In today’s digital world, people have an infinite amount of options when it comes to choosing care. And with government regulations like OPPS and the 21st Century Cures Act just around the corner, transparency and consumerism will only increase. How can your practice break through the noise? Here are five patient acquisition strategies that can help grow your practice, inspire trust, and generate loyalty.
1. Get social
You might be thinking, “We have a Facebook page. We’re good! Right?”
Not so fast. Take a deeper look at your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram social page and posting strategy.
- When were they last updated?
An outdated profile can do more harm than good. Inaccurate information reflects poorly on your practice, and may foreshadow a negative patient experience. We recommend setting aside 30 minutes a month to verify the information on your social profiles.
- What is your post cadence?
Nobody wants to see a tumbleweed blowing across your profile, so it shouldn’t look like a ghost town. However, keep in mind that there is a balance between thoughtful posting and over-saturation. Most social media experts agree that one post per day is optimal, but there are diminishing (if not negative) returns past that.
- Is your Facebook URL associated with your username?
- Are your social media accounts linked from your website?
- Are you always using hashtags to categorize your posts?
- Are your categories and sub-categories targeted and accurate?
- What types of content do you create?
Mixing and matching content types keeps things interesting. Think about creating video, health tip sheets, infographics, live posts, and more to keep followers engaged with your content. All-you-can-eat stock asset services like Envato Elements can help you create eye-catching graphics without breaking the bank. Remember – users are much more likely to engage with posts if you include imagery.
- Do you promote posts with your staff?
Ensure that your staff is sharing and liking your posts. Not only is it a good way to create initial engagement and more exposure, but prospective and current patients will be happy to see that internal employees are passionate about the practice. You can even incentivize staff for likes and shares…I’ve discovered that doughnuts are an amazing motivator.
Social media is often the first introduction patients have to your clinic, so it’s vital that the information is accurate, relevant, and engaging. While it’s important to include office hours, contact information, and locations, also think of social media as a way to help humanize your services.
Healthcare can be a scary topic, stirring up concerns about finances, illness, and complications. Calm those fears by not only showcasing the expertise of your staff, but also their hobbies and the things they enjoy outside of work. Include candid photos of your team. It’s an easy way to demonstrate expertise and the compassionate side of healthcare.
2. Update your website
You don’t need to overhaul your website every year, but be sure to (at the very least) review it every few months. Ask yourself:
- Are there new team members who don’t have a picture or biography?
- Did we win an award that isn’t listed?
- Are our services current?
This is a simple way to make sure information is current and meeting the needs of new patients.
By keeping your site updated with news and informative blogs, you’ll also help position yourself as a trusted, go-to resource that patients will trust time-and-time again. Focus on your patient audience: what is valuable to them? If you’re a general practitioner, post relevant health tips during certain times of the year, like flu or allergy season. If you’re a specialist, craft blogs that will resonate with your specific patient populations. You can even feature success stories (with the patients’ consent, of course). Like social media, this goes a long way in humanizing the healthcare experience and helps build trust with current and future patients.
3. App-eal to patients
More than 3.5 billion people use smartphones every day for shopping, banking, and news, so it should be no surprise that more and more people are accessing their healthcare via medical technology, like smartphone apps. To acquire new patients, you need to meet them where they are, and in this case, an app is the place to be. It’s a smart way to help integrate your practice into their everyday routines.
Popular features include appointment scheduling, provider bios, and frequently asked questions. Not sure what your patients are looking for in an app? Ask them! Use forms that can be configured in a secure, HIPAA-compliant manner. For forms, We’re huge fans of our friends at Formstack. It’s an easy way to engage them and show you are on top of trends and interested in how best to serve them.
And while creating an app can seem daunting, keep in mind that there are a variety of consultants (it’s what we do every day 😊) out there who are able to help. Also, the technology stack is already mature – Salesforce cloud-based solutions like Health Cloud and Community Cloud are excellent platforms to help you deliver a robust, engaging, and transformative patient-experience that will differentiate you from other clinics.
4. Connect with—and within—the community
It’s true that we often connect first on a digital platform, but sometimes nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. Connecting within the community is a smart patient acquisition strategy because it exposes you to new, varied audiences. It can go a long way in bringing people to your office door!
One example is company wellness programs. More and more organizations have a desire to get healthy, but struggle with promoting engagement. Sharing your expertise and information on how to take actions towards living a healthier lifestyle is a great way to connect with new patients. You can tailor it for your audience and their needs, an informal lunch-and-learn session or a longer, in-depth seminar.
To reach an even wider audience, hold seminars or workshops at local libraries or community centers. This can help raise awareness of your practice, position yourself as a thought leader in the community, and personalize the healthcare experience.
Sponsoring events, such as run/walks, is also a fun way to show your commitment to health and the community. Get your staff involved or even ask patients if they’d like to participate on your team. Not only can you support a cause, you can demonstrate your commitment and speak one-on-one with potential patients.
5. Personalize digital marketing – Go beyond appointment reminders
These days, appointment reminders or push notifications are standard. How can you stand out in the inbox? By providing personalized digital marketing. In addition to appointment reminders, delight patients with birthday greetings, well wishes after a procedure, and congratulations for reaching (or maintaining) a health milestone.
Another way to engage with patients is through an electronic newsletter. It’s information that can be easily shared, growing your patient audience. On a monthly or quarterly basis, select a handful of topics: seasonal health tips or best practices, upcoming events, office updates and need-to-know information. You can even introduce a staff member or a feature patient success story. This personalized marketing helps show patients you care about them and their journey, both in and out of the office.
Get More Patients.
With so many healthcare options available, it can be a challenge for providers to get new patients and grow their practice. Stand out in a crowded landscape by engaging with current and future patients in the office, in the community, and in the digital space. It’s a comprehensive marketing strategy that can help you get more patients, gain patient loyalty, and generate trust for years to come.