7 Medical Practice Growth Strategies for Existing vs. New Patients
Taking full advantage of the increasing number of patients requires the implementation of medical practice growth strategies. These approaches fall into two categories: growth through existing patients and growth through new patients.
The third quarter of 2022 brought several unpleasant surprises to many medical practices. With operating costs exceeding patient revenues, the ROI of medical practice operations turned out significantly lower than expected.
At the same time, some practices saw rising net patient revenues. These healthcare providers capitalized on increasing patient volumes to counter the effect of higher operating costs, inflation, and a tightening labor market.
Taking full advantage of the increasing number of patients requires implementing medical practice growth strategies. These approaches fall into two categories: growth through existing patients and growth through new patients.
Before implementing the above strategies, it’s essential to understand how the consumerization of healthcare reflects on your medical practice marketing plans. Let’s take a closer look.
Adapting to the Consumerization of Healthcare
Consumerization of healthcare is a change in the role of a patient from someone who is receiving services passively to an active participant who manages their health and chooses payment plans. For healthcare marketing, it means shifting the focus from health plan sponsors to individual patients.
Growing a medical practice effectively involves viewing patients as buyers. They are no longer passive individuals brought to you by their employers. Patients are healthcare consumers who require a personalized approach that drives lead generation, conversion, and retention.
To reap the benefits of the growing patient volume and maintain a high marketing ROI, it’s important to develop a comprehensive marketing plan. In the healthcare sector, effective plans require leveraging special marketing technologies, such as patient acquisition platforms.
Growing Your Medical Practice through Existing Patients
Your existing patients are a highly valuable asset. The effort you put into providing high-quality services can pay off through those who receive them and contribute to the growth strategy.
1. Enhance the Patient Experience for More Referrals
Over 60% of marketers agree that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing. Meanwhile, around 78% of consumers share positive recent experiences with people they know.
Amidst consumerization, medical practice growth depends on word-of-mouth marketing heavily. To ensure it works for you, you need to enhance the patient experience by going beyond satisfactory to “stellar.”
A better patient experience begins by improving online access to patient care services. This includes:
- Real-time appointment scheduling
- Online bill payments
- Medication refill reminders
You can provide all the above options by leveraging DoctorLogic’s patient acquisition platform. Online services offer impressive convenience for pressed-for-time patients and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.
2. Collect Google Reviews through Reputation Management
Google reviews are a local search ranking factor. 81% of consumers use these reviews to evaluate a local service provider, making them essential for medical practice development and growth.
Soliciting reviews is a significant element of a successful marketing strategy. The easiest way to do this is by asking. While many patients are willing to share their experiences, only a few do it. Reasons vary from forgetting to failing to find a review form.
To collect reviews, you can:
- Remind patients to leave reviews through follow-up emails or messages.
- Fill out and maintain your Google Business Profile (GBP).
- Provide a link to your GBP reviews in your correspondence with the patients.
- In your medical office, hang posters with QR codes that lead to review pages.
- Implement reputation management practices that involve replying to reviews on time.
DoctorLogic automates review collection and posts reviews on your website to ensure their visibility for new and existing patients.
3. Nurture Existing Patients through Social Media Marketing
Social media is an excellent place to connect with your existing patients. It’s one of the most important growth strategies for medical practices trying to adapt to consumerization.
A smart approach to nurturing doesn’t just retain your patients. It also turns them into brand ambassadors.
- Analyze information about your followers through tools like Instagram Insights or Facebook Analytics.
- Listen to what your followers say and act upon it when possible.
- Provide educational and valuable content.
- Share offers for existing patients
- Leverage user-generated content to demonstrate appreciation for your patients.
Make sure to post regularly. Your posts disappear from the feed as soon as you stop, causing you to lose your patients’ attention.
Growing Your Medical Practice through New Patients
Learning how to grow your medical practice through existing patients is part of the process. You also need to figure out how to grow your practice through patients that don’t know anything about it yet.
These strategies for growth include a comprehensive approach to consumer-oriented marketing.
4. Design Your Website as Your Digital Doorstep
All aspects of digital marketing revolve around your website. Your paid advertising, SEO, social media, and email marketing efforts lead patients to this digital doorstep. That’s why high-quality website design is the key to attracting and converting new patients.
Besides being well-designed and easy to navigate, the website should be functional enough to initiate conversions. This includes:
- Designing optimized contact forms
- Leveraging gated content
- Localizing content
- Improving page loading speed
- Minimizing distractions
When planning or auditing your website design, keep HIPAA compliance in mind. For example, your forms must be encrypted to prevent patient information loss.
To ensure this compliance, it’s important to build a website on a patient acquisition platform like DoctorLogic. This can help you avoid data security issues and massive fines that you may face on such non-compliant platforms as WordPress.
5. Generate Leads with Paid Advertising
Healthcare providers who need an effective way to attract patients to new practices leverage paid advertising. This approach works for both clinics and private practices.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are the fastest way to attract new patients to your website, where effective conversion tactics kick in. However, PPC marketing isn’t the least expensive tactic.
The cost depends on the volume of your competition, while the ROI depends on the quality of your ads, content, services, and website.
To implement successful PPC marketing, you can use:
- Google Paid Search Ads – ads that appear on top of the search results in response to relevant queries.
- Google Display Ads – ads that appear on websites that your potential patients browse.
- Facebook dark posts – promotional posts that appear organically in your potential patients’ feeds but don’t clutter yours.
- Instagram Ads – an impressive variety of social media advertising options that brings new patients to your digital doorstep.
It’s possible to reduce the cost of PPC ads by partnering with an agency like DoctorLogic that offers effective paid ads management.
6. Convert Visitors with 24/7 Managed Chat
A managed chat tool is an important part of streamlining the patient experience on your website. This 24/7 support option answers questions, keeps them on your website, and turns them into new patients.
Intake professionals who receive special training to work on medical websites can turn visitors into patients around the clock.
DoctorLogic’s patient acquisition platform offers convenient and effective managed chat integration options.
7. Gain Visibility with Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that drives your website to the top of search engine result pages. With 80% of people using search engines to find information about local service providers, a comprehensive SEO strategy is key to growing your practice.
The pillar of effective SEO is quality keyword research and implementation. While traditional agencies can only target a few dozen keywords, patient acquisition platforms can target tens of thousands of keywords.
Combined with high-quality content marketing, such keyword targeting drives new traffic to your website and increases your patient conversion rate.
DoctorLogic is a marketing agency that offers SEO and content marketing services while leveraging the latest technology to help medical practices outpace the competition.
How much should you spend to grow your medical practice?
DoctorLogic’s patient acquisition platform has an average ROI of 12,000%. That means that for every dollar you spend on it, you can get 12 dollars back.
But how much should you spend in the first place?
The amount you spend on growth depends on the volume of competition and patient demand for your services. To understand how much competition you face, you can search for your medical specialty and study a map of competing practices.
Estimating patient demand is tougher. One way is to cross-reference census data with Google search volumes. Another is to use DoctorLogic’s free, instant Local Market Analysis.
Growing your practice through new and existing patients doesn’t require a huge budget. You can achieve your growth goals without breaking the bank with the right strategies, partnerships, and technologies.