Top 3 Ways to Bring in Patients

22 Oct

I have spoken with numerous Associates who turn to AHAA for help because their current marketing “isn’t working.” When I ask what they have been doing from a marketing perspective, they typically mention direct
mail, newspaper and digital marketing activities. While these initiatives are certainly important, the strategy that goes into delivering them in a coordinated way is certainly worth your time and consideration.Top 3 Ways to Bring in Patients

In order to have a successful marketing strategy, three important elements need to be integrated into your practice’s approach:

1, Database Outreach

Why is this important?

Some practices only focus on bringing new people in the door, which while important, fails to consider the opportunities that already exist in your database. Consider the marketing dollars and time that you have already invested to build your current database. You’ll want to make sure you focus on existing customers just as often as you try to reach new ones. Current patients (not just those who are OOW) are not only more qualified leads, but they can also help build brand loyalty by being spokespeople for your services. Then there are “prospects,” the names in your database who did not make a purchase, but who responded to one of your previous marketing activities. Prospects have demonstrated some level of interest in either your practice or in addressing hearing loss depending on how they came to be in your system. Think about the different names you have on file – there are likely TNS, TNC and cancel/no shows at a minimum. Make sure you are continuously working on your relationship with all of them, customers and prospects alike!

How to implement?

First, you need to capitalize on EVERY opportunity that comes through your door. It’s important to track where the patient came from (direct mail, phone call, website and referral) and the result of their visit (tested with or without a hearing loss). These “opportunities” can also include referrals that canceled an appointment or those that completed a hearing evaluation and presented with a loss but did not purchase.  Remember, every customer falls into at least one category; and you’ll need to work to keep him or her tethered to your practice.

When analyzing your database and determining how to communicate with the different types of customers, begin by segmenting them into different groups. Develop relevant messaging that’s specific to the needs of each segment and determine the best way or ways to reach them – via letter, phone call, or both! Database marketing tends to be one of the top opportunity drivers – since the customer is already somewhat familiar with your business – and typically results in a higher percentage of hearing aids sold.

2. Referral Programs

Why is this important?

Many practice owners express hesitation about asking for referrals because they don’t want to be thought of as “pushy.” Consider this: if a customer has a positive experience, why wouldn’t you encourage them to tell others about it in order to potentially help more people hear well? Similarly, if a physician is concerned about a patient’s hearing, why not become a trusted referral partner to offer excellent care? Plus, referrals afford your practice the opportunity to educate more of the community on hearing health and conservation.

How to implement?

For patient referrals, the process is fairly straightforward – ask every patient if he/she knows anyone who can benefit from a free hearing screening. Then, obtain contact information and follow up with a phone call to schedule a free hearing screening. We also recommend handing out referral cards to patients and ask that they pass them along to others. This type of outreach – word of mouth – is an age-old form of marketing and it’s free!

Physician referrals, on the other hand, can be more time consuming. We recommend having a dedicated physician liaison on staff to visit local doctors on a consistent basis to establish and maintain relationships. Practices with a personal connection to local physicians enjoy a more active referral program over time. Some support tools for your physician liaison include educational handouts on hearing loss and referral slips for physicians to distribute to patients.

3. Marketing & Advertising

Why is this important?

While I have touched on the value of leveraging your current database, it is also crucial that you continue marketing efforts aimed at getting new people in the door. Before you can acquire those potential customers they have to know your practice exists. Building a content-rich website, sending out direct mailers, employing a telemarketer and running ads in the local newspaper all help to build your brand and encourage new patients to utilize your services (note: including a call-to-action and offers within these tactics increases response rates). This type of advertising also helps educate your community about hearing health and wellness.

How to implement?

Those tactics can get costly, so you’ll want to have a well-planned strategy. Develop a plan that reaches your target audience through a multi-channel approach. As you execute your plan, it is vital that you effectively track the results and review them frequently to course-correct where needed. If you are going to invest time and money in marketing your practice, you’ll want to make sure your budget is maximized! If you don’t know where to start, ask us. AHAA has helped many Associates overcome marketing inertia.

When all three approaches – database outreach, referral programs, and marketing & advertising – are integrated into your practice, you will be amazed by the results. Do you want to start driving more opportunities into your practice today? Call your Associate Manager or contact AHAA Marketing – we’ll work together to develop a customized plan for your practice.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: