In 6 Components of a Successful Clinic, we discussed a high level marketing plan and the tactics it should include, such as:
- A referral program,
- Patient appreciation,
- New patient orientation,
- Community and corporate outreach,
- Surveying, and
These tactics can be considered for different lifecycle stages for your clinic: from new patient leads and conversion of a lead to a new patient to nurturing and retaining your current patients as well as turning those patients into advocates that in turn produce more patient referrals. Keeping your tactics and content focused on those high level stages is part of lifecycle marketing.
There are many iterations of the “marketing lifecycle”, and yours may look a little different than this, but this diagram represents some key stages a patient may go through when interacting with and visiting your clinic.
Lead Generation for Independent Practices
Building Awareness is another way of talking about lead generation. But before you start advertising your clinic, the first step should be to consider who your prospective patients are.
Consider the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the market your clinic is located in. Narrow your audience by defining those geographic and demographic qualifications. The last consideration should be behavioral characteristics. Consider the services you offer: Where would this audience look for these services? Searching online, on social media, in the newspaper, or through community and corporate outreach?
Consider budget needs during this process: How many people can you reach through your website vs postcard mailing? Answers to these types of questions will tell you where you should focus your lead generation efforts.
Conversion: Turning Leads into Patients
During the Nurture and Conversion stages, your prospective patient is moving from awareness of your clinic to consideration. Nurturing is the process by which you are providing all the tools they need to make that decision, and doing so in a way that feels authentic and even warm.
Again, define the ways in which your audience and prospective patients are best reaching you. Social media is a unique nurturing tool because it provides an element of recency that other marketing tactics may not.
Make it easy for your prospective patient to become a new patient: Offer online scheduling, contact information in the footer of your website across all pages, and be available when they call.
Are you taking advantage of the latest in marketing technology? Consider live chat on your clinic website, or provide videos to make a prospective patient comfortable with your clinic and doctors’ care before they step foot in the door.
Generating Referrals for Your Clinic
As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Do you provide a new patient orientation experience? This is the first opportunity you have in not just retaining your new patient, but turning that patient into an advocate (also known as building loyalty).
Your Retention efforts may include tactics such as surveys, to ensure you are meeting patient expectations, as well as offering patient appreciation programs. While you may have retained a patient, those patients don’t always move to Advocacy. A patient referral program will help move a patient from Retention in Advocacy.
Don’t forget to ask for reviews or testimonials from your loyal patients: Those are pieces of content that are key to nurturing prospective patients.
All your marketing tactics should work together to continually generate new patient leads, encourage your current patients to refer you, and thereby grow your practice. The right balance of activity across all these tactics may change over time: A new practice may need to focus on lead generation and awareness while your established practice may consider spending more time on retention.
Create an account with MeyerPT today or contact your personal account manager at 1.866.528.2144 for more information.