In 2018, more healthcare providers will utilize retention marketing to encourage their existing patients to book more appointments and purchase more services and products.
Retention marketing refers to all activities designed to increase the likelihood that patients will visit your practice again and, ultimately, spend more money. All healthcare providers can benefit from retention marketing, especially providers who struggle to get their patients to visit as often as they are advised, offer cosmetic or medispa services, or sell products in a retail section.
In this blog, we define retention marketing, demonstrate how some healthcare practices are successfully using retention marketing, and discuss the rise of this strategy in 2018. Finally, we’ll show you exactly how retention marketing can help you grow your healthcare practice in the new year.
Why Retention Marketing for Healthcare Practices?
Many healthcare marketing strategies attempt to encourage new patients to book appointments, but retention marketing tries to engage existing patients. “Effective retention marketing keeps patients engaged and encourages them to come back, improving both continuity of care and practice revenue,” says Kyle Johnson, PatientPop director of marketing technology.
There are plenty of retention marketing strategies. A few to consider for your healthcare practice include:
Healthcare providers can use a blog as one of their customer retention marketing strategies to meaningfully engage patients and gently push them to take action. You can write blog posts that emphasize the importance of certain annual tests, immunizations, and checkups. A dentist, for example, might want to share with patients the precise risks of delaying twice-annual dental cleanings. OB-GYNs might want to write about why a pap smear is needed every three years.
Email is a great retention marketing channel for healthcare providers to communicate with patients and encourage them to book appointments or take advantage of special promotions. Rather than email your entire patient base at once, you should create targeted lists of people who are most likely to respond to your message. A podiatrist, for example, might send an email with a 25% off coupon for a medical pedicure only to patients who have purchased the service in the past.
If you don’t have a robust patient email list, then consider eye-catching postcards sent via USPS. Though direct mail is not as cost effective as email, your patients could enjoy receiving snail mail every now and then.
When we think of loyalty programs, we often think of Buy 10, Get 1 Free incentives for low-price items like cups of coffee. However, healthcare providers who offer self-pay elective outpatient procedures can also offer loyalty programs. A dermatologist or plastic surgeon, for example, could offer Buy 10, Get 1 Free Botox treatments.
Set parameters that work for your healthcare practice, and then advertise them to targeted patients. You can design a punch card as part of your marketing strategy, but be sure to keep a digital record of patient participation, too. This way, you can follow up with them as they get closer and closer to their reward.
Add Retention Marketing to Your 2018 Healthcare Marketing Plan
This year, use a customer retention process to engage your existing patient base by encouraging them to visit your practice more frequently. Retention marketing can help you drive more patients to your office, whether for a much-needed checkup or an expensive, out-of-pocket service.
To learn more about retention marketing and other healthcare marketing trends on the rise in 2018, download our whitepaper 2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends for Providers.