There’s no doubt that life post Covid, as we know it, has changed. This is doubly true for the consumer. The way we buy, the things we buy, and the mindset in which we buy them, have all been altered forever. This means that the way businesses present their products, services and communicate with their customers also needs to change.
Welcome to OMD TV and podcast show – the place to be to grow and scale your practice. This is podcast number #99, and we are so happy to be so close to that #100 episode number!
But before then… I’m your host, Steven Tait, a strategic marketing consultant for medical clinics, helping them to get more patients and more profits.
In this episode, we are going to look at 5 effective ways to market your clinic post Covid.
But first of all, what is the post COVID-19 consumer looking for? We see that in general, the post COVID-19 consumer is lacking in morale, security, and even the ability to venture out of their local community has changed for some. But what does this translate to in terms of what they need? What is this new customer looking for? Management firm Bain & Company recently conducted a survey of 162 people in seven countries, who shared their priorities and their essentials as we move into this new territory:
- People want to feel less anxious.
- People are seeking a more balanced, healthy lifestyle.
- People want to feel more connected.
- People are seeking out kindness and purpose.
- People are more mindful of their spending, reflecting on what is essential and what is frivolous. This is especially true with the increases in inflation, and higher mortgage interest rate.
So how do we use this information to determine the 5 effective way to market in our new Post – Covid world.
1. Retention is the New Patient Attraction Strategy
The first way is… “Retention is the New Patient Attraction Strategy”
If you are struggling to acquire new patients, try focusing more on the ones you already have, the ones that are still with you despite the economic downturn. Because of the intense competition within the Internet and Social Media, it’s gotten increasingly more difficult, technical, confusing and time-consuming to attract new patients. So, retaining your existing patients has become the more direct route to more revenue.
Not convinced? Recent stats suggests it costs 7X more to attract new patients than it does to retain existing patients. Loyal patients spend 67% more than new patients. The average new patient conversion rate is only 5%-20%, while the average existing patient conversion rate is a whopping 70%-80%. Need more? Existing patients spend 31% more on their average order size. Even a small 5% increase in existing patient retention can increase your profits by 25% – 95%, as you’re not wasting money on advertising or hurting your profits by discounting. You’re also NOT wasting a ton of time following up on bad leads.
On top of that, your conversion rate is so much better, so your valuable time is being spent with patients who say yes rather than with price-shopping strangers who never book. Lastly, 46% of patients spend more after they join a loyalty program and 83% of patients say a loyalty program keeps them coming back. THIS is how you leverage your time, by maximising your opportunities with your preferred existing patients. And you stop wasting your time with those who nickel-and-dime you and then bolt for the next special deal from your competitors.
In podcast number 84, we talked about the 3 creative ways you can boost existing patient conversions and referrals, and one of the most effective ways we see successful clinics doing this, is through “Patient Appreciation Events”. There is a saying that I’ve heard a number of times about the patient experience… “Keep in mind that people forget the words you say to them, but they remember how you have made them feel.”
So make your existing patients feel even better with an appreciation event. You can host an event at your practice, encouraging existing patients to bring along their friends and family (who are your potential future patients). You can offer food, drinks, prizes, discounts, whatever you can think of to get people to show up. You could even have promotional items like hats and tee-shirts available.
Make it enjoyable, and you can bring in dozens of referrals with little work and a lot of fun. But you can also do an Open house, or a Seminar/discussion on a popular topic. Just don’t forget to advertise the event well in advance, feature it on your website, email your existing patients, and share the event (with a really good graphic of course) on social media, or even promote it using social media paid advertising.
You can also encourage the attendees to use their own smartphones and upload their favourite shots from the event to Instagram, TikTok or Facebook, along with your event’s hashtag. And if Snapchat is in your social media repertoire, you can also get your own custom filter that any partygoer can use when taking “snaps” at your event. Your options for additional promotion are limitless!
If you need other creative ideas, check out podcast 84, which I’ll leave the link to in the show notes below, so you can check it out later.
2. Create a Loyalty Membership Club
Our second effective way to market, is to create a Loyalty Membership Club.
While loyalty programs once only seemed appropriate for grocery stores, coffee shops, hotel chains, and airlines, they’re now showing up in health care (and have been for a few years now). This option may not be as suitable for all kinds of medical practices, but if the nature of your services allows patient to come back and continuously use your services and refer you to their friends, you should definitely consider having a loyalty program for your patients. And don’t think that this is just another loyalty program. Think of it ias a Patient Attraction, Conversion and Retention Program. This is a system to get and keep more patients.
There is a lot of competition, so you have to differentiate your practice for it to stand out. Creating an engaging and rewarding loyalty program has many benefits. But in general, a loyalty program can be fun and engaging for your patients, and it changes the conversation from discounting to building value and getting patients excited about collecting points.
How It Works?
Get Treatments, Enjoy Savings, Explore Offers, Earn Points.
Every 100 points earns you $10 in savings toward a future clinic’s product or treatment. You can get them to leave you a Google Review: for 500 points. Or to leave their consent for your clinic to use their before and after photos publicly… for 1,000 points. Refer a friend is 2,000 points. Etc… This point rewards system should be highlighted throughout your website to encourage new and inquiring clients to be part of your clinic loyalty program..
Want more ideas… follow the link on your screen, to see another example of a Loyalty Membership club in action.
Don’t have time to create a program? Well, if any of you are using Timely as your booking application, they have a ‘Timely Rewards’ area, which is a low effort, easy-to-use rewards program, designed to surprise and delight your clients, ultimately increasing client retention. It’s a point-based system that tracks your clients’ transactions and converts them into points, following a simple Spend & Reward approach:
Spend: Every time a client spends money, they will accumulate points.
Reward: When your client reaches a certain amount of points (determined by you), they will be rewarded with a voucher for your salon.
Timely will show you when your clients have earned a reward that they can spend. You also have the option to show clients’ points balances on their receipts so they can see how close they are to a reward! These loyalty programs are great, though, you need to check with your country’s medical board to see if this type of campaign is possible for you, especially with surgical clinics. It is possible it isn’t allowed.
But to recap, you need to have a rigorous process in nurturing existing patients and improving existing patient referrals. You also need to measure the percentage of the existing patient referrals closely; I’ve talked to a lot of practices and they generally don’t have a clear number. Which isn’t helpful. As knowing the lifetime value of a patient is so fundamental for determining your ROI, your patient’s life time value is whatever you think the patient will pay for your services or products over the average course of time PLUS additional percentage value that an average patient generally refers. Knowing this value accurately, is incredibly valuable.
3. Give Your Communication Strategy an Overhaul
Our 3rd effective technique is to “Give Your Communication Strategy an Overhaul”
As people’s priorities and schedule’s have changed, it possible that previous communication strategies that you had in action may not be the best ones to be using any more. People have changed in this Post Covid new world order. It would be wise to rethink the newsletters and information that you are sending out, the content that you are creating, and the general approach you have towards your prospects and patients.
One way to do analyse this overhaul, is to send out an email survey to existing patients with questions about their current priorities, pain points, and desires. Make them easy to answer (multiple choice or choose a point on a scale), but keep questions open-ended so you might discover a few additional golden nuggets of information about your customers.
You can then use this feedback to rethink your communication strategy, and serve your patients better. For example, 95% of customers or patients are going to leave a website without converting (calling, enquiring etc). Especially when most of the practice websites out there that we see usually lack a lead magnet to procure user information and keep nurturing them over time to turn them from a warm leads to a loyal patient. We always emphasise the importance of internal communication to nurture, not just new leads, but existing clients to increase revenue and referrals from existing clients. This is best done by:
- Segmenting your database and sending relevant messages
- Cross selling /introduce new treatments and new products
Below is an example of a very general nurturing sequence of emails that you could use on clients and prospects. These are examples of the types of emails that you can seen over their life time, sent as separate emails.
- Welcome to the clinic
- Thank you for your subscription
- Radiant clear and glowing skin is within reach
- Our clients spill the truth
… then once they are in;
- Monthly newsletters
- A Happy Birthday message
- We miss you @ 6 months
- We miss you @12 months
- Last chance to use your birthday voucher
Looking at how you are communicating, how often, why, and how it is being received and engaged with, will all go a long way in helping you to develop more longer lasting relationships with new and existing clients.
4. Focus on a Few Main Paid Advertising Channels
Our 4th effective technique is to “Focus on a Few Main Paid Advertising Channels”
Spreading yourself and your budget too thin, and trying to run Google Ads, TikTok ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads and more!, all at once is likely not to help if you have to stretch your means too far. You need to figure out where your target audience is hanging out specifically, and then focus most of your PPC efforts on those relevant channels.
- If you are a beauty business, your target audience is likely to be on Instagram.
- If you have a more serious business like an addiction treatment facility, you could focus more on Google.
- If you have a business-related tool or service like a keyword research tool, LinkedIn would be your go-to.
Everyone feels like they need to be on every platform, especially when they see someone doing really well on that platform. But few people do all platforms well. They generally do just one platform really well. And that is because it is hard to do all channels well. It takes a lot more money than most people are willing to commit to. Instead, knowing your target market in more details, and understanding the few key places that you need to be, maximising your spend there, will be a much more effective use of your dollars.
5. Solidify Your Referral Marketing Strategy
And finally our 5th technique… “Solidify Your Referral Marketing Strategy”
Are you unhappy with the number of doctors referring to your practice? Or, are you a new practice and need to establish relationships with local doctors for referrals but have no idea where to start? Are you unhappy about the quality of referrals that doctors are sending to you? Are these referrals inconsistent, sometimes slow and often non-existent?
If so, you need to up your referral marketing game. I’m going to discuss this little known but effective marketing strategy called the Dream 100, and it can help generate for you, as many new patients as you can possibly handle. We came across this strategy by reading one of our favourite books of all time, the Ultimate Sales Machine written by Chet Holmes. The goal of the Dream 100 is to take the best suited prospective referring doctors and take them from “I’ve never heard of this practice before” to “I think I’ve heard of that practice” to “Yes, I’ve heard of that practice” to “Yes, I do refer my patients to that practice.”
The Dream 100 Referrals Strategy involves identifying the 100 (or potentially just 20 or 30) referring doctors in your area that would bring you enough patients to keep your practice happily operating with no other sources of patients, and initiate a powerful on-going process of targeted engagement that is designed to keep your practice front of mind with these referring doctors. Could this strategy work for your practice? If you want a strategy that puts you on your ideal referring doctor’s radar, allows you to stay top of mind, and pre-emptively positions you as the obvious choice the moment they find themselves ready to look at what you have to offer… then yes, yes it is.
But to do this correctly, you need a persistent, long-term plan to build up awareness with your prospective referring doctors. We effectively use this Dream Strategy 100 strategy with our clients. And as part of this strategy we create clever, fun and quirky marketing materials and nurture them consistently through multiple channels such as emails, direct mail, social media, SMS, and even phone calls.
Unsure where to start? We can help create your own Dream 100 marketing strategy by helping you to;
- Identify your Dream 100 Referring Doctors (they could be GPs or other specialists)
- Creating an impressive initial offer, such as an exclusive special report on a topic of high interest, a seminar or a VIP event they can attend.
- Creating and sharing impressive memorable messages, and small gifts with them via email, post, fax and telephone.
- Creating a strategy to convert potential referring doctors that came through the initial offer into loyal long-term partners.
- Setting up the multi-channel campaigns of a 12-month duration, including content creation, email automation, direct mail campaigns, cold calling (unlimited number of contacts)
- We will help you source and purchase creative give-aways to be sent by direct mail as part of the campaign.
- Designing and conducting a telemarketing campaign to reach out to targeted GPs on a weekly basis (unlimited number of contacts)
If you want to learn more about us and how our team can help you generate more new patients and referring doctors by using this Dream 100 referral strategy, please reach out to us at the link on your screen, and book in your 15 minute discovery call with us, and we’ll help start piecing together a tailored Dream 100 strategy for you that can take your referral strategy to new heights.
Thanks so much and hope to talk to you in our discovery call soon. 🥳