Attracting new patients is a constant concern for most physicians in private practice. Whether you want to expand your practice or just make sure your patient load remains stable, adding new patients is an essential aspect of your business. These three strategies will help you attract and keep quality new patients to grow your private practice.
1. Know Your Audience
Before you reach out to prospective patients, you need to understand your current patients. Take a look at your records and note the average age, sex, profession and location of patients. This information will help you find the best marketing method to attract new patients. For example, if you have a relatively young demographic, you might decide to become more active on the social media sites these people visit.
Do you also want to attract a different type of patient? Marketers create buyer personas—short biographical sketches that describe several types of people who buy their products—when they create marketing campaigns. Borrow that idea and create patient personas that describe a typical member of each patient group you want to attract. Include information about age, gender, income, interests and health problems.
2. Make Time for Networking
Referrals from other physicians and healthcare providers are an effective way to grow your practice. Reach out to doctors in your area and offer to provide referrals to their practices in exchange for referrals to yours. Take a little time to get to know other professionals. If the other doctor’s staff will be dealing with your staff members, bring one or two of your employees along and introduce them to their counterparts.
Joining community groups, such as the local chamber of commerce, is a good way to increase your visibility and gain referrals from other members. Don’t just become a member on paper. Attend meetings and events and get to know other members. The more time you spend networking, the greater the benefits.
3. Use Modern Marketing Practices
What’s the first thing many people do when they need a new doctor? They search online for physicians in their area. Seventy-two percent of Internet users surveyed by Pew Research Center searched for healthcare information, including information about doctors, over the course of a year. If you don’t have an online presence, you’ll lose countless potential patients.
A website is an absolute must. Make sure it includes the information prospective patients want, such as profiles of the doctors in your practice, information about the type of care you provide, insurance information, phone numbers, current office hours and directions to your office. If you already have a website, consider including the capability to retrieve test results, make appointments and email questions.
Don’t neglect social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites provide plenty of opportunities to connect with potential patients, and best of all, they’re free. Share interesting health-related news, provide healthy-living tips or remind patients it’s time for flu shots. Think of social media as an ongoing conversation with patients, but don’t let the conversational ball drop.
Whether you want to reach out to patients directly or network with colleagues, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to promote your business. Best of all, when you take advantage of free online opportunities, you’ll increase your exposure without breaking your budget.
Find additional ways to keep your budget in check with this free eBook, Stop the Budget Bleed: How Private Practice Physicians can Reduce Spend.