You let your patient relationships lapse; financially speaking, “No Bueno”! To save your bottom-line, you need to develop a plan to get them back — you need to reconnect!
If you’ve been in business any amount of time, you have had patients that have merely floated away. That may be bad, or it may be good; especially since every business owner has the right to filter out those patients that create stress and anxiety. However, many excellent and profitable patients go away in the frenzy of trying to build a successful practice; which is precisely why you must make every to re-connect.
This piece is written with a single purpose in mind, to help you get back those right patients, create long-lasting professional relationships, and increase your profits.
Your current and past patients represent a vibrant and lucrative pool of annual receipts and yield the highest return on investment. Moreover, many major advertising studies indicate that this pool accounts for nearly 95% of all services sold annually.
Plus, these same marketing studies verify: it costs 5-7 times more to acquire a new patient than to retain a current one. Invespcro.com points out that the probability of providing additional services for an existing patient is 60-70%, while the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. Finally, existing patients are 50% more likely to try new services and spend 31% more, when compared to new patients.
Consider a report published by the Harvard Business School by Amy Gallo. She cites research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company. He demonstrates that by increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
There’s still one critical value that we haven’t yet discussed but demonstrates a dramatic effect on your clinics’ long-term bottom-line, the lifetime value of each patient. The lifetime value is a calculation that takes into account the amount you receive every time a patient visits you for treatment, multiplied by the number of visits per year, multiplied by the number of years you expect to see them.
So, if your patient represents $100 per month (A), you would then multiply that by the number of months (for this example, let’s say 12 times. B). Now multiply that number by the anticipated number of years (C). Therefore: A x B = $1200. $1200 x C = $6000 for your clinic (per patient).
Your next thought may be “What am I going to say to my patients?” “How am I Reconnecting to approach them?”
The bottom line is that you have to connect with these former patients. You need to touch the specific pressure points that lead them to recall all the positive experiences they had while you were taking care of their medical needs.
Further, your message must be laser focused and presented from the patient’s perspective (which we will cover below). Mostly, you must convey that your most significant interest is solving their greatest need.
Since patient attraction is EVERYTHING in business, you’re going to learn how to transform your clinic into a patient magnet. You will achieve this via improved, persuasive, and compelling messaging (aka content).
“Why” you may ask? Because current and prospective patients review your website, your blogs, articles, they will view the videos you provide, etc. It is your primary responsibility to ensure that your information is memorable, persuasive, and compelling. You must convince them that you are the superior option.
The information you provide (again, known as Content Marketing) drives your promotional platform. So, AVOID using the “laundry list” method employed by too many doctors on far too many websites; whereby, they produce a catalog of services they provide, delivered from the doctor’s perspective. Fact, multiple psychological studies show that most people don’t remember lists and bullet points.
My goal is not to be politically correct; my objective is to help you maximize your results! Too many doctors have beautiful websites that say nothing and don’t distinguish them from anyone else. If you sincerely wish to escalate your outcomes and efficiency, your message MUST be written from the standpoint of your patients’ needs and wants.
According to the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent messaging to attract and acquire a defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Like all targeted communication, the only job that content marketing has is to create behaviors among target audiences that benefit your practice; simultaneously, your focus should be to deliver a profound message that solves your patients’ needs.
Think of your content marketing as a well-told story. You want to inspire the reconnected reader’s attention, imagination, and recall; that is how you will be remembered and sought out. Ideally, you want your readers standing and applauding instead of yawning and ignoring you.
According to Lisa McQuerrey who is the author of “How to Write a Marketing Letter to Get Clients,” a personalized marketing letter which goes to a select audience yields the most profitable results. This approach calls for the “quality-over-quantity” theory and is more appropriate for highly-specialized markets.
“Remind them of all the benefits they received from your previous treatments. It’s possible to wrongly assume that your patients recall all of the benefits of doing business with you. Every renewal series, even those that are merely a letter in an envelope, should have at least a slip sheet that enumerates all of the advantages they receive as customers.
This also presents an excellent opportunity for you to inform them of future special-interest procedures/treatments. Let readers know what they’ll be missing.”
Re-engaging your old patients is a lot easier than acquiring a new one (as mentioned earlier, it costs about 5 to 7 times more to obtain a new patient than to retain). An excellent win-back campaign can capture some of those inactive patients.
A win-back campaign is also a sure shot way to increase your emails’ open-rates as your patients have already given you their permission at one point. And unlike new clientele, your old patients are already familiar with you.
As such, your re-engagement campaign ultimately drives conversions based on a compelling win-back platform through personalized subject lines and persuasive content.
Renowned marketer, Jay Abraham, suggests that there are a few re-engagement techniques that work quite well:
1. Recognize, appreciate, and thank your patient for past patronage. Let them know they’re important enough to you that you noticed their absence.
2. Express genuine concern for their absence. This sincere interest is vital, because, they may be pessimistically waiting for you to sell them something. Instead, you are no longer a business, but a person reaching out to them. This cannot be stressed enough: Keep your focus on concern for them, and not focus on your profit margin. They don’t care about the latter.
3. Ask if you inadvertently did something wrong to offend or upset them.
4. Again as stated earlier, remind them of why they chose to do business with you in the first place (perhaps this is your unique selling proposition or the most significant result they hoped to achieve with you).
5. Give a time-limited offer exclusively for preferred patients as a token of appreciation for past business with you.
Mr. Abraham also has a strategy that works exceptionally well for him called the “Rule of Three Technique™.” He programs out the number of contacts that he has with his clients (as you will do with your patients).
“Whether it’s three emails or three direct mail pieces, you want to make every effort to get your message across without it appearing like a marketing template. Further results can be obtained with a follow-up phone call.”
As a business owner, who provides a service, you would offer an incentive to schedule an appointment, especially a re-engagement appointment. If you determine that a patient was dissatisfied, rather than being defensive, do whatever it takes to make it right.
Unfortunately, ignoring your existing patients is a primary factor and reason why I patients become disengaged in the first place. If you want them to come back, it’s your primary responsibility to show them you care.
Again, when you reach out to them, avoid all hints or suggestion that you are only following up with them to benefit your bottom line. Make your client feel special, which is the key to winning your patient back and making sure they stay.
Mr. Abraham also suggests that you use specific statements to win back your patients. Note, these declarations also work very well to increase your open-rate if you include them in your “subject line” of your emails. For example:
[First Name], We Want You Back
We Miss You [First Name]
Where Have You Been [First Name]?
Come back to [Company Name]!
Did you forget about your [Company Name] account?
To conclude, everyone goes into business to be successful, no matter the industry. However, attaining that “go-to must see” doctor moniker takes careful planning and an understanding of what your patients want. This is the SECRET RECIPE to reconnect with lapsed patients — give them a reason to come back!
We recognize that not everyone can or enjoys writing. However, for you to increase your profits and build your loyalty base, it’s a non-negotiable item! Still, you may be too busy in your practice to devote the time and energy to create and develop superior communication pieces (aka your content). In fact, it may not even be in your skill set.
We would love to help!
We (our firm) have been directly responsible for many highly successful content marketing campaigns for several practices. We speak with a lot of disenchanted healthcare providers. As a result, we write many blogs, articles, books, and special for our clients.
Hence, we would like to gift to you or your selected staff members, our proprietary 15-minute Content Strategy Audit Session (i.e., blog posts, social media campaigns, magazine articles, website content, patient newsletters, etc.).
We look forward to hearing from you.
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz of Summit Marketing Strategies