Patient Retention – 6 Ways to Keep Your Practice Top of Mind (Plus 4 Examples of Patient-Retention Marketing Pieces to Inspire You)
In today’s society, we are hit with a barrage of advertising at every turn. The same goes for your patients, even when it comes to their hearing health. Your competitors are targeting your patients with messaging and offers on a weekly, if not daily, basis. This emphasizes the importance of:
- Staying connected with your patients
- Continuing to educate them
- Continuing to provide value to them through different marketing mediums
- Continually setting yourself apart from your competitors
- Protecting your investment in your database
3 Important Audiences to Reach Out To:
Tested-Not-Treated Patients: Patients who are tested with a hearing loss but choose not to move forward are your tested-not-treated patients.
4+ Patients: These are patients who purchased hearing aids with you four (or more) years ago. Effective follow-up with these patients ensures they are protecting their investment in their current technology and that it still meets their lifestyle needs. It also provides them an opportunity to see the latest options available.
Warranty-Expiration Patients: These are patients who purchased hearing aids nearly three years ago and whose warranty is coming up for expiration in two months.
6 Patient-Retention Strategies You Can Implement Today in Your Practice
To be top of mind for your patients, we recommend connecting with your database six to eight times per year by providing them with offers, updates, and practice news. This is in addition to the less intrusive communications like monthly e-newsletters. Six to eight times a year may sound a little daunting, but you are likely doing many of these outreach tactics already.
1) Patient-Retention Letters & Outbound Calls
- Patient-Retention Letters (PRLs): These continue to be our most effective marketing tool when paired with a follow-up outbound call. The letters should be targeted toward your warranty expiration, 4+ technology, and tested-not-treated patients.
- Outbound Calls: When pairing your patient-retention letters with outbound calls, you can expect a significant increase in appointment conversion rates.
(Patient-Retention Letter Example)
Did you know? The best times to call are in the morning from 9:00 to 10:30am and in the afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00pm.
2) Print Newsletters
This is a tried-and-true way to engage your existing-patient database. Typical content and information that is used in newsletters are hearing-related news or industry trends, coupons, and office news.
Print Newsletter Tips:
- Call conversion is at its highest when the front office staff are prepared for incoming calls from the newsletter (knowing when it drops and being familiar with its content). Articles with tips and prevention topics tend to perform well.
- Coupons offering a “free clean and check” are very popular.
The monthly e-newsletter program is a digital point of contact that proves your value to patients through timely, educational, easy-to-read, hearing-related blogs supplemented with coupons. E-newsletters and e-blasts are a great way to target specific segments of your database with specific messages. For example, a special offer for new technology users can be targeted to your tested-not-treated patients, or you can target warranty-expiration reminders to your warranty-expiration patients.
Did you know? There’s a difference in strategy between an e-newsletter and an e-blast: An e-newsletter is focused on educational material and practice news; an e-blast is used to promote a greater sense of urgency by communicating events and special promotional deals that are time sensitive.
4) Community Appreciation Event
Your patients are the livelihood of your practice and should be treated that way! These events are a fun, personable, and engaging way to reinforce a genuine connection with your patients and their plus-ones. Events could range from an ice cream social in the summer to a tailgating party in the fall or giving out pies around the holidays. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to celebrate and give back to your patients and community. Invite your patients, their friends and family, and your community to attend an event at least once a year.
(Example Patient Appreciation Event Invite)
5) Greeting Cards
Sending your database a card for a special day — like birthdays, practice anniversaries, and non-traditional holidays like Valentine’s Day — is a simple strategy that provides you with returned appreciation tenfold. It helps build stronger relationships, keeps you top of mind, and differentiates you from the competition.
Greeting Card Tips:
- If you want to focus less on the traditional holidays, do something for other dates like St. Patrick’s Day or the Fourth of July.
- Be mindful of your patients’ religious affiliations.
- Remember to make sure you either seal your cards in envelopes or keep the text generic enough to avoid any indication the recipient is a patient, in order to stay HIPAA compliant.
- Everyone gets a birthday card, a holiday card, and an anniversary card celebrating when they purchased their technology.
6) Annual Exam/Clean & Check Notifications
Reminding your patients to keep their technology functioning at its best through complimentary clean-and-check reminders is a great way to prove to them that you a.) care about their hearing and b.) don’t see them as a dollar sign. Reminders for clean and checks should be sent every three to four months to help patients take the best care of their hearing aids.
Whether you are reaching out to your patients or not, we guarantee your competitors are. Be intentional with your database-outreach efforts, and generate a consistent source of opportunities, educate your staff, solidify your place in your patients’ lives, and enhance the overall patient experience for each person who comes into your office. Make a commitment to patients by giving them the clearest, most up-to-date information available to ensure your practice continues to create a patient for life.
If you have questions about patient-retention marketing, please reach out to one of our marketing specialists today.