On average, you may lose between 10% to 30% of patients year on year so it should be a critical part of your marketing strategy to attract new patients to your practice. However, while most practitioners focus on getting new patients into their practice, very few know how to effectively attract the right kind of patients.
In this podcast we talk about the 7 Steps to attract the right patients to your practice to help you keeping scaling your business. You’ll hear us discuss;
- Find The Right Positioning For Your Own Practice [0:54]
- The Biggest Mistake Healthcare Providers Are Making Today [1:50]
- How To Define Your Practice Ideal Patient Profile (IPP) [5:13]
- Bring Them In With The Right Kind Of External Marketing [7:37]
- Identify The Problems Your Target Market Experiences [9:16]
- Present Your Services To Your Market’s Problem [10:08]
- Identify The Benefits Of Your Services [10:45]
- Explain What Makes You Different From Your Competitors [11:16]
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Huyen – Welcome to another podcast of Online Marketing For Doctors, I am your host Steven Tait and this is Huyen Truong and today we are going to talk about 7 Steps to attract the right patients to your practice.
Do you know that on average, you will lose between 10% to 30% patients year on year (According to Hearing Journal), so it is a critical part of your marketing strategy to attract new patients to your practice. However, while most practitioners focus on getting new patients into their practice, very few know how to effectively attract the right kind of the patients.
- First of all, you need to find the right positioning for your own practice?
Steve – Many practices are confused about their marketing message. Some think it’s their slogan and others think that’s their expertise, their experience, awards, how long they’ve been in business. Still others think it’s their vision and mission statement. It’s actually none of the above.
So put it in simple term, positioning is how you want your target patients to perceive you and how you differentiate yourselves from other similar healthcare providers.
Huyen – So how to position yourself as the choice not a choice?- This is a million dollar question I’d tell you, once you know how to position yourself as the choice…patients will go after you.
One of the big mistakes healthcare providers today are making is the spray and pray method. They go after a very broad and undefined market. This approach leaves you with a weak message that is diluted. This is a generalist’s approach which does not build authority.
Steve – I think Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” clarified this idea demonstrating that organizations are more likely to succeed if they focus on one primary offering, and doing it well. By doing so, they can get an edge on their competitors and become truly great businesses. Here is where you as a practice define what you are passionate about and want to be the best in your community at providing. Are you passionate about cosmetic dentistry, wellness, dentures, or maybe family oriented dentistry? The more specific you can be, the better.
Huyen – Let me use this simple example – it isn’t health related but I guess you all know it, when you think about McDonald, what is the first thing come into your mind? Steve?
Steve – Is it the burger right?
Huyen – Same thing for KFC, is it fried chicken you are thinking of?
Steve – Yes, definitely
Do you notice that even though over the years, McDonalds and KFC have been selling all sort of different products (I think now they now even sell ice cream, chicken wraps, desserts, all sort of sugar drinks and even salads) but people identify them as burger and fried chicken fast food sellers not any of those things that I’ve listed above?
A good example in Plastic Surgery area that I’ve come across is Dr Bryan Mendelson website, which I put the link to his website in our show note https://bmendelson.com.au/ – Dr Mendelson positioned himself as facial surgeon, he doesn’t do anything else but facial surgery, and he has been nationally and internationally acclaimed for that expertise.
Steve – For those of you who’d like to see good examples of market positioning in your industry both in Australia and internationally, please email us and we’ll send you some good examples.
So have a look at your expertise and treatments and think about what do you want to do the most? What service has the highest profit margin and turnover? What service or treatment that you have the best results for your patients so far from whom you have received a lot of compliments. And also what services or treatments you can potentially train your other doctors or specialists to do it for you using your process so you can gradually remove yourself from your practice and eventually sell it later on when you retire. And then you need to get known in your industry for that treatment or service.
I guess a lot of listeners will ask…what’s about other services that are currently also bring revenue…
Huyen – My answer is “you can still provide other services outside your niche; you’re just not directing your marketing message to them”
And some of you might ask? How’s about GPs? – well, I tell you, GPs can position themselves too – that will be another upcoming topic of our podcast channel, so stay tuned for it.
- How to define your practice Ideal Patient Profile (IPP)
Steve – Now that you have done the most important marketing exercise for your practice which is finding a perfect positioning, the next step is to define your ideal target patience
We’ve come across hundreds of healthcare websites and it seems like the common biggest marketing message mistake that practices make is talking about themselves and not about their patients.
Huyen – To do this, you need to know WHO your target audience is, what market segments you are going after?
Once you have defined who YOU are, you can then construct an Ideal Patient Profile by answering some key questions.
Identify your target market
The first step starts out by asking, ‘Who is my target market?’ Refer back to your ideal patient profile. Your marketing message needs to be written to this target demographic.
What are the demographics?
What is your ideal patient’s average age?
Is your ideal customer male, female or both?
What is the income level of your IPP?
What area of your community does your ideal patient live?
What are some defining characteristics?
What are your ideal patient’s interests or hobbies?
What are your ideal patient’s professions?
What kind of life priorities do your ideal patients have?
What do your ideal patients avoid or dislike?
Steve – Where are they shopping for their health needs?
Where does your ideal patient spend their time?
Where does your ideal patient get exposed to and interact with marketing and advertising?
What blogs or websites does your ideal patient use or read?
What “Fascinates” your ideal patients?
In her best-selling book “Fascinate” author Sally Hogshead shares 7 triggers to persuasion and captivation that you can use to define your brand and attract your ideal clientele. They are Lust, Mystique, Alarm, Trust, Prestige, Power, and Vice.
Define what triggers and captivates your ideal patient profile and interweave those triggers into your patient marketing philosophy.
Huyen – Here is an example of a practice IPP
We are passionate about cosmetic dentistry with a focus on fee for service clientele.
Who we want to attract:
- Age 35-65, both male and female
- Earning $90,000+ annually
- Lives in the northwest or west side of the city
- Likely a current or retired business professional, or employee of A or B company.
- Live an active professional and personal life with hobbies that may include sailing, fishing, or other activities in the local bay.
- Care about maintaining their oral health and cosmetics of their smile long term
- Avoid low quality purchases and place value in long term quality products
- Likely they all have insurance
- Patients spend a lot of time online reading local and national news and professional blogs and participate in professional social media groups
- Fascination triggers include Lust (cosmetics), Prestige (cosmetics, quality), and Trust.
- Steve – You’ve identified your ideal patient; now’s the time to bring them in with the right kind of external marketing
Some practitioners shy away from external marketing due to the expense. They see it as big financial risk. However, the most marketing savvy (and highly successful) practices understand that external marketing budget is an investment in the practice. You can have an explosive ROI (Return on Investment) when it’s managed well.
Creating your external marketing message
Your external marketing is directed at prospective new patients who do not know you. You need, therefore, to create a consistent marketing message for use in your external communications that takes this into account.
It starts with knowing the wants, fears, problems, and needs of your target market and ends with crafting a message that speaks to those issues in a compelling and believable way. The result is an irresistible hook that makes your prospect want to know more.
Huyen – Your marketing message is what grabs your ideal patient’s attention, tells them how you can solve their problem, why they should trust you, and why they should choose to come to your practice over and above any and all other choices they might have.
Your marketing message should ‘speak’ to your ideal patient. You need to appeal to your ideal patient’s ‘hot buttons’. Talk about the areas that will trigger an emotional reaction.
The steps to go through to create your message are as follows:
- Identify the problems your target market experiences
Steve – the next step is to identify the problems your target market experiences.
Ask yourself, ‘What problem does my target market have and how does it make them feel?’
You need to understand the experiences of your patients to identify their problems and the pain and suffering they feel as a result of those problems. What does your ideal patient want from a dentist?
- What do they care about?
- What do they worry about?
- What is stopping them from coming to see you on a regular basis?
- Remember the old saying, ‘People don’t care about you until they know you care’.
Making it your mission to identify your market’s concerns tells them that you understand and empathise with them.
- Present your services to your market’s problem
Huyen – Once you identify target patience’s core problems then you can ask yourself, ‘What do I offer that solves the problems of my ideal patient?’
It is very tempting to talk about your services, e.g. teeth whitening, crowns, etc. But you need to present your practice in terms of solving people’s problems.
• They are afraid of dental fees – Say that you are fully transparent with your pricing and they can see pricing on your website.
• They need dental services that work around their office day
– Say that you offer early morning and late night dental services that work around their office day.
- Identify the benefits of your services
Steve – Now, next step is to identify all the benefits of your services and how those benefits could impact your ideal patient.
• They are afraid of dental fees – There are never any nasty surprises.
• They need dental services that work around their office day
– They don’t have to miss work or schedule their appointments around their busy work commitments.
- Explain what makes you different from your competitors
Huyen – The last step which is also very important one if you don’t want to be like another “me too practice” – You need to ask yourself, ‘How am I different from my competitors?’
Potential patients are looking for you to communicate your differences. And those differences need to have perceived value to the prospect. They need to be things they care about.
Do this in such a way as to explain what you stand for and what you can do rather than a direct statement, such as ‘We are better than 123 Practice because…
Don’t just say we are more experienced, it isn’t going to make a cut in this noisy world.
Steve – Well, if you can get these 7 steps done, you’ll do amazingly well for your practice marketing and set a strong foundation for all sort of other marketing activities both online and offline to attract your target audience?
So I’m curious and would like to hear from you too…what is the most effective thing you have done to attract the right target patients? Our healthcare professional community would love to appreciate your inputs and this week podcast episode has come to an end, be sure to rate the show so we can continue to bring you the best marketing strategies and tactics to grow and scale your practice.
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Steve – Yeah, getting involved would be wonderful. This is the first podcast channel in Australia about medical marketing and we aspire to make this channel a world-leading channel for the healthcare professional community.
There are many benefits of being on our show including but not limited to;
- Exposure to our healthcare professional community including thousands of doctors, surgeons, specialists, dentists and other healthcare professionals
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The podcast will be a Q & A interview style format, and it would only take up to 30 mins of your time.
We can’t wait to have you on our show and we look forward to seeing you next time.