Successfully operating a health center hinges on effective patient acquisition, care, and retention. Since trust plays a big part in medicine, investing in obtaining new patients can pay off in the long run, as patients prefer the help of medical professionals they’re already familiar with.
The channels you use to communicate and the educational expertise your facility offers patients can substantially impact patient acquisition. Some of the best patient acquisition strategies involve open communication with prospective patients and matching your services with their needs.
With that said, let’s look at different patient acquisition strategies in healthcare you can implement right now.
Patient acquisition is the process of attracting clients to your clinic when they need healthcare services. Particularly, patient acquisition is targeted at first-time patients and should highlight the services and benefits your establishment offers.
The cost of patient acquisition depends on how big your target audience is and the methods you use. Patient acquisition strategies may include building a website, posting on social media, and engaging in offline marketing, like distributing flyers.
More sophisticated and resource-intensive campaigns will require more funds. For example, billboards or TV commercials may cost you a couple of thousand dollars, while a small Instagram ad campaign may be as low as $32. Invoca reports that the average cost for a lead in healthcare is $162.
The cost of patient acquisition is based on the following formula for all healthcare service providers:
Patient Acquisition Cost = Sales and Marketing Costs / Number of New Patients
Let’s say your total sales and marketing costs add up to $25,000, which includes the costs of marketing services, designers, and copywriters. The total number of new patients acquired within the same period was 500. By dividing the total marketing costs by the number of new patients, you will find out the patient acquisition cost:
Patient Acquisition Cost = 25,000 / 500 = 50
Therefore, it takes about $50 on average to acquire a new patient. If every new patient spends an average of $100 at your facility, the profit margin of your patient acquisition strategy will be 50%.
Below are nine actionable and effective strategies that you can incorporate into your patient acquisition campaigns:
A marketing strategy that speaks directly to patients can help build trust and loyalty in your services. Therefore, provide detailed information about all the services your clinic offers to address the unique needs of each patient. For example, you can do this through newsletters that inform patients about your specific services and how they can improve their health.
A good way of engaging with first-time patients is through a responsive phone line. Invoca reports that 67% of patients call to find out more about a clinic’s services and to book an appointment. Therefore, invest in a responsive appointment line that would make a good impression on prospective patients.
The Internet, in general, is a powerful tool to attract new customers. And an informative website can leave a good impression on people looking for a healthcare provider. So start a website and make sure to include information such as your services, providers, price list, contact information, as well as which insurance companies you work with.
Once you have a fully functioning website, you should focus on directing people to it so they find out more about your facility. One possible way of doing this is by implementing an SEO strategy to boost your website’s visibility and ranking on Google. While you should always focus on medical keywords that can rank your page, also pay extra attention to Google’s EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) framework for ranking. This is especially important in the medical field, as Google primarily boosts content from professionals in the field that offers real value.
Social media is a popular and effective marketing tool for healthcare providers and centers. In fact, a recent study found that more than 80% of patients have turned to social media to find a healthcare clinic. This means that with a strong online presence, you can access a wider audience looking for medical services.
To build your clinic’s online presence, consistently post meaningful content, such as the type of services you offer, patient reviews, and general information about your facility. You can also use paid ads that target specific demographics and hashtags to boost your visibility on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
About 72% of patients typically search the Internet for symptoms to find out what they’re going through. Rather than searching the Internet, it is better for patients to directly reach out to a trusted clinician.
Part of a successful patient acquisition strategy involves sharing educational content with your patients, such as information about certain diseases, their consequences, and preventive measures. Cosmetic and plastic surgery clinics can also educate their clients about the effectiveness, risks, and recovery time of certain procedures.
Incorporating educational wellness materials and videos into your website and social media accounts enriches the available medical content on the web, boosts your reputation as a provider, and builds trust among patients.
Establishing an online presence is undoubtedly a great strategy for acquiring new patients. However, a large portion of people seeking medical care are 65 and above and should be catered to differently. Therefore, a multi-channel strategy that also involves offline methods can help you attract patients from different age groups and demographics.
Offline marketing techniques include practices such as newspaper advertisements, commercials, radio marketing, and flyers. In addition, participating in charity events and organizing events that raise awareness about certain medical conditions based on age can help you build brand recognition in the community.
Ensuring that your patients can access the care they need without financial strain is paramount. By providing various patient financing options, you not only facilitate better healthcare access but also enhance patient satisfaction and loyalty.
Consider offering in-house medical payment plans, allowing patients to manage their healthcare costs through manageable, periodic payments. This can be particularly beneficial for patients undergoing treatments with substantial costs, enabling them to access necessary services without immediate financial burden.
Healthcare financing solutions, such as medical loans or credit, can offer patients the flexibility to manage their medical expenses over time. Partnering with financial institutions or medical credit providers can enable you to offer these solutions seamlessly.
Integrating a point-of-sale financing solution into your practice can provide an immediate, seamless, and customer-friendly payment alternative right at the moment when your patients need it most.
Unlike traditional payment methods or healthcare financing options, point-of-sale financing allows patients to instantly access and manage their credit at the checkout, enabling them to proceed with their healthcare services without delay.
This approach not only alleviates the immediate financial burden for patients but also enhances their experience by providing a straightforward and transparent payment process. Patients can quickly apply for and receive approval for the credit they need, all while still in the consultation room or at the reception desk, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder their access to necessary medical procedures and treatments.
This immediate solution not only empowers patients to make informed healthcare decisions but also ensures that your practice can provide unwavering care unimpeded by financial barriers.
Encourage the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), which allow patients to use pre-tax dollars for medical expenses. Additionally, offering the option to pay via medical credit cards, specifically designed to cover healthcare costs, can provide patients with additional financial flexibility.
Maintain transparency in your pricing and the available financing options. Ensure your team is well-versed in discussing these options with patients, providing clarity, and assisting them in choosing a plan that aligns with their financial situation.
By integrating diverse financing options, your practice demonstrates a commitment to patient-centric care, ensuring that financial barriers do not impede access to the vital services you provide.
The competition in the healthcare industry is high, but you can use this to your advantage. Keep a constant eye on your competitors’ services and how they advertise them. If you notice an underserved market segment or a lack of service that you offer, tailor your marketing campaigns to target these needs. For example, if your community doesn’t have enough nutritionists and the demand for them is high, you can offer these services at your clinic to stay ahead of the game.
A marketing strategy is useless unless you can measure and analyze its impact. Monitoring the performance of your marketing campaigns can show you real-time results of what’s working and what’s not.
Keep an eye out for KPIs such as daily new patients, number of appointments made by new patients, and the number of new patients served. You can track these metrics on platforms such as Datapine. For online marketing campaigns, you can use advanced analytics tools that can show such metrics as the number of engagements on social media and website viewings.
By tracking the number of new daily patients, you can identify a trend and see whether they’re increasing or decreasing over time. A growing number of daily new patients will showcase the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy. The percentage of new patients that call and make an appointment can also show whether your services cater to your target clients’ needs.
Last but not least, you should remember that your marketing efforts shouldn’t stop after acquiring new patients. After you get patients to visit your clinic, you should work towards getting them to return.
Therefore, every patient acquisition effort should be followed up with a patient retention strategy. Loyalty programs, consultations, and excellent customer service should be at the forefront of improving patient retention.
To sum up, practitioners, clinics, and their marketing teams need to step up their game to win at patient acquisition. We saw how to offer patient financing, build a solid digital platform, and other strategies that can help you acquire new patients at your clinic. Although focusing on patient acquisition can eventually lead to increased revenue for your clinic, you shouldn’t forget that it’s also about developing trust and addressing the medical needs of your patients.