Profit-Driven Patient Acquisition
Guest Article by Symposium Presenter Jason Tuschman, Red Spot Interactive
The number one problem that aesthetic practices face in growing their profits is that they are only focused on their marketing. However, in order to drive the highest revenue possible for your medical practice, you must understand, monitor, and optimize your entire patient acquisition process on a daily basis. Focusing solely on marketing will result in financial opportunity cost for your practice.
Understand the Patient Acquisition Process
The success of your practice is dependent upon the return on investment (ROI) you receive from your patient acquisition process. The following factors contribute to the process (new patient from marketing analysis only):
1. Return on Investment (ROI) – The amount of money the practice receives from their revenue after expenses are paid out and matched against the expense (and time) spent to acquire the patients. ROI goals should be considered relevant to your practice age; as a younger practice, your results will be lower compared to when you mature, driving results higher!
2. Marketing Generated Leads – The only way to measure marketing performance is based on the number of consumers who provide you a first name, last name, phone number, email address, and procedure of interest. Your marketing must deliver leads. Understand your visitor to lead rate per marketing channel to monitor performance and the results of optimization to the ad or targeting.
3. Lead Management & Scheduling – The leads generated from marketing must be managed in a way that they convert from scheduled appointments to attended appointments. This process starts from the inception of a phone call or web form submission through to calendar optimization. You need to understand all trigger points!
4. Acquisition & Retention – Acquisition is dependent upon the staff and doctor’s ability to take the attended appointments and convert them into patients (purchases). This should improve over time given maturity in the practice and increased referrals. Also, remember to create specific retention paths based on the type of patient coming in; invasive vs. non-invasive, upsell potential, and total spend with the practice. Patients should be bucketed in categories and those categories should have plans to create the best experience possible from scheduling to exiting the practice after a procedure.
Monitor the Patient Acquisition Process
Once you understand the integration and dependencies of the patient acquisition process, you have to make sure that you monitor this process on a daily, monthly, and annual basis. Daily and weekly can be done in minutes, monthly in office in an hour, quarterly off-site (½ day), and annually off-site for a day. Involve your team in all of these meetings to create improved understanding, performance, and overall buy into the practice. The key data points to monitor for the process are:
1. Leads Generated from Marketing – How well is my facial plastic surgery marketing performing? The only way to understand this is to measure your overall exposure (impressions, visits, drive by’s, listeners) to actual leads delivered (how many people provided the practice a first name, last name, phone number, and stated a procedure of interest). Leads divided by exposure is your visitor to lead rate. For a facial plastic surgery website that has proper search engine optimization and design, new patient leads should be 5% or greater. However at the end of the day get your baseline and work to improve from there.
2. Leads Scheduled from Your Lead Management Process – How well is my staff performing, and have I provided them with the tools to be successful? Review your lead to schedule rate. As a baseline, the combination of both phone and email leads in a typical practice should be around 45% for new patients. This number will change depending upon the amount of invasive vs. non-invasive procedures you market for along with phone calls vs. emails in your mix of leads. Typically phone calls should be scheduling at a 70% rate and emails around 30%. You also want to focus on phone abandonment rate and email response time to make sure you are not lowering your lead generation or schedule rate. If you are missing more than 5% of your phone calls daily or not responding to your emails in minutes (and multiple times) with follow up phone calls the first and second day, you are leaving money on the table!
3. Scheduled Appointments Attended from Your Scheduling Process – Is my consultation calendar optimized along with my requirements for a consultation? If you do not use a cancellation or consult fee in your process you should be around a 70% attendance rate. As well you should be able to schedule appointments within 10 business days of the lead date. Once you go beyond 10 business days from the lead date due to schedule capacity you need to look at adding hours to your availability or implementing a cancellation or consultation fee. Typically $50 will filter out most non-qualified leads opening up greater schedule capacity!
4. Purchases – Is my business and pricing model providing enough value to prospective patients that they are willing to buy my services or products? For invasive procedures, you should be at a 45% or greater overall appointment to purchase rate on new patient appointments. If this is not your conversion rate evaluate pricing and your consultation process to make sure you are not overpriced or providing the proper consult experience. Every consult should be provided an online survey so that you have a constant feedback loop on your practices performance.
5. Retention – Is the patient experience and business results driving patients back to my practice for additional services? Patient lifetime value is key to growing your practice as productively as possible. Patient retention is optimized when you have properly created the right experience for each category of patient and implemented an effective marketing plan to make sure you execute the right message at the right time to each lead and patient.
Optimize Your Patient Acquisition Process
When you monitor the above key performance indicators, you can objectively manage your patient acquisition process and optimize it to create the most value for your practice. The most important value is you will by default create the best patient engagement experience possible for your customers. Many aesthetic practices waste time on the front end—trying to alter their marketing strategy—but they do not always gain the additional income they are seeking. This is due to a breakdown in the patient acquisition process. One part of the process may work very well, but if one or more of the other segments does not, there is financial opportunity cost to your ROI and personal income.
Red Spot Interactive increases elective healthcare practice profits through its proprietary analytics software, patient acquisition and retention automation technology, and marketing services. RSI’s clients have generated more than $150 million in new patient fees and 200,000 patient consultations since 2011.