The new year is upon us; hopefully, you’ve had the chance to set your goals for the coming year.
If you haven’t or are unsure how to do this, check out our blog post on how to set achievable goals for your healthcare business.
Marketers who set goals are 377% more likely to report success than those who don’t, so it’s worth the time!
The last few months of the year can prove difficult for healthcare clinics. You may have been competing to get your ads seen amongst Black Friday deals and Christmas shopping ads, and it can feel like you and your clinic are going unnoticed.
You may have noticed a dip in new leads over the past few months and are wondering how you can boost new patient enquiries or if you should give up on advertising.
This is definitely not the time to throw in the towel and give up on advertising!
In fact, the Harvard Business Review explains that before Covid-19, marketing would be the first cost to get cut in times of trouble. Now it’s essential to focus on marketing to be able to recover successfully when the economy picks up.
So, here are some powerful approaches to boost new enquiries to get those patients through your clinic doors!
#1 Get referrals
Referrals are one of the easiest methods to get new patients into your clinics. It’s fast, and it’s free. Not to be confused with the less reliable word-of-mouth.
Prospective patients that have been referred will arrive ready or almost ready to convert. They are interested in the treatment and are further along in their patient journey than other leads.
If you have an established clinic, you may have made connections with other physicians in different healthcare niches.
Striking up a good relationship with these professionals and encouraging referrals between you is a fantastic opportunity to get new patient enquiries who are likely to follow through with treatment.
You can also encourage referrals from your own patients by setting up a referral programme. This could include a discount for every successful referral, pushing them to recommend their favourite treatment to loved ones. This way, everybody benefits!
You can let your patients know about your referral programme in person by handing out leaflets with the details or by sending them a personalised text or email!
#2 Get active on social media
Whether you use social media as a paid advertising platform or to reach people organically, there’s no denying that social media is a powerful tool to get new patient enquiries.
Organic reach is in decline. Reaching new patients (or even your current ones) without paying for ads on Instagram and Facebook is getting more difficult. However, there are still methods to help get your content seen by more people.
- Post real pictures of your clinic and your staff
- Use high-quality images but stay clear of stock images
- Explain the treatments you offer and show the results
- Post regularly
- Reply to comments and messages
- Don’t post prices, but you can post discounts
- Set your accounts to business accounts and use analytics to find out when to post, as well as learn more about your followers
- Using analytics, find out which posts perform better
- Engage with your community – like and comment on other people’s posts
If you’ve found you aren’t getting enough new patient enquiries organically through social media, it’s time to look at ads. This allows you to reach prospective patients who are willing to book high-value treatments.
Your ads can be used to show off a new consultation room you’ve just put in or a new treatment you’ve started offering.
Maybe you’ve just hired a new specialist or acquired the latest technology.
At Ignite Growth, we’ve found that one of the most successful ways of using social media ads is to host an Open Day for a high-value treatment.
You can offer a free consultation in exchange for the prospective patient’s name and contact details and the chance to get in front of them.
Remember to clarify what they are signing up for – a free consultation, discounted treatment and information about the life-changing treatment you are offering.
By creating a Facebook Business Manager account, you’ll be able to set up your ads, analyse them and optimise them.
Check out this blog to find out the seven key metrics you should follow to track the performance of your campaigns.
#3 Set up Google Ads
Google Search Ads are fundamental in marketing your healthcare business.
Why? Because these pay-per-click ads target those already looking for what you offer.
If a prospective patient is searching for “fat freezing in Manchester” in the Google search engine and you’ve set up a Google Ad for your Body Contouring treatment at your clinic in Manchester, your ad is likely to be shown to that person.
By comparison, Facebook Ads are shown to those in a target audience that look like they could be interested in a treatment.
With Google Ads, these are actual searches happening, so the chances of converting are much higher.
We also recommend that you promote Open Days in Google Ads. Like with Facebook Ads, you should offer something in return and add value to the treatment. Don’t mention the cost of the treatment but do mention any discounts, offers or freebies!
For a more comprehensive guide on creating Google Ads, click here!
#4 Do SMS and email marketing
You’re not alone in thinking email marketing falls on deaf ears.
Most of us have our inboxes full of marketing emails from companies, half of which we don’t even know how they got our email addresses.
Recognising this is vital if you want to send out updates and discounts in your emails to your patients. Understand that they will need something appealing and eye-catching to actually open the email.
Although it might seem that it’s not worth doing email marketing, it is still very much worth including it in your marketing mix. Email marketing is one of the lowest-cost strategies you can use. The emails can be personalised in ways other forms of advertising can’t, and it’s a great way to keep patients engaged with your clinic.
The average opening rate of emails is 21%, and although that might seem low, it isn’t. Anywhere between 17% and 28% is considered a good open rate.
If you want to read more on email marketing, check out this article from Forbes.
The opening rate for marketing SMS is a whopping 98%. You’re bound to have your patient’s contact numbers to get in touch with them; now you can spread the word about new treatments, your referral programme or any discounts.
Pro tip: if you can personalise your texts, do! Receiving a round-robin text is off-putting, but a patient receiving a text addressed to them and from a staff member, especially one they have interacted with, is much more appealing.
#5 Get social proof
These days, consumers are experts in what they want to buy.
With information at their fingertips, a quick Google search will teach them pretty much everything they need to know about a product before buying it. And it’s no different from the treatments you offer. In fact, more consumers are reading reviews than ever before.
You can assume that your prospective patients will shop around before deciding which clinic they want to go with. So, you’ve got a great website, your ads have led them to your landing page, and you’ve got a great offer, but so do your competitors.
So, how do you convince them that your clinic is better than the competition?
Social proof is the perfect way to build trust and prove to future patients that you stay faithful to your promises. These promises might be the type of care you offer or the results patients are likely to obtain from a treatment.
Reading testimonials provides that extra bit of comfort and confidence in you and your practice.
How do we get testimonials, and where should they be?
Asking your patients in person for a review is the most effective way of getting them to actually leave one.
You can also distribute leaflets at reception with a QR code, taking them to the page where you want them to leave the review, or you can follow up with an email or send an SMS.
Explain that it will help you and your clinic to reach new people who might also be interested in the same treatments.
Get reviews on Google by sending out a link with an email. These will show up as soon as someone searches for your clinic!
You can include testimonials on your website. This should have the reviewer’s name, a quote from them, and, if possible, a photo too!
Video testimonials are often harder to get but very powerful. You will probably know your frequent patients relatively well, so you will know which ones would more likely agree to a video testimonial. You can always offer them a discount in return!
Hire a healthcare growth agency
While this might sound intimidating, putting aside some of your marketing budget to get the professional’s insight is a low-risk way of bringing in new patient enquiries.
It’s vital to hire an agency that has knowledge of your industry.
This will save you time and money as the agency will already understand the patient and what they are looking for. This will help them know how to market to them.
At Ignite, we’ve been setting up campaigns for healthcare businesses for years, providing us with invaluable knowledge of the patients looking for different treatments.
If you would like to book a call with our growth team, get in touch here!