Do you need to get new clients to grow your business?
Every business needs to grow just to maintain their size. The reason is that every business has a natural attrition of clients every year.
Some of your patients will move, lose their job, or improve their health so they no longer need your services. In fact, according to a recent study by Kolsky, up to 50% of clients will turnover every 5 years.
In other words, every 5 years, you will lose about 50% of your existing patients.
If your business is not growing, it’s shrinking every year.
So, how do you grow your business with new clients?
You may have tried traditional advertising, such as radio, billboards, Canada Post direct mail, sponsoring events, or even on City of Edmonton buses. You may have also tried online marketing tactics, such as social media, search engine optimization (SEO), Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
Did you get mixed results? Were the results less than you were hoping for?
You’re not alone.
Many business owners waste their marketing budgets on various tactics with mixed results. Sometimes they get good results, other times they don’t. Eventually, they may find the right combination of tactics that gets them results.
This is called the “trial-and-error” strategy.
It works, but it’s time consuming and expensive. You have to keep trying every possible tactic until you find one or two that gets results.
Every business is unique, and your health and wellness practice is also unique.
There’s a reason that your specific group of patients chose your specific practice. It’s the combination of you, your practitioners, your treatment efficacy, patient-centred care, quality of service, their perceived value for your services, your location to their home and work, etc.
Learning about your clients helps you discover who they are, how they found you, what attracted them to your practice, and how to find more clients like them. One of the best ways of learning about your patients is through a patient survey.
Your patients go through a journey before they come into your health and wellness clinic for their first appointment. You can map out this journey during every point of contact. This is called a “patient journey map”.
Patients move through this map by being filtered down into a funnel. This is often called a sales and marketing funnel.
Patient journey mapping is a valuable tool to help you research the stages that your patients take before deciding to visit your practice. This allows you to understand the lifecycle of your patient, which is every point of contact between your patient and your practice.
We wrote this article to help you learn the five stages in your patient’s journey, including:
- Awareness: your potential new patients have become aware that you exist
- Interest: they are interested in learning more about your products and services
- Desire: they express desire in buying your products and services
- Action: they take action to book an appointment with your clinic
- Retention: they decide to return for additional treatments
Let’s get started!
Stage 01 + Awareness
The first stage in your patient’s journey is called awareness. In other words, your potential new client has become aware that you and your practice exist. They may be actively looking for a new health and wellness provider. Or, they may have found your practice by accident.
Either way, they’re now aware that you exist.
They may have become aware of your practice because of a client referral. They may have been searching for a new health and wellness provider on Google and found your website. They may have seen your social media post on their friend’s page. Or, they may have seen your flyer in the mail.
That’s just stage one.
If you spent your entire marketing budget on Canada Post direct mail flyers and didn’t get any new clients, it’s because that’s just stage one in your patient’s journey.
Not every person in your marketplace will become aware that you exist. At least not in one year, unless you have a huge marketing budget.
So, how many people in your market can become aware that you exist?
But first, how big is your market?
Your market is all of the people that could be potential patients for your practice. Most people will only travel a certain distance to get to your clinic. The people within a specific radius are your market. The size of this radius depends on you, your practice, your competitors nearby, your quality of treatments, service, etc.
For example, let’s say that your health and wellness practice is located in a neighbourhood in Edmonton with 50,000 people. That means that a certain percentage of these people become aware that you exist, based on the quality of your marketing strategy.
Let’s say that your marketing strategy was able to capture the awareness of 20% of your market in one year, a total of 10,000 potential new clients.
Stage 02 + Interest
Now that you got the attention of 10,000 people, what’s next?
Ideally, this potential new client has some level of interest in the services that you offer, either today or in the near future. If they do, they’ll spend time exploring your website and learning about you and your practice through your blog articles or eBooks.
According to research company, BIA/Kelsey, 97% of people use online media, such as websites, when researching new products and services in their local area.
But, not every person who becomes aware that you exist is interested in your services. People are interested in your health products and services if it can help them solve an existing health problem. Or if someone they know can benefit from your services.
If people are interested in your services, they’ll spend time learning about them. According to Forbes, clients want to learn and be informed before making a buying decision.
But, the amount of people that actually spend time learning about your services depends on the quality of the information received. Also, how the information is presented and designed determines whether your potential new clients will spend time exploring your website to learn about your services.
According to the research agency, Nielsen Norman Group, on average, people will evaluate your website in less than 10 seconds. In other words, you have 10 seconds to capture their attention and encourage them to explore the rest of your website.
If your potential clients have any difficulties in finding your website online, or if your blog article, eBook, and social media posts aren’t engaging, they will click to go back on their browser, which hurts your search engine rankings in Google.
Similarly, if your Canada Post flyer doesn’t capture their interest, people will throw it away instantly. People are ruthless with their direct mail flyers, so it has to be especially unique to capture their interest.
Let’s say that your marketing is well made and you can capture the interest of 50% of your potential new clients, a total of 5,000 people.
Now that you’ve captured their interest, what’s next?
Stage 03 + Desire
We now have 5,000 people who have some level of interest in your practice.
They have found your practice through a referral, found your website through a search engine, or seen your social media post or direct mail flyer. These marketing tools were also engaging, so they captured the interest of 5,000 people.
Some of these people may start to feel a sense of desire to purchase your products and services. They may feel like your practice is the right fit to help them solve their health and wellness problem.
They display this desire by following you on social media, subscribing to your newsletters, researching your reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or RateMDs, or even by emailing your clinic to ask questions. They’re displaying actions that indicate a desire to purchase your products and services.
As more people go online to interact with their banks and make purchases, they want to do this with their doctors, health plans, and condition and disease management as well.
Laura Clapper, MD, OneRecovery, 2012
Not everyone that expresses interest in your practice will have a desire to purchase your products and services. At least not today. They might in the future, if they have a health and wellness problem that they need help solving. That’s why they follow you on social media or subscribe to your newsletters. They want to stay in touch, for later.
Let’s say that your marketing message was very compelling and 20% of people moved through the funnel to the next stage: Desire. There are now 1,000 people that have a desire to purchase your products and services.
Unfortunately, they don’t all follow through on booking an appointment.
The first three stages of your patient’s journey are part of your marketing strategy. The final stage is part of your sales strategy. Yes, you have to sell your products and services.
Stage 04 + Action
As your potential patients move from the top of the funnel to the bottom, your marketing strategy helps move them through the stages until they’re ready to call your clinic. Your sales strategy helps to establish and nurture a relationship so that your potential new clients feel comfortable in booking an appointment.
Not every potential new client that calls your clinic has decided to book an appointment.
Sometimes they call to ask questions, learn about your health practitioners, your services offered, your hours, insurance coverage, etc. They may be calling a few other clinics on the same day, asking the same questions.
If your front desk team are not well trained in receiving these calls, your potential clients may not book an appointment. The most common reason you’ll hear is, “I’ll call you back.” Sometimes they do, other times they don’t. If they don’t, it’s likely because they booked an appointment with another clinic.
Your clinic may have similar or better services, or similar or better reviews, etc. Then why did that person book an appointment at another clinic nearby instead of your practice?
In Alberta, up to 50% of new patient bookings are lost at the front desk.
Ultimately, people will book an appointment at the clinic that has a front desk employee that is the most skilled in sales and communication.
Every business sells a product and/or service. It’s how the business is monetized and generates revenue. Your health and wellness practice also sells products and/or services.
However, if the person who is selling them makes your patients feel uncomfortable, or they don’t fully understand their value, they will call another clinic.
Your front desk team are your sales team. They need to be well trained in listening with empathy, have the emotional intelligence to understand your clients’ needs, and confidently articulate your value proposition.
In our example, let’s say that 50% of your potential patients call and book an appointment, resulting in a total of 500 new patients in one year.
These numbers are used to illustrate a point. Your practice has a very specific set of numbers, based on the unique value of you and your team. By creating this patient journey map, you can identify any gaps in your patient’s journey and know where to focus your time and resources.
Every new patient will move through this journey or map before booking an appointment with you. Sometimes this journey takes several weeks or months, other times it takes several minutes or hours.
Some business owners waste their budgets in one stage of the map, not realizing that the biggest gap is in another stage.
For example, many business owners try to get more clients by simply spending more money in advertising. Regardless of how much you spend in advertising, if your front desk team is unable to turn a phone call into a new client, it’s a waste of your resources.
This is the end of your patient’s journey before they book their first appointment. Once they come in for their first visit, they have to be convinced to come back again. This is an ongoing stage in their journey called retention.
Stage 05 + Retention
Some new clients will come in for an appointment once and you’ll never see them again. Other new clients will come in again and again.
This difference is based on you, your practitioners, your treatment efficacy, patient-centred care, quality of service, perceived value, etc.
The more that you can improve on these metrics, the higher your client retention will be, which increases your business profits long-term.
A 5% increase in client retention results in a 25% increase in profit.
Bain & Company, 2001
Your clients will not come back if your practitioners are not trained in sales and communication and struggle to articulate your value proposition. They may also not return if your front desk team don’t provide an exceptional client experience with excellent customer service.
Most of your clients won’t feel comfortable enough to express a concern or complain about an experience. They’ll just stop booking appointments. In fact, only 1 out of every 26 unhappy clients complain; the rest just leave (Kolsky, 2017).
If your health and wellness practitioners understand their patients’ needs, educate them when diagnosing their problem and presenting their treatment solution, and provide options on their treatment plan, then you’ll see an increase in case acceptance.
If your front desk team provides an exceptional patient experience and your office manager ensures that all appointments are on schedule, then your patient will be impressed with their experience at your practice. They’ll come back for additional services and refer their friends and family to your practice.
They’ll also become loyal advocates of your practice, writing positive reviews and testimonials about your practice.
88% of people surveyed said that they were influenced by an online client review when making a buying decision.
Dimensional Research, 2013
Your new patients go through a journey before they book their first appointment with you. First, they become aware that your practice exists. Then, they express interest and desire to purchase your products and services. Finally, they take action by booking an appointment.
If they have an exceptional patient experience, they’ll book another appointment.
Many business owners waste their marketing budgets by focusing on the wrong area of their patient journey map. They might spend a lot of money on advertising, only to learn that their front desk team lack the skills to successfully turn a phone call into a new appointment.
Many business owners also waste their entire year’s budget for people to become aware that their practice exists through expensive traditional advertising campaigns. Then, they see that their marketing budget produced very few new clients.
By mapping out your patients’ journey and calculating how to effectively allocate your resources, you can make the most out of your marketing budget to increase your return on investment. This will help you grow your business with new clients each and every year.
How we can help
Some of our clients approach us with a specific problem and they want a specific solution. For example, they have an old website and want to create a new, modern website.
Other times our clients approach us with an end-goal in mind, but they’re not sure of how to get there. The most common goal of health and wellness businesses in Edmonton is to grow their business with new clients.
Instead of starting our process by implementing new marketing tactics, we take a step back and look at our big picture strategy.
We help our clients create a patient journey map to identify gaps in their patient’s journey. This allows us to determine the most efficient use of our clients’ time and budget. Then, we can implement marketing tactics based on insightful data.
First, we start with research, which helps us analyze our clients’ problem.