To grow your clinic and earn more revenue, you need to not only maintain trustworthy relationships with your existing patients but ensure a steady flow of new ones.
In this blog post, you’ll learn eight proven ways to set up a reliable system to attract patients through the most effective channels.
Before you start
More and more healthcare facilities are moving toward a patient-centric model to gain market share and enhance their financial performance in an environment of increasing competition. But how do you become patient-centric? It all starts with your patients.
Before you get down to any marketing efforts, you need to understand your potential patients’ needs. For this, you’ll need a well-defined ideal patient profile. An ideal patient profile gives you a clear understanding of your patients as consumers. Patient profiling also allows you to forecast your current and prospective patients’ behavior and personalize your communications with them.
A patient profile enables you to go beyond patients’ traditional demographic characteristics like age, sex, location, and income level. By learning your audience’s psychographic characteristics — their interests, beliefs, lifestyle choices, priorities, values, decision-making factors, etc. — you’ll be able to put together an in-depth description of your target patients. This will allow you to focus your marketing tactics to attract new patients.
If you have a wide range of patients that can be grouped by certain characteristics, create an ideal patient profile for each group to choose the best marketing method on a group by group basis. Below, you’ll find a sample of an ideal patient profile.
The profile above is a basic version that can be supplemented and amplified.
Once you have a patient profile for each group, you may choose the best channel of communication with your current and future patients to attract more patients to your clinic.
How to create an ideal patient profile
To create an ideal patient profile, follow these three steps:
- 1. Gather patient data
Collect all the information you have about your top patients. To distinguish these patients among everyone who has ever visited your clinic, think about who gets the most value from your services. You can gather patient data by:
- Accessing your customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Interviewing your current patients
- Studying the profiles of other clinics’ followers on social media as well as groups and communities your prospective patients are members of
- Running online surveys either distributed through your website, social media profile(s), email, or online survey platforms like Typeform and SurveyMonkey
- 2. Describe your patients
Now it’s time to describe your patients based on the information you’ve collected. Think about both demographic and psychographic characteristics.
- 3. Create your ideal patient profile
Once you’ve gathered all necessary data and identified your top patients, organize your findings and compile your patient profile.
Now that you know your target audience well, you can get down to marketing efforts to attract more patients to your clinic.
#1 Ensure a robust online presence
Like many industries, healthcare has been impacted considerably by digitization. Traditional marketing practices are becoming less effective, and they’re not enough to keep a clinic up and running and bring in new patients.
In today’s highly digitized world, the only thing someone needs to access information about your clinic and services is an internet-enabled device. Most patients who are referred by their friends, colleagues, or family members will check your facility’s reputation on the web. That’s why it’s important to have a strong online presence.
Nine benefits of going online for clinics
Your clinic can benefit in a number of ways from building a robust web presence.
- Expand patient reach
- Increase awareness of your clinic and services
- Stand out from other clinics
- Provide patients with easier access to your services
- Boost clinic credibility
- Increase the chances of getting patient referrals
- Strengthen patient loyalty
- Build a positive reputation
- Enhance patient relationships
Two key ways of having a strong online presence are building a website and using social media.
When it comes to healthcare, people want to find a reliable clinic and a competent doctor they’ll feel comfortable working with. However, when they learn about your clinic from the web, they can’t judge it by the professionalism of your staff. People look at your brand and its digital image instead.
That’s why a well-established website and social media profile are crucial for your online presence. This is what can stimulate patients to choose your healthcare facility over others.
Building a website
A well-designed, powerful website is intended to give general information about your clinic such as office hours, the services you provide, and your location to help build credibility with your patients.
The basic features an effective clinic website should have are as follows:
- A clear message
- A strong value proposition
- Simple navigation
- A clean responsive design
- Fast load time
- Strong branding
- Well-formatted and relevant content
- Cross-browser compatibility
A well-established clinic website that can effectively convert visitors into patients includes the following elements:
- About us page
- Description of services
- Strong call to action
- Booking button/widget
- Informative blog
- Clear pricing
- Social proof
- Help center
- Live chat
- Contact page (including links to social media profiles)
- Online payment portal
A powerful website is one of the most effective ways to get your clinic known and is one of the pillars of successful patient acquisition. For a start, you can use a website constructor like Wix. This will allow you to save money and time.
But if financially possible, we recommend ordering a custom website that will fully satisfy your needs and look more professional than a site you build independently. Another important benefit of hiring a web developer or an agency is that they can take care of everything you’ll need to do when creating your clinic website:
- Purchasing a domain name
- Hosting your website
- Developing and designing your site
- Filling your site with relevant content
The choice is up to you, but keep in mind the features and elements of a highly converting and successful clinic website.
Eager to learn more about what a good clinic website looks like and what elements and features it should have? Read our blog post on what makes a good clinic website to learn how a well-designed website can convert visitors into paying patients.
Using social media
Social media has become an effective marketing tool for many businesses, including those in the healthcare industry. Since social networks are a popular source of health information for lots of people, clinics should make the most of them.
Healthcare professionals can use social media to reach more patients. Besides, they can leverage the power of social networks to both inform people and stop the spread of false information. Considering the statistics below, having a strong social media promotion strategy is crucial for every clinic.
Here are some helpful and timely social media tips to grow your online audience and extend your influence as a healthcare services provider:
- Define your target audience and your ideal patient
- Focus on your audience’s network(s) of choice
- Share valuable content your audience needs
- Publish regularly
- Respond to comments and questions on time
- Showcase your brand in unique ways
- Raise awareness of your clinic’s new services, events, etc.
- Emphasize your staff’s accomplishments
Learn everything you want to know about how to use social media effectively to grow your clinic from our complete guide to social media marketing for clinics.
#2 Get listed in online directories
What do people do when they need to find a clinic and learn about its services? They search on Google. Being present on search engines is no longer an advantage but rather a necessity for any business. That is why it’s important not only to create a website for your clinic but to register it in online directories. One of the most well-known online directories is Google My Business.
Google My Business is a free service that can make your clinic more visible in local search results and provide users with important information about it — contact details, working hours, ratings, testimonials, and more.
Listing your clinic on a local web directory is an effective way to attract new patients.
Besides, getting listed has another significant benefit, namely displaying your clinic on Google Maps. Your prospective patients can simply type “clinic” into Google Maps and go to the nearest place with good reviews and sufficient information. Having a clinic profile on Google My Business will help you attract patients and improve your clinic’s credibility.
#3 Create your brand
Now that patients are empowered with numerous options to choose from healthcare providers, your clinic’s brand is more important than ever.
Let’s start with what a brand is. You might think that a logo and tagline are enough to build a powerful brand. However, creating your clinic’s brand is rather challenging. A brand is the way your clinic is perceived by your patients as well as the emotions and associations your facility evokes.
You need to decide how you want to be perceived and what feelings you want to arouse. And most importantly, you need to ensure consistent messaging across all your brand’s touchpoints.
Strong branding for your clinic driven by a strategy and informed by research can offer many valuable benefits. Let’s take a look at them.
- Identify patients’ changing needs
- Win patients’ trust
- Establish brand loyalty
- Differentiate yourself from other clinics
- Achieve stronger financial performance
- Attract and keep top healthcare professionals
Four steps to a strong brand
To develop a robust brand for your clinic, follow these steps:
- Identify your unique selling proposition (USP). Defining your USP is one of the most essential factors in branding your clinic. To be successful in today’s competitive environment, you have to provide your patients with a unique reason why they should choose you over the competition.
- Create visual branding elements. These elements include a logo, color(s), typography, and iconography. They must convey the feeling you want your patients to experience when they come to your clinic. For a start, try free online logo generators like Looka or FreeLogoDesign. If your budget allows, hire a designer.
- Create verbal elements. Verbal elements are your brand name, tagline, and tone of voice. The goal of verbal elements is to help your patients understand your messages, remember them, and act on them.
- Keep your brand current. Over time, you can change how your brand is presented. Update your brand representation to ensure it’s relevant to the market.
#4 Offer discounts
Discounts and special offers are attractive to people and can help you both bring in new patients and bring back previous ones. By discounting your clinic’s services, especially in-demand services, you can get attention from your target audience.
Reduced prices are particularly attractive to students and retirees. However, other groups of patients will gladly take the chance to use your services at lower prices especially if they have never been to your clinic.
Here are nine discount offer ideas to attract more patients to your clinic:
- Offer a discount on a consultation under certain conditions (e.g. taking part in a survey)
- Offer a discount on a service (X-rays, ultrasonography, etc.)
- Offer a discount on a certain procedure
- Offer a family discount
- Offer a back to school discount
- Offer a student discount
- Offer a veteran discount
- Offer an advance payment discount
- Offer a loyalty discount
#5 Encourage referrals
Patient referral programs are based on the idea of word of mouth and use your patients as a marketing tool for your clinic. Healthcare practices offering referral programs use various tactics to encourage patients to refer their family members, friends, and colleagues to visit your facility for their health needs.
Why are referral programs such a powerful tactic? Because people tend to trust those they know and place more confidence in their acquaintances’ opinions than in advertising.
Getting your existing patients to refer people from their social and professional circles to your clinic boils down to providing excellent care and maintaining good communication. Below are some easy but effective ways to increase patient referrals:
- Ask for reviews. By asking your satisfied current patients to leave reviews about your clinic on your clinic’s website, Google Maps, websites like Yelp, or social media, you’ll get an opportunity to improve your online reputation. You can facilitate reviews by sending your patients a link for posting a review.
- Offer incentives. You can reward your patients for bringing referrals by offering a discount on certain services or procedures. When deciding on a reward, think about what would be of most value to your patients.
- Share relevant and helpful content. Ensure you have a blog on your clinic website and share posts on social media. When patients can find relevant and helpful information on health-related issues like the importance of being vaccinated or what chest pain might be telling them, they’ll be likely to subscribe and share your posts with others. This strategy will help you win loyalty and trust from your prospective patients.
- Host an event. Hold an event at your clinic to drive patient referrals. A nice event idea is holding a seminar/webinar on a hot topic like skin care, weight loss, or vaccines. Alternatively, you might have an open house day.
You can also try more proactive ways to bring in patient referrals such as calling your current patients after their appointments to demonstrate compassion and empathy, sending birthday cards, or attaching customized referral cards to your newsletters.
#6 Leverage the power of public speaking
Public speaking is an effective tool for establishing meaningful relationships with prospective patients. It considerably adds to and extends your credibility as a healthcare provider. Speaking is a great opportunity to showcase your expertise and share your professional knowledge with your target audience. Above all, speaking opportunities allow you to attract more patients and referrals to your clinic without selling your services directly.
You can contact local media or organizations and offer to answer questions and give comments on topics from your field of expertise. The public will have a chance to get useful information straight from an expert, and you’ll get free media exposure.
Consider these five tips to make the most of public speaking:
- Choose a timely topic. You need to be crystal clear about what people attending an event are looking for, what interests them, and how you can help them.
- Stick to the problem-solution format. This format will allow you to define the issue and provide solutions. It’s a perfect platform to offer helpful, valuable, and irresistible information in a field where you are the authority.
- Share stories. Illustrate your solutions with stories from your practice. This will add to your credibility.
- Engage with the audience. Don’t just present the information you’ve prepared. Ensure you respond to the audience’s comments and questions so they feel the value of what you have to say.
- Offer handouts. These may be a clinic leaflet or a guide on the topic you’ve discussed. Ensure you attach your business card or include contact details.
#7 Offer online booking
Let’s start with an important statistic.
These statistics should be considered by clinics as a guide to action. In today’s era of digitization, it’s important to provide patients with an excellent experience. And providing online booking options is one way to do it.
The greatest benefit of using appointment booking software is that patients don’t need to reach you within working hours to confirm an appointment, and you don’t have to play phone tag with them instead of focusing on delivering healthcare services. Make it easy for your patients to book, reschedule, and cancel an appointment at your healthcare facility on their own 24/7.
There are multiple online booking solutions on the market, and they differ in features and price. Study reviews and information about each software solution to choose what best fits your clinic’s needs. Choose a solution featuring appointment reminders to reduce no-shows and appointment cancellations.
Also, opt for tools that support various communication channels for sending reminders (app notifications, emails, text messages, etc.). Some platforms like ExpertBox even offer an online widget that can be integrated with your clinic’s existing website to enable patients to make appointments directly from your website based on your staff’s availability.
#8 Run a paid search campaign
Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark.You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.
As mentioned before, most patients look for healthcare providers on the internet. So running a paid search campaign is a great way to increase your chances of being noticed. Paid Google campaigns empower you to reach your prospective patients at the moment when they’re looking for your services.
For a better result, we recommend hiring an expert in this area. However, we can share some useful tips:
- Target your ads to locations to pay for clicks from prospective patients in the area your clinic is located in.
- Choose the right keywords. Brainstorm every possible word or phrase your prospective patients might use to find your clinic.
- Give your ads compelling headlines, state your offer, and add a powerful call to action.
- Make sure people are directed to a contact details and location page on your website so they can find you easily.
- Track results and regularly optimize your campaign to drive traffic to your website.
Now you have a comprehensive practical guide on attracting patients to your clinic. Try various strategies from our list to figure out what works best for your healthcare facility. What’s most important is to remember that you’ll be able to achieve the best result by combining the best methods.