“You can also use those patient health data sets to put in prequalifying steps into the lead generation process to ensure that only the patients you want to work with make it through…”
While we discussed a lot in Part 1 of this series, there’s still more information that chiropractors need to know regarding how they can attract new patients by understanding and looking into their patient health data sets.
Part 2 of the interview, which follows, is edited for length and clarity.
What kind of marketing should chiropractors do in order to attract similar patients?
Attracting new patients should be viewed as a three-legged stool:
1) provider referrals or other referral sources (MDs, other health care providers, etc.),
2) word-of-mouth referrals, and
3) direct referrals (or direct-to-consumer patient acquisitions).
Each of these sources of new patients can be leveraged in different ways depending on the situation, but as a general rule, direct-to-consumer marketing is the most reliable way of attracting new patients — mainly because you have more control over the process.
With the other two options (health care referrals and word-of-mouth), you’re leaving a lot to chance in waiting for someone else to recommend or refer. With direct-to-consumer strategies, you can target, retarget, track key metrics, and adjust accordingly to hit your goals.
Now, direct-to-consumer marketing requires a different approach than the other two referral types. This is mainly due to the fact that, when you go hunting for patients on places like social media, you’re reaching out to prospective patients who may not necessarily be looking for the solution you provide. Therefore, more care needs to be taken to convert those prospective patients into paying patients (or plans of care).
Let’s look at a specific example: let’s say your clinic has a high POC completion rate for 30-45 y/o male patients with shoulder pain. You want to capitalize on this and attract more patients like that. The first thing to do is to determine where those patients “hang-out.” Maybe it’s a specific social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If there’s a specific mechanism of injury with those past patients (maybe they’re weight-lifters) or if there’s a demographic of patients that likely have shoulder pain, then you can use that to target patients as well.
The next step is to craft a marketing message specific to those types of patients. Now, this isn’t a copywriting article, but you basically want to do a couple things with the ads you run: write a catchy headline, show that you understand their situation/pain, build trust and credibility through some demonstration of expertise in that area, and make an irresistible offer to get prospective patients to click through to a landing page.
That’s just step one. After the prospective patient lands on your website or landing page, you need to have some way of tracking conversion rates — and ensuring that they actually convert to a consultation or evaluation. There are tons of ways to do that, whether it be automated schedulers, having them call the office, or having the office call them, etc.
The point is that, once someone clicks on one of your ads, your work in getting them in the door of the clinic is really only about halfway done. You need to have a solid follow-up system in place to convert those leads into patients.
Could these patient health data sets also point chiropractors to the type of patients they don’t want to continue attracting?
Absolutely. Take the POC completion rate metric. If you realize that let’s say patients with non-specific knee pain only complete their POC at 50% the rate of patients with shoulder pain, then the easiest thing to do is not build out any marketing campaigns to attract patients with non-specific knee pain.
You can also use those patient health data sets to put in prequalifying steps into the lead generation process to ensure that only the patients you want to work with make it through the lead generation system.
A simple example is patients that may show up to an evaluation and do not want to continue with a POC because of cost or the like. This often happens when clinicians offer “free” screenings or consultations in an attempt to convert a portion of those consultations into paying POCs. The problem is that by offering something for free, you’re opening yourself up to a lot of no-shows, cancellations, and patients who want something for nothing.
An easy way to do that is to offer paid consultations or write copy that includes costs and the like. This is a very nuanced topic, which requires a bit more digging into than this article has space for.
What are the biggest mistakes chiropractors can make when it comes to looking into their patient health data sets to acquire new patients?
The biggest mistake is to make generalizations based on patient health data sets that are not specific or accurate. For example, if all you’re doing is tracking visits per new, or course of care completion, but it’s not coupled with specific demographic, geographic, and clinical data points, you don’t have enough information to craft specific and targeted marketing campaigns for specific patients/problems.
Especially with direct-to-consumer marketing, you have to be specific and targeted. Running ads for “chiro for pain” or something generic doesn’t work. You need to call out a specific patient population, a specific problem, and offer a specific situation.
It’s important to understand that there’s a whole lot more to getting new patients than just figuring out which populations to go after and how to generate leads. Until a lead becomes a paying patient, they’re just that…a lead. You need to couple the marketing and advertising with a system that is designed to convert those opportunities into paying patients.