It’s back-to-school time and just about everybody knows the 3 R’s of education—reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. But do you know the 3 R’s of practice marketing? The tricks to attracting new patients and growing your practice?
If you don’t…now is the time to “go back to school.” The Practice-Provider Relationship Study found that 1 out of 3 medical patients are likely to switch practices in the next few years. Whether you like marketing or not, the truth is that you’re going to have to figure out a way to fill those spots that open up on your schedule. It's no wonder attracting patients is one of the major challenges medical offices report facing in the near future.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the 3 R’s of practice marketing.
1. Reviews –Eighty percent of Americans read reviews before choosing their doctor. It is beyond vital that your practice has glowing reviews online. But how do you get patients to leave reviews? How do you even start the process? First, you need to make it as easy as possible. A patient relationship management (PRM) platform can help you with this. The right PRM will let you send requests to patients immediately following a visit. This is the time when they are most likely to actually leave that review.
(SR Smart Reviews is an awesome new tool that actually tells you which patients are most likely to leave you positive reviews and directs them immediately to the review site via a simple text. You can learn more about it here.)
The old fashioned way of simply asking is also important. When a patient is in the office, grab that chance to see if they would be willing to share about you online. The best sites to direct them to are Facebook, Google, or Yelp. Try to spread out these site recommendations. You don’t want every review you have to be on Yelp. Once you have gotten a few positive reviews on one site, change your request and direct them to a different one. Current reviews on a variety of sites will make sure more patients see them.
2. Referrals – Check out this full post for an in-depth look at how to get the most out of word-of-mouth referrals. But here’s the gist of it. Ask, ask, ask! Most patients are completely happy to refer you to a friend, but practices often fail to ask. Again, automating your referral process is also key to long-term success.
See how one office is using referrals to attract new patients in this video here:
Don't forget testimonials as part of the referral process. Did you know that 88 percent of people trust testimonials as much as they do in-person recommendations? This is pretty amazing, considering that testimonials on your website are usually posted by complete strangers. Video testimonials are one of the great innovations of the 21st century. With today's technology, you can request a video from patients right in your office. Simply record them sharing their experience and upload it to your website. Easy and effective.
3. Retention - It may seem silly, but focusing on amazing service to your current patients can often do more to grow your practice than anything else. Happy patients are the ones that will refer friends (often without you even asking!). They are very likely to leave glowing reviews online. Fostering these positive relationships with patients does take time and effort, but it completely worth it. So, while you're busy trying to attract new patients, don't forget the crucial role your relationship with current patients plays in the process. If you need a little refesher in developing amazing patient care, check out this blog post.
With a little work and the help of a dedicated PRM software, you will be able to get an A+ on your practice marketing assignment.
Need a little more advice? Read how to attract patients in a digital world in one of our free ebooks. Each is targeted to your specific industry to meet your different needs.