technical there are services that can help you add various plug-ins to your site. I am partial to Fiverr; they’re quick, they’re professional, and they’re easy to work with. By the way, I have no affiliation with the company; I have always found them to be excellent.
Also, make sure your website is easy to navigate and has a clear call to action. Too often, many sites are very pretty and real “artsy,” but the reader gets confused from a lack of direction. Therefore, make sure your visitors know exactly how to access your new content, promotional offers, and special interest pieces. Make sure that verbiage of your site is clear, persuasive, and not jargony.
As you write your blog posts and articles include them on your site, but make them easy to find. Plainly indicate where on your site people can read your vital information. Expand on trending issues, recap key statistics or medical studies, or continue the narrative with new facts or tips.
81% of companies that focus on client retention do so by implementing strong email campaigns; and, you are six times more likely to receive a click-thru from an email campaign than you are from a tweet, according to Campaign Monitor.
Be part of that 81% and create a solid email campaign (to your current patients). Again, your audience already knows, likes, and trusts you so this is your opportunity to share something vital. Be sure all your correspondences are error-free; always proofing for typos and testing links.
Another excellent tip comes from Business2Community.com. She points out that “If there’s a byline on your content, make sure the author serves as an advocate. Encourage them to share a link to the landing page on their social channels. Another common tactic is for the author to share an article about the content offering on his or her LinkedIn profile through LinkedIn Pulse.who writes for
Media Relations – Is your e-book authored by an expert? Does your white paper offer provocative new viewpoints on an industry topic? Don’t overlook the potential of strategic media relations/publicity outreach. Your new content offer can be a good reason for you to “check in” with key business or trade media, showing what your company has been up to—with an offer to interview the executive responsible for your content insights.
Guest Author on Blogs – Explore industry-leading blogs in your space to find out if they accept guest posts or blog submissions. Online blog posts can drive direct traffic to your landing page. Also, our agency has found success in syndicating our authored articles on industry sites, such as Business2Community.”
It is virtually impossible to ignore the lure of social media marketing. Actually, in the computer-age world in which we live, it would the foolhardy to ignore the medium! However, as stated earlier, to get more and better patients you need to know your specific patient’s demographic and psychographic make-up.
Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. are excellent; except each one excels in different markets. Listed below are a few breakdowns of the most common sites. You can make the ideal choice as to which vehicle would resonate best with your patients.
According to the Pew Research Company, today, more than half of internet users (52%) use two or more of the social media sites measured (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn) compared with 42% who did so in 2013. Let’s explore some of your options:
Facebook – Facebook is a social networking website that allows users to: a) store information, pictures and videos to share with each other, b) have online conversations by posting messages and responses.
Facebook is by far the most popular.
- In September 2016, Facebook reported that it had 1.79 billion people using the site each month around the world. As one of the most used social media platforms in the world, it is definitely something you should consider using to market your business online.
- Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm. (Source: Bit.ly blog). Post regularly, however always try to include imagery, videos, and relevant articles.
- 71% of adult internet users/58% of the entire adult population. Pewinternet.org
- 93% of Facebook users say they are Facebook friends with family members other than parents or children. Pewinternet.org
- 58% say they are connected to work colleagues. Pewinternet.org
- Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes. (Source: Infodocket.com).
- 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. (Source: State of Inbound Marketing 2012).
- Facebook users are 76% female (out of 100% of all females) and 66% male (out of 100% of all males). *zephoria.com.
Twitter – Twitter is another one of the most used social media platforms in the world, where people all around the globe post news and information every second. It is a great social media platform for sharing ideas, connecting with consumers and posting up-to-date information about your services.
- The number of Twitter users 317 million.
- Estimated total number of Twitter registered users 1.3 billion.
- Daily Twitter users 100 million. Average number of followers per Twitter user 208
- 19% of online adults age 18-24 have used twitter.
- 20% of online adults age 25-34 have used twitter.
- 10% of online adults age 35-44 “ “ “ “
- 5% of online adults age 45-54 “ “ “ “
- 4% of online adults age 55-64 “ “ “ “
- 2% of online adults 65+ “ “ “ “
- 35% of twitter users live in urban areas
- 9% live in rural areas
- 10% of internet users in households earning more than $75,000 tweet
- 76% of twitter users use the internet wirelessly
*Information provided by PEW Research Center.
Instagram – Instagram is a mobile, photographic based social media platform, where people share images about their services. As Instagram is a mobile social media platform, people share images on the go. Instagram can be used creatively to market your business through innovative design, eye-catching photography and clever use of copywriting.
- 26% of adult internet users/21% of the entire adult population.
- 53% of young adults ages 18-29 now use the service, compared with 37% who did so in 2013.
- Besides young adults, women are particularly likely to be on Instagram, along with Hispanics and African-Americans, and those who live in urban or suburban environments. Pewinternet.org
An important point about this medium, you must always remember to include relevant hashtags (#) in your photographs description.
Youtube – Youtube is the largest video sharing site in the world with 1 billion unique visitors each month. Video content is dominating the internet with businesses creating unique videos to market their business. Youtube as a social media platform is a fantastic way to share your video content and sell your services through visuals.
- The average number of unique YouTube users per month in the U.S. = 167.4 million.
- Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute = 400 hours
- Percentage of U.S. internet users who have a YouTube account = 58.2%
To get the most out of this platform, engage with your network and followers and encourage sharing and commenting. Also, since you already use YouTube, then you know the power of video for marketing. Periscope, launched in 2015 by Twitter, is a small but mighty version of YouTube with a twist – the videos feature live streaming, not produced materials.
LinkedIn – Linkedin is a professional social media platform where businesses can share their professional blogs, content or advice with other professionals. It is an effective networking site where your business can find and develop leads and market your product or service.
- 28% of adult internet users/23% of the entire adult population.
- The site continues to be particularly popular among college graduates, those in higher-income households and the employed (although the increase in usage by those who are not employed to 21% from 12% in 2013 is notable).
- College graduates continue to dominate use of the site. Fully 50% use LinkedIn, a 12-point increase since last year.
- It is the only platform where those ages 30-64 are more likely to be users than those ages 18-29. Pewinternet.org
Use your Linkedin page to showcase your professional work – add articles for your clinic, photographs, and links to your website and social media sites.
Social media is an extremely important tool when marketing your clinic online as it offers you a worldwide network of professionals, customers, and patients.
Additionally, there may be real benefits by exploring lesser known social media sites which can help you expose your brand to new audiences. Sites like Reddit appeal to young males. The Pew Research Center confirms an audience 400,000+; and 49% of which are between the ages of 18 – 24 and 35% are between 25 – 34, 46% are employed full-time, and 33% report some college and 35% reported having Bachelor’s degrees.
If your brand targets the 25 and under crowd (Millennials) then Snapchat may be the perfect option for you. With more than 100 million daily active users, Snapchat is simply too big to ignore, Sharing pictures without commitment (snaps disappear in 24 hours) and creating unique stories appeals to the site’s teen heavy demographic.
If you are involved in your community, then you may benefit from this image driven powerhouse called Geofilters. This platform makes it easy to reach users in a designated area; they also allow you to put your specially created brand or filter right on shared snaps.
In closing, as you can see, it’s a crowded marketplace; both you and your patients have lots of options. You MUST do everything in your power to stand out!
Through your ongoing interest in your patient’s live’s and health needs, your brand MUST stand apart from your competitors. The last thing in the world you want is to be compared solely on the basis of price.
Your communication with and the content you provide will distinguish you with your current patients as the local expert. It’s about targeting your market and developing a reputation as a great resource, trustworthy, knowledgeable, and close-at-hand authority. By establishing yourself in this manner, you will never compete on price again!
Visibility will be the cornerstone on which your business success will be built. You will and better patients by placing your core marketing message in front of as many of your targeted patients as possible. Remember, your message must compel with a strong headline, it must attract enticing message that speaks to their specific health needs, and must present a better offer than anyone else in town!
I know there’s a lot to absorb and learn from this article. Frankly, you may not be well-versed putting this all together. This is precisely why we offer our help. Feel free to contact us, and we will gladly walk you (as we’ve done with many others) through everything!
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz, StevenVonLoren Marketing Strategists,