If you are a direct-pay medical practice owner or manager, you know the challenges you face marketing the practice. One of the biggest questions we get is how to increase patients in a medical practice.

There are a number of things to consider when you take on the challenge of increasing your patient flow. Most Doctors want to know how to increase patients in the practice. What they really need to understand is the roadmap to increase patients in the practice.

Step 1: Being Ruthlessly Honest About Your Situation

Think of your practice as one of your patients. If a patient came into your practice and was complaining of aches, chills, intestinal issues, you would send me down a particular medical course of action. If a patient came into your practice, short of breath, arm hurting, chest pains and pale, you would take me down a much faster more drastic path of treatment.

Your business (the medical practice) is exactly the same. When a patient comes into the practice or emergency room, you want to know the vitals. Blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, medications they are taking, symptoms. Then you start developing a way to get the patient healthy.

In your business, you need to know the equivalent of patient vitals before you start making changes in your marketing. These vitals are things like:

The cost to acquire a patient
The lifetime value of a patient
Which advertising media generates the most call, appointments, face to face consults and procedures. (Hint: there is a big difference between all of these numbers in many practices.)
Average revenue per appointment
It is only then you can understand how to increase patients in a medical practice.
Step 2: Who Is The Who

You must be very clear on who is your best patient and who is your best prospect. There is a huge difference between the two.

For many practices, they live in a patient echo chamber. They have a bias toward their patient base. Let me explain.

Our firm has a client that sells a stem cell procedure that nationally trends 65% for men. However, in his practice, over 80% of the procedures have been performed on women. Noticing an opportunity, we changed the marketing to target more men. The result; an increase in phone calls, appointments, and conversions to a procedure. If we had focused the marketing to women, the results would not have been as good.

Step 3: The Media Choice To Increase Patients In A Medical Practice

In consultation after consultation, our firm is stunned by the lack of planning and execution of clear marketing strategies in medical practices. Hey, it’s not your fault. You are trained to a be doctor. If you are a practice manager, you probably are focused on staffing, schedules, protocols, and compliance. Marketing becomes an afterthought.

The biggest mistake we see is a random group of independent contractors marketing your practice. You have one person doing Facebook ads (if they work anymore for medical at all), another doing some SEO (most likely the wrong way), a front desk gal kind of sort of doing social media and a slew of advertising representatives pushing radio, tv or newspaper. This is what we call the Frankenstein marketing monster.

You want to develop a comprehensive plan for marketing that includes tracking the overall results of the marketing. Many want to debate what they think works. Some say Facebook, Twitter, Social, TV, Radio, Lunch n Learns, etc.

What is really important when it comes to how to increase patients in a medical practice is tracking. You must track the number of phone calls you get per source if they are converting to appointments if they buy and at how much. The list goes on and on.

Step 4: Get A Professional To Help You Build A Plan

Many of the firms who say they can help you bring in more patients are only one trick ponies. They don’t really build a plan and a brand for your practice. They come up with some ways that might bring in patients.

We build a plan for you that is customized, based on experience owning 3 clinics for 4 plus years and working with medical practices today. If you want to talk with us that is fantastic. If you find someone else, that is fantastic as well. Just get a plan, execute and get metrics in place to track the results.

The medical practice and direct-pay practice are going to face more and more competition in the coming months and years. You need to be ready.