Seven Things You Can Do This Week To Bring Patients Into Your Practice on NPBusiness.ORG

Seven Things You Can Do This Week To Bring Patients Into Your Practice

Starting a practice is one thing; attracting a steady flow of patients so you can keep your doors open, is another.

From time to time, we come across posts from NPs who just started their practice. One of their biggest challenges is attracting enough patients so they can stay in practice.

But in all fairness, bringing in a steady flow of patients can be a common issue for new and established practices alike. It’s also the one thing that can make or break the success of a practice.

While NPs may feel they’ve done everything they were told to, nothing seems to work. They’ve invested time and money on:

But they yet have to see the return on their investment, a steady flow of patients coming through their doors.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you have to do something to bring in patients, and you have to do it now, what can you do?

But before we get to that, here are a few things you want to keep in mind.

While most of us may not want to hear it, the truth is marketing is ongoing and not a one-touch event. All of us are bombarded, flooded with constant marketing messages. And that’s one of the reasons it takes multiple “touches” to get your message heard.  Marketing experts tell us it takes seven touches or more before a message will be remembered.

The moral of the story… don’t give up too soon. Keep your message in front of potential patients. And while you must repeat your message, you don’t want to use the same one, word for word. Change up the words while keeping the core of your message consistent.

Who Is It?

And here’s one more thing to keep in mind. Get clear, really clear on who it is you want to reach with your message. Who is your ideal customer? This may well be the most critical part.

Get your message in front of the right people, and chances are you’ll get patients.  But when you put your message in front of the wrong folks, the chances of getting clients into your practice are next to none.

Let me illustrate this point with an example…

Let’s say you’re ready to buy a  new car. You’ve researched different models online, visited a few dealerships, and narrowed down your choices. But now, every time you go back online to look at your final choice of car,  a popup opens,  advertising a scooter.

A scooter? You are not interested; actually, you’re annoyed. It’s the wrong product, put in front of the wrong customer, at the wrong time. There’s no chance you will purchase a scooter, or even look at one at this time.

While it may not be the best example, it should give you an idea of what you do not want to do – put your message in front of the wrong people.

The Seven Things…

Now let’s talk about the seven things you can do to get more patients into your practice, asap!

#1

Visit other practices in your area and let them know you’re open for business. Talk to the front desk staff, and if possible, talk to the providers. Explain how your service complements theirs’ and how you could help their patients. Ask if you may leave your cards and brochures, along with the necessary display holders. Of course, this strategy works for non-competing practices only and is not appropriate for direct competitors. So, if you specialize in weight loss, you could visit a primary care office and let them know about your service; but you wouldn’t visit another weight loss clinic. At the same time, there are “competing” offices that no longer accept new patients and welcome the opportunity to refer to other offices.

#2

Contact businesses close to your office. Take them your practice information and let them know about the services you offer. You may entice people to give your office a try by providing health screenings, a special clinic, or give an educational talk to their employees. Give both employer and employee a reason to work with your office.

#3

Create an interesting flyer featuring your new practice. Write a compelling story about what you bring to the table and why someone might want to work with you. Utilize the flyer to announce your open house, a health screening event, or a special clinic. Encourage people to engage with your marketing and include a phone number or email address so they can respond with attendance. Lastly, distribute your flyers throughout the neighborhood, including grocery and other stores. Put up your flyers onto community bulletin boards where available.

#4

If feasible, join a local networking group and start going to meetings. If you can afford the fees, you could start going to a meeting within a few days and possibly schedule new patients. You could join your local Chamber of Commerce or an organization like BNI (Business Network International).

#5

Get noticed… if you have no signs, get some. While you may not have signage on the side of the building, what’s to stop you from putting a sandwich board outside your office? And don’t forget to attach a few balloons for extra attention. Alternatively, if you’re up on the third floor and can’t utilize a sandwich board, look into getting some signs for your windows. And of course, you can always turn your car into a mobile advertisement.

#6

Create videos featuring your practice, the services you offer and mix it up with other, pure educational content. Put the videos on your website, publish them to social media, and your YouTube channel. And don’t stop creating and publishing videos; over time, they will get traction and you will get noticed!

#7

Take a close look at your competitors. What services do they provide, and how do they offer them? Next, determine what makes you different from your competition? What sets you apart?

 

Look at your own experience. Ask yourself why you choose to see provider A over provider B? Ask your friends and family the same question. Use the insights gained in your marketing. Set yourself apart from other providers and give people a reason to come work with you over the clinic down the street!

Look at your own experience. Ask yourself why you choose to see provider A over provider B? Ask your friends and family the same question. Use the insights gained in your marketing. Set yourself apart from other providers and give people a reason to come work with you over the clinic down the street!

Focus!

Let me suggest you don’t do everything at once. Pick the one or two marketing activities you’re comfortable with, can implement quickly, and have the budget for.

Stick with it until you get traction. If you don’t see results, return to the drawing board, and choose a different method. After all, not every marketing activity will work the same in every situation.

And there’s no need to lower your fees to get more clients. Sure, you want to stay within a reasonable price range for your market, but don’t let your services be commoditized. Once viewed as a commodity, it can be tough to change that perception.

The value you bring to the table is in our expertise, your personality, and how you approach working with people. Don’t allow your unique service offering to be turned into a commodity chosen based on price alone.

In Summary…

When is the best time to start anything? That’s right, yesterday… It applies to marketing as much as it does to anything else.

Ideally, you would have started marketing your practice well in advance of opening your doors. But if you didn’t, or your marketing efforts didn’t pan out, don’t allow yourself to get discouraged.

Look for your ideal customers where they “hang out.” Identify the places where you’re most likely will find them.

Once you find them, let them know about your practice and your services.  Start to market your practice as soon as you can. Stick with it until you get traction, and don’t give up until you see results.

 

What do you do to bring new patients into your practice? Join the conversation and let us know… leave your comment below.

 

By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.

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