How To Grow Your Medical Practice (And Patient Volume) 2021

Sara Seirawan
Sara Seirawan
8 minute read

Today, I’ll share with you battle-tested tips that’ll help you reignite your practice’s growth and catapult it out of the plateau phase.

Let’s face it, running your medical clinic is hard as it is, let alone growing it. Scaling up your practice requires a different approach and each one is taking your attention. Do you focus on the clinical or the business side? How much time and money should you allocate to grow your medical business? What tactics to prioritize and what strategies to skip past?

Without wasting too much time, let’s dive right ahead.

1) Streamline your appointments and reduce unnecessary administrative tasks.

Growing your clinic isn’t a matter of increasing patient volume alone. One of the best tips to grow your practice is to enhance its internal processes and remove unnecessary workloads. And a great way to do this is to increase the ease of use and convenience in your clinic.

According to a recent study, 51% of all patients say that convenient and easy to access care is the most important factor in their decision-making. A staggering 80% of patients say that they select providers based on convenience factor alone. This is no surprise. People are busier than ever and the last thing they want is to get stifled by inefficient scheduling processes.

Facilitating the appointments for your patients will lower the “friction” of having to visit your office. This will lead to speedier scheduling, fewer complaints, efficient processes, and more retained patients. And a great way to streamline your appointment is to use online medical scheduling software.

Online scheduling offers unmatched advantages when it comes to increasing patient convenience. It saves you the time of having to follow up with people for additional appointments and reduces the burden of the administrative tasks for your staff.

Plus, because such software works 24/7, it allows patients to make appointments outside business hours. Not only that, but it offers your patient complete freedom of their possible slots. They can change or cancel their booking at their own accord and without having to pick up the phone each time.

If your clinic is not using online booking appointments, it’s time to integrate such a tool within your medical business. It will gain your practice a competitive advantage and increase patient preference towards your brand.

2) Use Patient Journey Mapping to enhance the patient experience.

Another great way to enhance the internal processes of your medical clinic is to implement Patient Journey Maps (PJM). A Patient Journey Map (also known as a customer journey map) is a visual map that outlines a series of events the patient goes through from her/his first interaction with your clinic until after-treatment.

Each contact point your patients have with your clinic is considered part of their journey. The goal of this strategy is to optimize, track and enhance these touchpoints to overhaul the patient experience.

PJMs allows you to “reverse engineer” the whole patient experience and uncover hidden issues that are hindering your clinic’s growth. By doubling down on each step of the patient journey, you’ll have a zoomed-in picture of what’s happening during each event. This simple yet potent strategy is the cause of 54% greater ROI and exceptional growth for thousands of businesses year after year.

But one advantage this strategy offers that can’t be found elsewhere is the ability to personalize each step of the experience the way you want it.

Because the PJM focuses on optimizing each part of the patient journey, you can easily sketch the perfect patient experience and tailor it to your ideal patient. This is a huge opportunity for you to increase your patient retention rate and increase their engagement.

3) Integrate an Email Marketing Funnel

Based on recent research by the DMA organization, email marketing scores an ROI of $41 for every $1 spent. That’s roughly 4000% return on investment. Which makes it a strong marketing channel to acquire new patients regularly. And one of the best email marketing strategies is sales funnels.

A sales funnel is a marketing model that tracks each step of the patient’s journey up until they purchase your services. This model aims to engage, provide value, and incentivize potential patients to buy from you. But unlike patient journey maps, the sales funnel tracks, would-be patients, before they decide to purchase your services.

It’s divided into 4 main stages:

  1. Awareness Stage
    • When a would-be patient first knows about your clinic
  2. Interest Stage
    • When potential patients are interested in your content (e,g: emails, blog articles, or videos)
  3. Evaluation Stage
    • When would-be patients are evaluating their choices
  4. Purchase Stage
    • When prospects become patients after booking an appointment with you.

Now we understand sales funnels, let’s see how it is utilized to drive patients to your clinic.

Using an email sales funnel to generate steady patient flow

This strategy aims to use email automation to send pre-made sequences of emails to your subscribers. These emails are packed with health-related content that helps your subscriber overcome certain health issues. The goal here is manifold:

  • To establish credibility and trust between you and the email subscriber
  • To provide huge value to your subscribers so they will be more inclined to choose your clinic in the future
  • To engage with your subscribers and start building relationships and;
  • To upsell your subscribers on your bigger offer (one-on-one care appointment)

Each email in this automated email sequence will provide value to your would-be patient. At the end of this sequence, they will receive an offer from you to book an appointment. At this point, you’ve helped them with their health issues through your content and now they’ll be more receptive to purchase your services.

The following illustration is an example of how email subscribers convert to loyal-patient:

The great thing about this strategy is it’s an automated process. It works 24/7 and generates patients for your clinic on autopilot.

4) Building a Strong Brand Name for your clinic

With the skyrocketing increase of care services and the surge of DIY healthcare brands, providers are experiencing an unprecedented competitive environment. This flood of brands has made a big impact when it comes to the patient decision process. Now the patient choice has expanded and people are pickier than ever. This leaves medical business owners fist-fighting for the patient’s attention by cutting prices and brawling for patient volume.

But what if you could side-step all of this? What if you could render the competition irrelevant and break through the noise?

This is exactly what brand building is all about.

Building a strong medical brand is about providing patients with razor-sharp clarity on why they should choose your brand over the others. It’s about finding a unique aspect of running your clinic and highlighting that as your differentiator . A differentiator that no other brand can claim and it’s valuable to your patient base.

For example, maybe you prioritize patient safety and invest in extra precautions and cleanliness of your office. You can build your brand about safety and how you’re brand is the only medical clinic that offers the safest care. This positioning will resonate with safety-minded people and your brand will turn into a risk-free choice. Or maybe you want to claim the most convenient medical clinic by providing same-day care and a no-appointment policy.

Whatever your unique differentiator is, make sure it’s not overly used and is valuable to your patient. This way you don’t have to compete because you provide value for your patients that others can’t fulfill.

5) Implement an SEO Strategy

With 83% of internet users searching online for health-related information before visiting a care facility, it’s a huge opportunity for you to establish a strong digital presence. Helping people through online content and providing them with useful information will rank your site high on Google search and create traction towards your brand. And a great strategy to achieve this is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO is a strategy that aims at ranking your clinic’s website high in the search result by creating useful blog articles, informational videos, and valuable content. By ranking on the first page for patients queries, you’ll passively gain website visitors that you can then convert into patients.

One of the best examples of medical businesses using this strategy is Orthodontics Limited. They help people with orthodontic-related issues solve these problems and have a better dental appearance through their blog. And as a result, they rank for popular searches like “Causes of bad breath” and “how to use rubber bands for braces”. This alone gained them huge amounts of traffic each month.

That’s about 112,000+ monthly website visitors and potential patients.

6) Leverage Google Adwords

Online advertising gets a lot of criticism for being intrusive, annoying, and hinders the digital experience. But what if your ads appear only when people need them the most? What if you can pop up in front of your patient the moment they search or look for clinical expertise? This is exactly what Google Adwords is for. It’s an online advertising platform that allows advertisers to bid on their website to appear on the first search result when someone searches for a particular query.

For example, if you’re a dental clinic in New York, and someone searches “Dentist near NYC”, your website’s booking page along with office direction will appear on the first page:

And when someone clicks on your ad, you get charged a certain amount of dollars for that click depending on how valuable the keyword is. You pay per click.

Unlike SEO, Google Adwords is a much faster avenue for patient acquisition and comparatively cheaper than traditional TV/Print advertising.

7) Attract your ideal patients with Social Media Ads

Unlike Google Adwords, where patients find you in Google search, Social Media ads let you find patients. Social ads allow you to target your ideal patient, within the ideal geographic and with the ideal profile information. Ad platforms like Facebook ads offer a highly targeted audience that you can promote your services to. It’s like cherry-picking who you want to work with and inviting them to your medical office. Like Google Adwords, this method is also cost-effective and result-driven.

And the great thing about social ads is their ease of use. For example, you can create a normal Facebook post and then promote it through the Facebook Ads Platform. Your post can be a video or a link to your website booking page where patients can book appointments with you.

8) Host educational patient webinars

With the current situation of Covid, hosting a physical event might not be a viable option for many businesses. However, there’s a much flexible and safer option: Webinars.

Webinars are virtually-held seminars that aim to provide value through educating the attendees on certain subjects or problems. The end-goal of this strategy is threefold:

  • To trigger action from the audience to purchase your care services.
  • To inform people about their health issues and how they can solve them
  • To build credibility and authority for your medical clinic

The great thing about webinars is that they can be conducted from the leisure of your home or office. And the cost of hosting them is cheap compared to live seminars. It’s a great way to educate people on their health and start driving patients to your doorsteps.

9) Increase your referrals using this podcast strategy

With the booming of podcasts in the last 5 years, one out of every five adults in the USA is listening to podcasts regularly, according to Pew Research Center.

This huge boost in popularity made podcasting one of the best marketing channels to reach audiences from a variety of genres. Not only that, but it’s by far the easiest medium to consume. You can listen to an episode while jogging, washing the dishes, or on your way to work. This consumable trait shapes a huge opportunity for businesses to reach their audience with relative ease.

But podcasting is especially suitable for medical brands and here’s why:

  • It doesn’t require too much time to produce and publish compared to other means of promoting your brand
  • Podcasting offers your potential patients a feel for the brand through audible content
  • It’s cost-effective and cheap to host
  • Podcasting is easier for patients to consume and interact with your brand.

10) Cross-promotion strategy

A rising tide lifts all boats. And the same is true in partnerships. Cross-promotion strategy is about partnering with non-competing medical brands to better serve the same patient. Let’s say that you’re a cosmetic dental clinic and your partner is a plastic surgeon, you can both partner up to serve the image-aware people and enhance their health appearance.

Here are some of the tactics involves in this strategy:

  1. Using recommendation letters
    • Here each participant sends a letter that recommends the other participant services and how the patients can benefit from the services of the other provider.
  2. Email Cross Promotion
    • Here is where the partners send email blasts to their subscribers promoting the other partner’s service and thus reaching different audiences.
  3. Launching a mutual-purpose campaign
    • A mutual purpose campaign (AKA, cause marketing) is a marketing campaign where both parties unite to launch a campaign that highlights what the two partners share in common. Maybe you and your partner are committed to reducing health risks in your community? Or perhaps you both want to raise awareness of certain diseases? If so, a campaign that promotes both parties while shedding light on what you have in common can expose your clinic to the other’s audience.
  4. Referral partnerships
    • This tactic aims to leverage your patient base and refer them to other medical doctors in exchange for a referral back to your clinic. It might take time to establish the right partner for this but once you settle down on 2 to 6 partners, it’ll form a steady patient flow for your clinic.

The “secret” to a guaranteed growth for your medical clinic

Growing your medical clinic is a process that takes time and a lot of planning . But the common mistake most medical business owners fall into is to focus on marketing solely and disregard the internal dynamic of the practice. Scaling up your clinic requires a streamlined process, retaining more patients and spotting the hard-to-pinpoint issues. So before you spend all your budget on advertising, make sure that you automated the manual tasks, reduced the unnecessary procedures, and speed up your operations.