“Without promotion something terrible happens… Nothing!” – P.T. Barnum
“What happens after the promotion?” – S. McKee
Only a small fraction of people who can benefit from the services of a physical therapist ever get to one. The same is probably true for your business. So, much is made of marketing and new patient acquisition.
Owners go to great lengths to spread the word about the great things they can do to hopefully attract more new patients. You may have enlisted consultants, tried advertising, posted to social media, and visit and solicit those who might refer to you. But did you know that your best and easiest source of new referrals may be right under your nose?
You may track where your new patients or customers come from, and hopefully how many come from each source. But do you consider how many ought to? Do you track how many leads, or people interested in your services, come via calls and online inquiries? Do you assess your business’s efficiencies around converting someone looking for a solution into a happy, engaged customer? And do you know the value of each new patient or customer to your business? Does your staff know?
Following are two processes for you to consider that might help you better track and manage the people already contacting your business and convert them into paying patients and customers.
Track your calls (and emails, online bookings, and anywhere else they’re coming from).
Tracking the total number of inbound leads can give you a basis to measure the strength and effectiveness of your marketing activities and any new initiatives. First, establish a baseline for your current incoming leads. and then track any changes as your marketing activities change. You can use a spreadsheet, shared document, or your electronic medical record (EMR), if this feature is offered. Tracking the leads generated can help you make better decisions around the efficacy of your current and future marketing strategy and activities.
For example, if you try a direct mailing to the neighborhood around your practice and see the same number of incoming leads before, during, and after the mailing, was it effective? Do you need to change the recipients, the message, the artwork, or scrap it all together? The same is true of social media marketing and web traffic, or anywhere else you market.
The desired result is more leads who you can then convert into more new customers.
Track your conversion rate.
Once you start tracking every incoming lead, all it takes to track your conversion rate is to divide your lead number into the total number of new customers. This gives you a percentage to understand how effective your intake and scheduling process (or sales process) is.
For example, if you received a total of 100 new patient inquiries in the month of July and saw 80 new patients, then your conversion rate is 80 percent. Expanding the time frame to 3 or more months will help smooth out any short-term variables impacting your availability and give you a more realistic baseline from which to work.
A conversion rate of 80 percent may be good for your business. But what if your conversion rate is 50 percent? Could this be an area to look into and establish a reliable and repeatable process?
In addition to working on your conversion process, you can also implement a process to follow up on the leads who did not convert. What happened to the 20 people who contacted your business and did not convert into paying customers? Did they receive services somewhere else, or not at all?
What opportunity is there for you to develop a repeatable and reliable process to follow up and help them? Will implementing this process help you find out why they chose not to use your services? And if so, can that help you to modify your conversion process and the conversations your team is having with those people contacting your practice? If you were able to better address their objections and concerns, and explain to them more clearly how you can help them achieve their goals, would 2, 3, or 4 of those 20 be more likely to use your services? What is that worth to your business? And what is the impact on your referring providers, and to those people you could have helped?
Another approach to improving your conversion rate is to look at it by referral source. Knowing that 10 new leads per month are coming from a particular source but only 4 are actually making the decision and commitment to use your services, means that you have a 40 percent conversion rate from that source. If you compare that to other sources, say someone whose conversion rate is 90 percent, you may be able to figure out the differences between those leads, the conversation that source is having with those people around your business, and whether they are actively promoting you as the best solution. You may be able to impact the quality of the conversation and the understanding and readiness of those people to use your services. You may also be able to make more informed strategic decisions around where to place your future efforts.
Tracking your leads and conversion rate takes process implementation, discipline, and monitoring. But it does not add to your expenses. So, if you are able to turn these processes into more new patients, and help more people, with your existing incoming leads, is it worth it? Further, by monitoring lead generation, you will be able to test and make better marketing decisions by figuring out what works, what does not, and what works but costs too much.
A version of this article was originally published at ppsimpact.org. It has been updated and edited for this blog.