With all of the consolidation in the healthcare arena, many healthcare marketers are faced with a common dilemma: a new group of physicians that need help building their practices. To be effective, healthcare marketing campaigns should include elements that build awareness, generate qualified leads and nurture those leads along the path towards becoming a patient.
Generating leads is where the rubber hits the road, and requires an effective direct response effort. Here are five key steps for building a direct response campaign to grow patient volumes.
1. Create a patient profile.
For practices looking to grow: You’ll want to profile your existing patient population to identify who to target in terms of demographics and geography. For example, do your existing patients fall primarily within the 60-70 age range? Then don’t waste your dollars reaching out to 40 and 50 year olds. Where are the majority of your patients located currently? These are the best zip codes to target.
Next, if your direct marketing list source includes predictive modeling, use it to reach prospects that have the highest propensity for future conditions that would require the type of care you’re offering. For example, if you’re promoting a vascular surgeon group, target prospects that have seen a cardiologist but have not had surgery yet.
2. Determine the call to action.
With the right targeting in place, your outreach should drive opportunities for prospects to engage with your physicians. Physician-led health talks in the evening are a highly successful way to draw people in, engage face to face and invite people to make an appointment. Webinars are a more cost-effective, though less personal, way to present expertise on a health matter of interest to your target. And free or low-cost screenings are another great way to bring prospects to you and provide them with valuable information that they can act on, such as by making a follow-up appointment if they’re at risk.
3. Build a landing page.
This can be a page within your website or a standalone page that links to your website. Your landing page should engage prospects by providing them with information about your providers and offer an easy way to sign up for your offer (seminar, webinar, screening, etc.) high on the page. As part of the registration process, be sure to include event locations and maps, and gather email addresses to maximize your nurture efforts. Consider offering a contest to engage potential patients who may not need care right now, but may in the future.
Tip: Include a creative video to drive to your seminar, screening or contest. Video is widely shown to increase conversion rates! Read how you can create a standout marketing video in under 3 hours.
4. Deploy tactics to drive to the landing page.
Direct mail is the most often cited source for “how did you hear” surveys among health talk attendees. Other supporting tactics may include local print (if your target audience fits the newspaper readership demo), email, banner ads, Facebook advertising and flyers.
5. Measure the results.
Quantify the value of your marketing efforts by looking at downstream revenue tied to your campaign. And be patient. For many types of procedures, it may take up to 12 months for someone who attended a health talk to have surgery. For some specialties, like bariatrics, it may take up to 24 months. To get the most intelligence, look at number of households, the conversation rate from talk attendee to patient, and contribution margins by new and existing patients.