Patient retention is crucial to the lasting success of your practice. However, many businesses are more focused on marketing to new patients than nurturing relationships with existing ones.
More than three-quarters of consumers (77 percent) have stuck with certain brands for at least 10 years, according to the 2018 InMoment US Retail CX Trends Report. Retaining an existing patient is less expensive than acquiring a new one, and marketing to them can strengthen your bond.
Here’s some advice to help encourage your current patient base to stay with your practice.
5 healthcare marketing tips to boost patient retention
1. Start a blog
Savvy patients are proactive about their health, so educate and inform them on topics relevant to your practice by starting a blog. This is a great way to keep patients engaged and highlight your authority on the issues they care about.
More than half of companies (55 percent) consider blogging a top priority, according to the HubSpot State of Inbound 2018 report. Chances are, your competitors have started using it in their healthcare marketing strategy, so you don’t want to fall behind.
Of course, just throwing together a blog post for the sake of having one doesn’t work. Nearly one-quarter of bloggers report strong results after spending less than an hour on a post, according to a 2018 survey conducted by Orbit Media Studios. However, 38.9 percent who spend six or more hours on a post reported strong results.
As a busy doctor, you might not have enough time to write your own blog posts — and that’s OK. Delegate this task to a staffer or a third party to make sure it receives the proper time and attention.
2. Maintain an active social media presence
About seven-in-10 U.S. adults are on Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. Furthermore, 37 percent have an Instagram account and 22 percent use Twitter. Therefore, it’s basically a given the bulk of your patients use social media.
If social media isn’t already part of your healthcare marketing plan, it’s time to change that. Your patients want to connect with you on social media, and doing so will strengthen your relationship.
Keep patients engaged by posting informative content on a regular basis. When they see something particularly interesting, they’ll also likely share your posts, as 75 percent of loyal customers are willing to recommend a brand to friends and family, according to InMoment.
3. Launch an email newsletter
More than half of people who responded to a 2017 Campaign Monitor survey revealed they check their personal email account more than 10 times a day. They also said email is by far their favorite way to receive updates from brands.
Take advantage of this by starting an email newsletter aimed at existing patients. Depending on the amount of content you have, this can be sent on a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis.
Include practice updates, industry news, and any other relevant information you think would interest your patients. This is a great healthcare marketing tool because it keeps people connected to your practice.
4. Send direct mail postcards
You might think direct mail campaigns have passed their expiration date, but there’s a time and place for them. People enjoy getting mail — admit it, you do too — so step up your healthcare marketing strategy with an approach many other businesses no longer take.
Personalize communications by mailing birthday cards and appointment reminders. This is brilliant for patient retention because the extra effort shows people you really care.
5. Offer exclusive discounts and freebies
Everyone appreciates the ability to save money. In fact, discounts are the reason 72 percent of consumers are inclined to open an email from a brand, according to Campaign Monitor.
Therefore, giving discounts and freebies to existing customers is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. For example, a dermatologist might offer a free skincare product to patients who book a certain service.
Feeling like they’re getting something special will make patients feel valued. Satisfied patients don’t even think about switching providers.
Patient retention requires an investment on your part, but you can’t afford to ignore it. Your practice will struggle if you don’t have a steady stream of long-term patients in your waiting room, so including them in your marketing efforts is a must.
For more help on patient retention, see the blog post “How adjusting your bedside manner can boost patient retention.”