You put money and effort into marketing your medical practice, but do you know which channel is the most effective in bringing in new patients? Marketing budgets can be tight so it’s imperative to understand the ROI of each campaign and move around resources accordingly.
Tracking Marketing Efforts is Tricky
Tracking your practice’s marketing campaigns is a critical piece to the puzzle. These days, many surgical practices are running activities both online and offline. As such, tools that measure digital campaigns are not sufficient to evaluate the whole picture. For example, it can be quite simple to connect a patient who booked their initial appointment online to a PPC campaign by using the Google Analytics tool. But if someone found out about your practice through a radio ad, it’s more difficult to track.
Then again, the same patient that clicked on the PPC ad and booked their appointment online may have initially heard about you from their friends, then searched online for the practice and saw the ad. Bottom line: tracking marketing activities is complex and there can often be multiple touch-points and steps in your patient’s journey to your front door.
Straight from the source
So how do you get real answers? Ideally, the info should come directly from the patient. Which is why it’s critical to ask your patients how they found your practice. But it has to be done in a way that makes it easy and painless for the patient to give over the information.
Here are a few ideas:
- Creating a prompt at check-in: Set up a prompt for receptionists to ask new walk-ins how they heard about the clinic. This method requires the least work on the patient’s part so it might be a great way to start the initiative. See if patients are happy to give over this info at the beginning of their journey. The receptionists should log this information into a system where the data can later be extracted and reported on.
- Digital Check-in: If your practice uses iPads or other digital check-in devices, you can include “how did you find us” as a question on the screen. But don’t forget, you need to make it easy for the patient to respond. This means you should not make it an open-ended question. Rather, make a list of all the possible channels they may have found you through (radio ads, online ads, online search, word of mouth, local publication etc) so they just need to tap the checkbox next to the appropriate item. The less work required, the more likely they are to answer the question.
- If a large proportion of your patient body are elderly, consider handing out a printed set of questions.
- Email Survey: Send a follow-up survey via email to patients after their visit and ensure that “how they found the practice” is on the question list. Again, make it short and easy for the patient to complete.
Online surveys tend to be a less successful way to gauge patient satisfaction and obtain information about how they found you – simply because we are all inundated with surveys from all the different vendors we have touchpoints with. If you can catch the patient’s attention while they are still in your office, this is probably your best bet.
Measure your medical practice’s marketing strategies
Once you have answers to these questions and accumulate enough data, you can calculate your Return on Investment (ROI) for each marketing channel. There are different ways to measure ROI – and it might be different at every practice. One simple way is to assess how much money was spent on each channel, and then compare how many patients the channel brought in. A more elaborate ROI calculation would incorporate how much revenue each channel brought in vs the spend. Here are a few online calculators to help measure marketing efforts.
Use this data to make informed marketing decisions
If you see that no one is coming to the practice because of a printed ad you ran in a local publication, it may not be worth running the ad in the following year. Or on the flip side, if you see large numbers came through because of a radio ad, then increasing frequency and spend of the radio ads should be on the cards.
Data from patients may also reveal certain trends. For instance, some channels may perform better during certain periods of the year (summer months or the holiday season), while other channels perform well year-round. Once you have a sizeable pool of data, you’ll know where to best focus your efforts in order to provide the best ROI for your practice.
Bottom line: data is a must-have in 2019 for surgical practices
It’s the start of a new year. And that means it’s a great opportunity to set up new protocols and improve business processes at your practice. Stop making decisions based on hunches, and spend some time building surveys and ways to collect data from your patients so you can make better-informed business decisions.