The Link Between Patient Retention and Email Marketing
By Katie Armatoski, Au.D
I’m going to start off by stating a very obvious truth, so please bear with me: practice owners are insanely busy. I talk to them every single day and they’re always telling me how they’re being pulled in so many different directions and there never seems to be enough time. If you are a practice owner yourself, then you already know first-hand what I’m talking about.
And, no matter how much you optimize your time and your schedule, it just never seems like you can make enough space to do the one thing that matters most: obtain a steady stream of new patients. You and I both know that in order for a practice to be successful, there needs to be a steady churn of new patients coming in the door. That’s simple business economics.
Here’s something interesting – and alarming: the average medical practice consistently loses 10 to 30% of their patients every year. (Source: The Hearing Journal). But if you’re already feeling the too-many-tasks-not-enough-time pinch, how can you possibly grow? How can you possibly gain back the 30% you lost, plus whatever else you need to keep your business afloat?
The answer is actually pretty simple: we need to focus on retention marketing so that we don’t lose our patients in the first place.
What is Retention Marketing?
When it comes to marketing, we’re mostly thinking about how we can reach new potential patients. We spend most of our budget and time on brand awareness, getting our name out there in front of new people who could potentially become patients. This is important, of course, but you might be neglecting the people who have already said “yes” to you
Increasing your patient retention rate by just 5% can increase your profits by up to 25 – 95% according to a 2020 article from Practice Builders. That might seem like a crazy number, but think about it this way: your established patients and not just patients. They’re also brand ambassadors who are talking about you to their friends, family, coworkers, etc.
If you can make this group of people happy, you won’t need to spend so much time and money marketing to new people to fill their spot. So, let’s talk about one super easy way to do that.
Sending Notes, Emails, and Newsletters
One of the best ways to care for your patients when they’re not in the room with you is by proactively reaching out. If you’re more of the “old school” type, a handwritten note on their birthday can really go a long way! A lot of audiologists are going the text message route, and I think that’s a little impersonal. Handwritten is so much better if you can manage it!
Another non-automated option is a mailed newsletter. You can put together something quarterly that gets sent directly to their house with some helpful information, a reminder to call for an appointment, and maybe even a recent testimonial to establish a little bit of social proof.
Or, if you’d rather go the automated route, email newsletters are super easy to put together and send. You can create a simple email newsletter using a program like MailChimp or Constant Contact. I personally use ConvertKit and I really like it. These programs are fairly intuitive so even if you’re not a “techy” person, you can still make something that looks polished and professional without spending a ton of time on it.
Here’s a sample of what one of my email newsletters looks like:
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Really, your goal is to stay front of mind by showing up regularly with helpful information, reminders, and inspiration. Speak from your heart to their heart, and let them know that you are always in their corner.
Ultimately, our patients don’t want to feel like they’ve been forgotten or lost in the shuffle. They don’t want to feel like you only care about them when they book appointments with you. It may seem simple, but creating patient-focused content on a regular basis is a great way to keep your existing patients happy… and that, in turn, will make you happy!
If you have questions about email marketing or you need help getting started, just let me know! I am here for you and I want to see you succeed for the long term!