7 Tips for Attracting More Patients to Your Clinic
Content updated on 01/07/19
All small businesses face the challenge of consistantly bringing in more business - and healthcare practices like a clinic are no exception. However, while doctors, nurses, and healthcare technicians may have the knowledge and skill to offer exceptional service and treatment to their patients, medical programs don’t usually cover business management skills like marketing. Don’t worry - you won’t have to go back to school for it, and you should be able to make it without breaking the bank. Attracting new patients may take some time and work, but it’s easier than you think.
1. Identify Your Ideal Patient
Before you can begin attracting new patients to your clinic, you need to know who you’re trying to talk to in the first place. While everyone needs some type of healthcare over the course of their lives, your ideal patient is always going to be slightly different than the ideal patient of another practice.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What conditions and/or diseases do you usually treat?
- What populations are at higher risk for these conditions?
- What are the demographics of your current patients?
- Does price affect your prospective patients’ decision to choose your clinic for treatment?
- Does location and accessibility affect the decision to choose your clinic?
These questions are just a jumping off point to beginning your small practice marketing. You’ll probably find other factors and indicators of your ideal patient as you start to do your research. Once you determine who you want to bring to your clinic, you can begin to target your marketing efforts.
2. Start Building Your Network
The goal may be a steady stream of new patients, but that doesn’t happen overnight, and it especially doesn’t happen without some initial legwork. Getting some name recognition and awareness of your practice is a great first step, especially for highly competitive markets like chiropractic. Once you start the process of building your own brand, you'll be surprised how quickly you are able to gain traction is different circles.
The best advice? Hit the streets— go to networking events, town hall meetings, and volunteer for causes you’re passionate about. This allows you to introduce your community to yourself and your business without making it all about a sales pitch. While networking may not immediately bring patients through your doors, making connections and building long term relationships in your local area can help you to create trust and build your network of influential community leaders.
3. Understand How People Find You
In the United States, when someone decides to seek treatment for a health condition, they are essentially looking to make a purchase, and the way that the American public makes purchasing decisions has changed drastically in our digital world, especially for large purchases.
More people are choosing to do extensive research online before spending money, and businesses have responded in kind by making their information easy to find. Does your clinic have a website? If so, does it have the most up-to-date and current information? Does it look good? Is it mobile responsive?
Of course, the internet is not the only way people discover healthcare practices. Maybe a majority of your current and past patients have come from referrals, or brochures at a local gym. However your ideal patient searches, let that be the marketing focus of your clinic.
4. Build Your Online Presence
If you are worried about the reach of your website, there are many other ways to create a strong online presence. Beside a good website— though that will almost always be a part of your small business marketing— think about other ways people use the internet. Are your patients on social media? If so, which platform or platforms? Your goal is to be in front of them as much as possible, and social media makes it easy to share relevant content, gather reviews, and advertise to population segments you couldn’t otherwise reach.
Another way to boost your online presence is by creating local business listings. Google My Business is an effective platform for people in the same area to find your clinic. Take some time to set up a listing with accurate information and an easy way to contact you, and check back as people will sometimes have questions or post reviews that you can respond to.
5. Create Relationships with Other Businesses
Your practice probably doesn’t have a solution for every problem, which is actually something you can use to your advantage. Referring your patients to other businesses like physical therapists, specialists, even fitness trainers works to create relationships. They’ll be more likely to refer their patients to your clinic for treatments that only you can offer if you’ve done the work to initiate a conversation. For example, practices with a spinal decompression table may be able to get business from physical therapists who lack the space or resources for non-surgical spinal decompression, and you may send your SDT patients to that therapist for concurrent treatments. Not only does this help bring in new patients to your practice, it usually results in better outcomes for those patients, which goes a long way towards patient satisfaction.
6. Encourage Referrals
Referrals are one of the most cost-effective sources of new business for all industries. Rather than spending significant resources on marketing yourself through ads and other budget-busting efforts, your current and past patients can be motivated to bring in their own networks for you.
The first step is, of course, to provide value to your patients that they’ll want to share. The next is actually encouraging referrals. You could consider a referral program, or ask for reviews online from happy patients. Patients who had a good experience at your practice are usually more than happy to provide a review with a little prompting, especially if you make your appeal as personal as possible.
7. Track Your Efforts
There’s something to be said about throwing everything at a wall to try and see what sticks, but it’s much more cost— and time— effective to focus your efforts on marketing channels that show the greatest return on investment, or ROI. Calculating that ROI, however, requires tracking and analysis of your work, which adds another dimension to everything that you do.
Keep track of how much you’re spending on each avenue you try - whether that means money on social media ads or the opportunity cost of going to a networking event - as well as the revenue brought in by new patients from that avenue. As time goes on, you’ll be able to focus on high-performing sources of patients, streamlining your clinic marketing and growing your small business.
Attracting new patients to your clinic is by no means easy, but it is doable if you’re willing to put in the work and the time it takes to optimize your small clinic marketing. Learn more about how to help your healthcare practice succeed in unstable times with this free article by Dr. Timothy Burkhart: