February 29, 2016
Not a single day goes by that I don’t receive an e-mail or a pop up ad or some direct solicitation about how to find more new patients. Webinars abound on this singular topic. Everyone thinks that he or she has the right answer–the magic bullet–that is going to get your telephone ringing off the hook.
• Postcard campaigns mailed to 10,000 of your nearest and dearest friends in your neighborhood.
• Radio ads for sleep apnea.
• Master social media – in one hour, of course.
• Learn to be a public speaker and go out and give seminars in your community.
• In bound marketing campaigns from your website.
The list is endless. The choices are considerable. We all want more new patients. This is ultimately driven by the recognition that the lifetime value of a patient is VERY significant–easily thousands and thousands of dollars. It is not the point of this post to evaluate the relative merits of these initiatives. If well executed, they might prove to be successful. But I think we can all agree that acting on these ideas requires a substantial investment of time and money with no guarantees on the return. How about trying something much easier and much more predictable?
With the experience afforded to me over the past 20+ years of management coaching to hundreds of practices, I routinely see an amazing statistic: 25 to 35% of patients who have been seen in the last 18 months do not have a scheduled continuing care appointment. In other words, there exists a fairly large practice within your practice with whom you’ve lost contact. These patients have not sent you a letter asking for their records to be sent to another office. They have simply fallen off the wagon.
Please read this article that I published many years ago that gives specific details on how to conduct a reactivation campaign. The financial rewards of reconnecting with patients with whom you already have an existing relationship will usually far outweigh the costs and energy required to market your practice to attract someone new. As my friend Spencer Peller of Yestrak recently wrote, “we encourage business owners to maximize existing relationships first before looking to create new ones. It’s not that we don’t like marketing that attracts new customers – quite to the contrary, we LOVE marketing. However, spending money on costly advertisements before making sure the existing base is happy (and referring others) is a mistake most business owners cannot afford to make.”
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