Are sick and tired of playing marketing–roulette with no guarantee of results? Are you concerned that you have become just another face in the crowd? Worse, do you feel you have you become a commodity? Well, worry no more; this article contains proven methods for attracting more and better patients!
For centuries, successful professionals have known that competing on price is a slippery slope. Fact, there will always be someone willing to undercut prices for their services. Plus, competing on price alone does not build patient loyalty.
* 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, break free of the commodity trap!
We live in a world where your patients have more options than ever before! You must build and magnify your business on patient loyalty. Few doctors realize that patients are loyal to doctors and not to practices.
Therefore, 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! Hence, you have removed loyalty from all patient consideration. You will only get more and better patients if you provide value well beyond a price-point.
While you think about what you just read, also think back to when you initially opened your doors. Did you want a practice which was only distinguishable by the prices you charge for the services you provide? And, the only discernible difference between you and your competitors is your decor and color of the scrubs you wear?
Before we advance much further, let me explain the difference between loyalty and repeat business. Repeat business means that I’m willing to do business with you again, and again, and again. Loyalty means I’m willing to overlook others, turn down a better product, at a better price, or even inconvenience to do business with you.
Those patients with whom you happen to meet some price standard or pricing objective will always do business with you. The only value proposition between you is price. Therefore, until another doctor in town charges less, they will stay with you.
Since those patients come and go; why not invest your promotional dollars on those patients that yield the highest returns?
THE VALUE OF LOYALTY –
Let me start by saying the following: As you read further, you will see many examples of strategies to connect more fully with your patients. In so doing, you will also gain greater insight into your patient’s needs while reaching them! Remember, the goal is to attract more and better patients!
Secondly, most people don’t realize that there is a difference between advertising and marketing. Each is a tool with a specific purpose within your promotional platform; specifically, you advertise to attract new patients. You market to keep and enhance your current patient base and future referral business.
Most importantly, 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; then you need to align yourself with a professional. Your clinic’s survival literally depends on it!
Additionally, there are tremendous benefits, and financial incentives, for your practice to build up its patient loyalty platform. According to the Harvard Business Review, it’s 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 merely 5%, increases profits by 25%-95%. Hence, the motto of the story is business promotion centers around ratios. Both marketing and advertising are essential for your practice growth; be astute with their implementation. Consequently, don’t spend too much time and resources targeting new patients; just make the patients you have happy.
Also, Invespcro.com 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!
I recently read an intriguing article by Jill Avery (lecturer at Harvard business school). She states that “churn rates’ provide important and measurable matrices. This matrix is important because it focuses squarely 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 firms. The higher the churn rate, the more they question the company’s 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!”
* The churn rate is the percentage of subscribers to a service who discontinue their subscriptions to the service within a given time period. For a company to expand its clientele, its growth rate, as measured by the number of new customers, must exceed its churn rate. Investopia
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.
As you can see, once you understand the patient’s lifetime value, this next fact will blow your mind. 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 work with your favorite patients exclusively. You merely 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.
“65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs five times” quoted as Gartner.
MARKET YOUR PATIENTS –
First, do some calculations (a patient audit if you will) to fine-tune and identify your best patients. Then, you need to evaluate the quality of your current patients. The purpose is to gauge which patients provide you with the highest annual receipts. The ideal method of valuation is referred to as the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule).
The Pareto Principle refers to the observation that most things in life are not distributed evenly. Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto concluded that 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes or an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. For instance, 20% of the input creates 80% of the result, production, revenue, and so on.
Accordingly, 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 based on types of treatment. To illustrate, if these patients represent chronic migraines, you would then target your marketing for that specific ailment.
Stay 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 essential information. But first, you have to make sure that your websites and clinic are ready to receive and IMPRESS.
YOUR MESSAGE –
Now that you have identified your “best” patients and their specific needs, you must become a perpetual resource.
Successful advertising and marketing campaigns have many things in common. One of the most influential and profitable truths is that we are all motivated by self-interest. Therefore, you must approach your promotional efforts in this manner in this manner: Your patients have a problem they don’t want. Somewhere out there is a solution to their problem they want but don’t have.
Hence, every piece you send out must acknowledge their problem (chronic migraines as in the example above). Then, you must provide “the” solution they want but don’t have.
Now, continually stay in front of your patients while providing ailment-relief specific material. One of the most effective ways to positively influence your patients is by establishing your written voice.
Write books, case studies, and special reports (print, publish, and distribute them amongst your patients). Then, use your book to expand your influence and change lives. Written material allows you to share your experience and your passion with others in an authentic, “non-sales” or intrusive way. Plus, you open doors for more meaningful relationships.
Further, your writing cultivates ways for readers to get to know, like, and trust you—and your message.
Plus, books and special reports establish you as an authority. A common thread among business owners and professionals who have published a book is the instant credibility they enjoy.
Also, infuse your expertise within the local, regional, and national news media. Create symbiotic relationships with all of these media platforms. We currently live in a 24/7/365 day world; everything moves at breakneck speed, especially the news.
Your mission is to be referenced as the “expert” on the particular subject of the show, publication, or podcast. In time, as your relationships develop, it will become the “go–to” authority the media regularly turn to.
Then, you feature those video and podcast excerpts of your appearances on your website. You will also send copies of the articles in which you are presented to your patients.
As soon as people know you’re an authority on a subject that interests them, they’ll be interested in what you have to say.
KNOW YOUR PLATFORMS –
I have helped medical professionals for nearly three decades. In these many years, there has been tremendous change within the communication platform industry. Fast-forward to 2019; we have more options than ever before.
However, marketing demographic fundamentals still hold true. Among your various concerns, you want to ensure that your “ideal” patients, and the highest concentration possible, receive your message on a particular platform.
That said, still, in 2019, targeted emails are among the most profitable communication vehicle options available.
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.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to be a part of that 81% and create solid email campaigns. The rationale for marketing to your patient base is impeccable. Your patients already know, like, and trust you; the relationship is already formed. Targeted emails provide exceptional opportunities to deepen the loyalty factor by sharing something vital.
Also, consider this, in an exceptional article written through Wordstream.com, they point out five enlightening points about emails:
- 73% of millennials identify emails as their preferred means of business communication.
- When patients open an email on a mobile device, they open that same email again on another device. Plus, they are 65% more likely to click-through to your site/offering.
- Click-through rates are 100.95% higher in segmented email campaigns than non-segmented campaigns.
- 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention.
- According to the Direct marketing Association (DMA), emails make money. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.
Next, upgrade your website. Too many doctors have beautiful websites that don’t say anything or inspire readers to read on or share content. Your clinic must scream “I am the go-to doctor in town; and, I have it going on!” Add video testimonials to both your web page and clinic.
If you’re active in your community (events and fundraisers) include that on your website, social media, and your clinic. Just as your emails must be timely, interesting, and easy-to-read, so should your website (i.e., your blog) must be compelling and alluring.
Secondly, once you start developing a reputation for featuring “quality” and “authoritative” content on your website will be shared. Getting your content shared is the Holy Grail for most writers! Moreover, those shares validate your “go-to” status which helps you reach a larger and more ailment specific audience (such as chronic migraines).
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.
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
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 financial affiliation with the company; I have always found them to be excellent.
It is virtually impossible to ignore the lure of social media marketing. Actually, in the computer-age world in which we live, it would be 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; though each one excels in different markets. Listed below is a breakdown of these popular sites. Therefore, you can make the ideal choice as to which vehicle would resonate best with your patients.
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 2018, Facebook reported 2.23 billion active users each month around the world. As one of the most used social media platforms in the world, it is something you should consider using to market your business online.
- 62% of online Seniors aged 65+ are on Facebook, and 72% are between age 50-64.
- 88% of online users of age 18-29 are on Facebook, 84% of those 30-49.
- 82% of college graduates are on Facebook.
- 72% of online users of income more than $75K are on Facebook.
- Facebook users are 53% female and 47% male.
*Information provided by Omni Core Agency.
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 monthly active Twitter users 326 million. (last updated 10.26.18)
- Daily Twitter users 100 million.
- 24% of All Internet male users use Twitter, whereas 21% of All Internet Female users use Twitter. 20% of online adults age 25-34 have used Twitter.
- 36% of Americans aged 18 to 29 years old use Twitter.
- 37% of Twitter users are between the ages of 18 and 29; 25% of users are 30-49 years old.
- 80% of Twitter users on Mobile
*Information provided by Omni Core Agency.
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.
- Total Number of Daily Active Instagram Users: 500 million (last updated 9.17.18)
- 6 million Instagram users are from the US.
- Instagram is used by 31% of American women and 24% of men.
- 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram.
- 38% of female internet users use Instagram, and 26% of male internet users use Instagram
- 72% of Teens use Instagram.
*Information provided by Omni Core Agency.
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.
- Total Number of LinkedIn Users: 590 million (last updated12.6.18)
- Total Number of LinkedIn Users from the US: 154 million
- Percentage of LinkedIn Monthly Active Users: 44%
- 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers, and 40 million are in decision-making positions.
- There are 56% of male users and 44% female users on LinkedIn.
- 28% of All Internet male users use LinkedIn, whereas 27% of All Female Internet users use LinkedIn.
*Information provided by Omni Core Agency.
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 essential tool when marketing your clinic online. The forum offers you a worldwide network of professionals, customers, and patients.
Finally, 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 lives’ 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 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 attract better patients by placing your core marketing message in front of as many of your targeted patients as possible. Remember, your message must compel; it must attract and entice. Your message should speak 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!
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From the desk of Claudio Gormaz of Summit Marketing Strategies