It’s very important to occasionally revisit your current marketing efforts to be as effective as possible. There are many avenues that offer opportunities for marketing and growth for your practice, whether it’s on social media, email campaigns, blog posts, or even in your own office. Let’s look at some of the areas where there may be gaps in your marketing efforts and see how you can start filling them!
Step 1: Track New Patients
You always want to understand where the money is coming from by determining who is coming to your office and what their journey will be with you. Think of your patients as “warm” vs “cold.” Warm meaning patients who came in as referrals and cold meaning patients who never heard of you before coming in to see you.
New Warm Patients
Referrals are typically your ideal patients because they’re being purposefully referred to you by people who understand you and who already consider you their biggest fan. So, what are you doing to ensure referrals? Do you have internal marketing strategies implemented in your clinic? What setup do you have in place? Do you have documentation or information on paper that you can hand to your existing patients so they can pass it on to people they know? It could be something as simple as handing them a flyer. Or you could collect their email address to send them information. Think of all the marketing materials you could be providing throughout each touchpoint with your patients. You want to have small practices in place to make it easy for people to tell others about you.
If you have ongoing communication with your patients, you will be more present to them. Nurturing sequences via email, video, or maybe even a cleanse program, webinar series, or Masterclass. There are many ways to continually educate your patients for them to know that you are an expert in a variety of things. Then they’ll keep you at the top of their mind when discussing health matters with their friends and family.
New Cold Patients
New cold patients are those individuals who do not really know you, and they usually come from a paid traffic strategy or visibility plan. Paid traffic, such as paid ads for Google, Instagram, or Facebook are a way to monetize ads to bring in new patients. This is definitely an option, but advertising is only one piece of a complete visibility plan designed to help you to build your personal brand, to build your community, and to attract the ideal patients who will connect with you.
Other than advertising, how do you become visible to attract new patients?
Social media isn’t an option anymore; it's a necessity. People are checking you out online, and they want to see what your social media profile and content is all about. They want to see you as an expert, and they want to feel they can resonate with you as a human. We know that people spend money on experts who can help them, so your new patients aren’t buying your service and they aren’t buying your clinic, they’re buying your expert advice. When they look at your social media, they want to see that you’re the right person to take them on their healing journey.
Podcasts are a great opportunities that are similar to public speaking. Podcasting allows you to continue educating your audience after they’ve left your office. You can create talks and speak directly to your community. This is a fantastic way to stay relevant and to constantly stay in your patients’ minds.
Hosting events, attending events, or even creating your own events are all wonderful ways to further connect and engage with your community. Having that “in-person” interaction is an amazing way for them to gain even more insight into who you are and what you can do for them.
It’s a lot easier to share your information with an audience that other people have created than to build one from scratch. Always stay connected to other local businesses and invite them to your events or talks so that when they are hosting, you will be invited to their events, and you will have access to their audience.
Evaluating the Cost of Acquisition
How do you acquire patients and what is it actually costing you? This is a metric you can use to determine the cost to acquire your warm vs cold patients. Hard costs, such as the cost of advertising, looks at how much you are spending on ads and how many patients you get in return. This is an important metric to review regularly. The other metric that’s a little bit harder to determine — that is not often tracked — is your sweat equity.
Sweat equity is called the less tangible effort, such as research you do for your visibility work, the time you’re putting into your community, and the time that you’re applying any of these strategic visibility pieces. A really important step when you’re evaluating your marketing strategies is to get a sense of where your new and cold patient traffic is coming from, what those numbers look like, and having a better understanding of your cost of acquisition.
Step 2: Assess Your Current Retention Rate
How Do You Measure Success?
Patient Visit Average
This stat looks at your total patient visits divided by new patient visits over a certain period of time, for example 3 months. This average allows you to understand your rate of retention. A lower patient visit average (PVA) means that new patients are coming in, but they’re not continuing their care with you. Practitioners who have been running a successful practice for a long time will typically have a higher PVA.
What Can You Do to Ensure Higher Retention?
Ensuring a high retention rate is a huge opportunity for you to keep clients that have already engaged in your service. It's always easier to sell to people who have already bought before (assuming they had a good experience, of course). There are some important things to consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy rate of retention as follows:
- Proper communication
- Care plans or treatment programs
- Setting clear expectations
- Ongoing patient education
- Top-notch clinical skills
What infrastructure do you already have in place to make sure the patients you serve are staying with you for the appropriate amount of time? This time varies per patient based on the typical time needed to resolve their problems. You need to help them reach their goals and inspire them to continue with you, and then transition (or even graduate) to an ongoing maintenance plan.
You’re a leader in their health journey, and as such, you need to provide 5-star services. There are a variety of different ways to enhance what you’re doing to retain patients, but the list provided above is a good place to start.
Step 3: Look at the Size of Your Audience
A lot of people don’t look at this metric, but if I were evaluating a business that I wanted to purchase (especially now that so many of our marketing strategies happen online), I would have to look at the size of their audience. Building and maintaining an audience is an essential way to keep bringing new patients into your practice.
If you were to evaluate the list of your active patients, how many of them do you have email addresses on? How many people are following you on social media or have subscribed to your YouTube channel? You can build a massive brand by focusing on the size of your audience.
What are you doing to grow your audience? Do you have podcasts, hosting events, or speaking events? Are you ensuring that your social activity is constant and that you’re building an audience? A lot of people post on social media with no true focus on leveraging the medium to build an audience.
If you are looking at building an audience as a goal, there’s a variety of different ways that you can get there beyond social media posts. A great example is to ask for Google reviews. Implement a strategy that gears your online efforts toward your ideal patients and learn to speak to them in their own language (by talking about their problems and by using their words) to continue to grow and reach new people.
Step 4: Work on Your Average Transaction Value
In short, we’re talking about selling more to the people you already serve. The average transaction value is your total revenue divided by your total visits. You are selling your services, but what else can you provide to add value to your patients while also creating more revenue?
You can upsell online programs, include add-ons, promote allied health-care providers, offer memberships, products, testing, and more. Remember, your patients trust you and want your guidance and expertise. They want to buy the best products available, and they would value your recommendations as opposed to doing the research on their own.
You can increase your average transaction value without increasing your time by adding in key things. For example, you can engage your front-end staff to help you upsell on whichever outlet you choose. Make it fun by turning it into a competition. Make sure the whole team keeps in mind that this isn’t just a sales tactic, it's an authentic way to grow your business by offering needed services and products to people who are already spending money for your services.
Step 5: Social Proof = Clinic Reviews
We know that social proof (e.g., Google reviews) is a deciding factor for many patients. Not only does it make you as a practitioner and your team feel fulfilled, but it also helps your patients decide if you’re the practitioner they want to see.
At the end of the day, when prospective patients are googling you, they’re googling multiple people at once. Google reviews and social proof are incredibly important if you want to build trust and credibility for your practice.
How Does Your Clinic Measure Up?
Think of a time when you wanted to visit a new restaurant. Maybe you checked it out online and read the reviews before you decided to try it. People will want to do the same for your practice. Reviews are a great way to gain a positive evaluation perspective, but also as a key item to be integrated into your practice.
It's no longer an opportune time to sit idly by and hope that randomly, once a year or so, someone will write something nice about you in a review. These reviews help people decide if they want to work with you based on whether you look like an expert online.
There are several different tactics you can use to increase your social proof; some are automated, and some require a little sweat equity. You need to figure out a way that works for you and your business to increase your social proof.
If your competitors are focusing on testimonials and reviews, and you’re not, even if you have exceptional care and better care plans, and even if you’re offering more things, then there is a deficiency. You need to get ahead of this ASAP.
Now that you've learned the five steps to evaluate your marketing efforts, make note of where you may have gaps and start planning ways to fill them!