By 2027, 1.567 billion people will use healthcare services – indicating a huge opportunity for businesses in the healthcare sector.
But it also translates to a highly-competitive playing field for healthcare providers. For instance, there are 784,626 healthcare firms in the US alone.
Amidst this, how do you ensure a steady flow of patients in your facility? Have you planned your patient acquisition strategy already?
To help you grow your practice, we’ve put together some proven techniques to attract more patients and boost your revenues.
But before we get into details, let’s look at the pressing challenges providers face and how you can address them with the patient acquisition strategy we propose.
Challenges faced in patient acquisition
1. Limited online visibility
Limited online visibility makes it difficult for potential patients to find you. Many healthcare organizations have either no or incomplete online profiles. Not having access to accurate service details creates confusion among the patients and reduces credibility.
2. Limited appointment availability and office hours
Many healthcare organizations have restricted OPD timings. However, a clinic that is available only between 8 am and 6 pm may not be helpful for working adults or parents. Limited appointment options during traditional working hours can be why you are not getting more consultation bookings.
Patients require flexible consultation hours so they can see the doctor outside of work or school hours.
3. Rising healthcare cost
The rising cost of healthcare directly influences the patients’ decision to seek care. It is because patients try to avoid routine follow-ups after visits and taking lab tests due to higher costs, even though it results in poor patient outcomes.
4. Online reputation
Do you know that 81% of consumers are not satisfied with their healthcare experience?
Long waiting times, campus hygiene, doctor friendliness, ease to book an appointment, etc. are some of the common causes of dissatisfaction among patients.
Customers today don’t hold back when they want to voice their unhappiness by leaving reviews on your website or social media pages. Thus, not investing in online reputation management can also lead to lower patient acquisition rates.
5. Patient no-shows
Research says patient no-show rates can be as high as 80%.
No-shows primarily happen among young, single/unmarried people, people who have socioeconomic barriers, have psychosocial problems, or have no medical coverage. There can be multiple factors leading to no-shows. Some of them are:
- Forgetting about the appointment
- Not receiving the expected slots
- Anxiety about the procedure or fear of receiving bad news
If no-show rates are high at your facility, you may want to find the cause of it and rethink your patient acquisition strategy.
Tips for creating the best patient acquisition strategy
Healthcare marketing strategies are evolving rapidly to keep up with the changing needs of patients. The patient-centric approach is key to acquire and retain patients.
Here are a few tips you can incorporate in your patient acquisition strategy.
1. Creating a solid online presence
Research says 7% of all Google searches are health-related. A robust online presence can open multiple sources for driving new patients to your healthcare service.
The first step to this is to create a Google Business profile. A healthcare Google Business Profile offers a quick look at the information the searcher may want to know about your practice. Along with attracting new patients, it also helps with your local SEO ranking and drives more patients to the website.
You can go through this article on Creating a Google Business Profile
The next step would be to create an informational and user-friendly website. Include all the essential details about services. Provide various methods to contact you. For example, including an appointment booking option on your website can be a direct source for capturing new patients.
2. Maintain online reputation
94% of healthcare patients go through online reviews before making any decision.
Online reviews on platforms like social media, Google Business profile, or your website reflects the quality of your services. Thus, it is crucial to check and respond to all the reviews regularly.
While it always feels good to hear positive feedback, it is equally important to note the negative ones. First, address it and try to get in touch with the patient and make amends if possible. Take their feedback as learning and apply it to improve patient satisfaction.
The key to having good reviews is to have satisfied patients. Collect feedback from patients after every appointment.
3. Invest in digital marketing
1. Optimize for local SEO
Most patients start their search for healthcare services online. SEO helps you to make sure that your patients can find you easily. You can optimize your website to appear at the top of the search list. But this is a game you win with patience.
Here are a few fundamental points to include in your SEO strategy:
- Create a Google Business Profile
- Collect patient reviews
- Get listed on online directories
- Explore referral channels, or reach out to bloggers/webmasters who write about healthcare
- Create and add location-specific content and pages
2. PPC advertising
While SEO can take months to start delivering results, PPC, on the other hand, can begin generating new patient inquiries right from the start.
Healthcare spent US$20.1bn on ads in 2021. Running paid ads can help you get more patients for your practice within a short period. You can precisely target people through PPC campaigns according to your practice and geography.
3. Social media advertising
Using social media wisely can help you to generate new patient inquiries through organic and paid methods.
People use social media not only as a communication platform but also to gather information and guidance. Creating relevant and educational content on social media can help you build credibility and trust among the patients. You can post blogs, videos, and infographics and engage with patients. This also impacts your SEO ranking.
Facebook ads are another method to generate new patient enquiry. Facebook allows you to precisely target your audience and reaches directly to the people relevant to your services according to their past interests and actions. You can also use Facebook as a remarketing channel.
4. Engage and communicate with your patients
Patient engagement is a vital part of the patient acquisition strategy. Effective communication with patients will help you improve patient experience and satisfaction and, thus, will result in more patient intake.
Include multiple channels for communicating and engaging with patients like social media, blogs, websites, SMS, WhatsApp, etc.
Create a patient engagement program to be with your patients throughout their journey. When you receive an inquiry, connect with them to understand their needs and guide them through the process. Send them reminders before the appointment and re-engage with them post-consultation. This adds to the overall experience and helps you get reviews and more referrals.
Patient experience management software can help you automate the complete process and make it easier for your team.
For instance, Oasis fertility integrated a CRM, which automated the process of collecting feedback and patient engagement. This helped them to improve their patient engagement percentage and experience.
“We use LeadSquared to manage our lead funnel. The reporting section is our most loved feature as we can dive into data and best-performing sources for patient acquisition. Our patient engagement has doubled from 4% earlier to 8%.”Sreeram Kandula, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Oasis Fertility
5. Be a part of the local community
To become a part of the local community, ensure your healthcare providers attend events and are a part of the ongoing conversations in their respective fields. This helps bridge the gap between the patient and the healthcare provider to build a long-term relationship outside the hospital or clinic.
You can also conduct offline boot camps and events in highly populated areas to provide care for the patients. This creates brand awareness, builds credibility, and results in future patient inquiries.
6. Traditional marketing
While digital marketing and all online sources are essential, we cannot ignore the importance of traditional marketing. Print media such as banners, newspapers, and billboards can help you in physical outreach. This can help you create more local visibility where most potential patients reside.
How can LeadSquared help you build an efficient process to acquire more patients?
LeadSquared provides a HIPAA compliant healthcare CRM solution with patient experience management and marketing automation software.
It helps you to capture inquiries from multiple sources and automate the lead distribution process. With the marketing automation software, you can automate workflows like appointment confirmation, reminders, collecting feedback, and more to create a superior healthcare experience for your patients.
The best part is you can integrate it with your existing EHR/EMR systems and other software.
For instance, Practo used LeadSquared healthcare CRM to reduce their turnaround time and increase conversions.
“This has been the best decision we have made. We have already saved 6-8 months’ worth of development cost and effort. Our daily call centre efficiency per agent has increased by 60%. We are also able to measure everything, much better.”Siddhartha Nihalani, Co-founder, Practo
Patient acquisition and retention go hand in hand
While acquisition is one of the main goals of every medical practice, patient retention is an aspect that is frequently overlooked. You may have spent a significant amount of money to acquire a certain number of patients and to get them to visit your medical practice, but what happens next? Do you let them go? Or do you do everything you can to keep them coming back so that you can continue to build your business? Patient retention is one of the best ways to ensure that your medical practice is continuously growing.
The good news is that most patient acquisition strategies can also be a part of your patient retention strategy. For example:
- Collecting feedback post-appointment will help you make amends if a patient has had a bad experience.
- Engaging with your patients regularly builds a connection with them and influences their future decisions.
The healthcare industry has evolved a lot in the past few years. People have become more aware of their choices and have more options. We covered some strategies you can put in place to get new patients for your organization.
You can use LeadSquared for better implementation of your patient acquisition strategy. To learn more, book your personalized demo today!