Private practice owners often rely heavily on reputation and word of mouth to bring in new patients. Of course, building a strong, positive reputation and building up that word of mouth takes time. And these days with hospitals buying up the small practices, patients within a given region have so many choices. In other words, it could be much harder for a private practice to compete.
Still, there are many ways to get new patients in the door, after which providing excellent service will help you to retain patients and gain referrals. Here are just a few strategies to consider when you’re looking to increase your new patients.
Ask for Referrals
There is no better place to start that with a happy patient. Any time you have a patient who expresses their appreciation, thank them of course, and ask that person, “Who do you know that could benefit from our services like you have?” Chances are, they know someone and will tell you if you are interested enough to ask. Get satisfied patients to write a review of your service and post it on your website and/or social media.
There are two ways to incentivize the process of gaining new patients. You can start by offering incentives to current patients who refer new patients to your office directly or write reviews on your behalf.
People love recognition for their contribution. Take advantage of that and create programs that reward and acknowledge those patients who refer. This could include discounts or deals on services, or perhaps entry into a contest to win a larger prize of some sort. A thank-you card to patients who refer is a simple way to ensure more of the same.
You can also create incentives for new patients, such as “free consultation.” You’d be surprised how many new patients you could generate if your staff had “free consult” cards to hand out to people they came across needing your services. Incentives won’t work on everyone, but personal gain can help to motivate people to take action, or at least take action more quickly.
Although you will either spend some money or lose some money on incentives, the business you gain in the process should more than offset your expenses.
Increase Online Visibility
It’s important to understand the value of advertising as a means of increasing awareness of your practice and bringing in new patients. These days, however, you cannot afford to ignore the power of increasing your visibility online.
You no doubt cater to a local community, so you might suppose that your money is better spent on local marketing efforts. This should definitely be a part of your strategy, but consider how many people seek out services online. If you don’t have a strong online presence, it’s all too easy for competitors to get found before potential patients can find your practice.
You should start with an attractive and user-friendly website, and then use it as your hub of online operations. Practicing SEO will help to make your website easier to find, especially if you use localization.
Don’t forget claim your business listing on popular sites likes like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Google My Business. You need to make sure your contact information is correct, at the very least, as well as pay attention to comments and reviews posted for your practice.
Blogging and social media are not only excellent ways to offer added value to your patients with articles and daily health tips for example, but they can also make interactions like appointment reminders for them, or reviews for you much easier.
Promote Your Expertise
Creating a presence, either online or in the real world, is no easy feat. You’ll have to work at it regularly if you want to see results. This can be done by creating an on-site blog or guest posting on industry blogs as an authority on certain subjects.
You might also lend your expertise to local news reports or participate in charity events as a way to increase visibility and promote your knowledge and experience within the local community. Public speaking on topics of interest hasn’t got out of style. Such efforts can help to highlight your practice, raise interest, and increase incoming patients.