Now as you know running a practice can take over your entire life and change almost every aspect of your routine.
So, how do you make sure every aspect of your business is getting the attention it needs and deserves?
How do you scale and generate profit for your practice while doing the minimal amount of work?
Our answer is very simple. You need to automate.
The aim of marketing automation is straightforward: automate every possible part of the process to allow you to spend less time on your marketing, and more time doing what you do best—helping people. If it’s done right, you’ll save hours every week!
These following 8 steps will show you how to automate, scale, and profit.
Know what you’re after? Jump to the section:
- Step 1: Outsource menial tasks!
- Step 2: Automated scheduling
- Step 3: Send automated appointment reminders via email and text!
- Step 4: Ask your patients for feedback!
- Step 5: Encourage patients to review your practice
- Step 6: The next step is to send a content-oriented follow up sequence
- Step 7: Ask for referrals!
- Step 8: Host Webinars & Create an Automated Webinar Marketing Funnel!
Step 1: Outsource menial tasks!
There are jobs you just don’t have time for, and you know it. Social media, web design and maintenance, search engine optimisation, Facebook ads, Google adwords… the list seems endless. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything on your own, and finding yourself constantly running behind.
The secret? You might be an entrepreneur but it’s not your job to personally handle every part of the business. It’s your job to have a dream and determine the best possible way to achieve it: to work less, but do more. To work smarter, not harder.
How? Try asking yourself a few key questions:
- Can I remove myself from this task?
- Can I delegate it to someone who can do a better, faster, and more efficient job than me?
As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve used these questions countless times to help myself reimagine my business processes: as a result, it’s very clear to me that only about 20% of my current work is similar to what I used to do years ago.
Delegation has enabled me to step away from menial tasks and move into different roles. Now I have the time to work on strategic level projects;
I focus on business development, pursuing different revenue streams, content production, and client retention and management instead of wasting my time on every small item that crops up in the day to day of running a business.
So… What tasks don’t you have the time or the skills to do yourself? Outsource them! Save yourself time and energy to grow your business. And a great example of something you can do to grow your business is:
Step 2: Automated scheduling
Scheduling appointments is frequently resource intensive, but it doesn’t need to be! With simple tools like Hit Appoint, Set More, Cliniko, and Schedule Once, patients can access your up-to-the-minute consulting schedule, allowing them to see exactly what appointments you have available on which days.
Patients can quickly and easily select a convenient available appointment, and add it to their calendar to remind them it’s coming up.
Such tools give you complete control over how your days run, enabling you to specify whatever limitations help you operate more efficiently, and perform to your best.
Whether it’s stipulating “allow twenty minutes between appointments,” or “only allow five appointments per day,” you create the optimal scheduling for your practice.
An automated scheduling solution enables you to integrate your patients’ appointment information into your marketing automation solution, creating processes to help optimise and grow your practice. How? Well, once the appointment is booked, you can…
Step 3: Send automated appointment reminders via email and text!
Date-based automations can trigger email reminders leading up to the appointment, reducing no-shows to keep your consult slots full, and your schedule predictable. Of course, you don’t want to bury your patients in an email avalanche!
A simple rule of thumb is to send one reminder two weeks out, and another a few days prior; this helps most people stay on top of their schedule.
These booking systems also send a text message reminder to your patients’ mobile, helping to further reduce no-shows. To ensure your patients find this helpful, send something simple, short, and relevant, like “You have an appointment next week at The Wellness Clinic: we’re looking forward to seeing you!”
Next, you can capitalise on your hard work and…
Step 4: Ask your patients for feedback!
After the appointment is a great time to ask feedback from patients. This helps improve your practice, and nip small problems in the bud before they become any bigger.
You can reassure your patients that the feedback is easy and fast. A simple form tool like Google Forms is free and will handle the job nicely.
As part of your feedback process, ask your patients whether they were happy with their visit!
Figure 1: Get reviews as quickly as you can, especially immediately after a treatment or a visit when the patient seems happy
Give them scaled options for responding, then use this information to feed into your marketing automation software. If your patients selected ‘I was thrilled with my visit today,” you can…
Step 5: Encourage patients to review your practice
Glowing reviews are incredibly powerful for healthcare providers, because they’re often used as prospective patients’ basis for choosing which practitioner to see.
So, to keep your online reputation glowingly positive and inviting for new patients, capitalise on your happiest patients - ask them to leave you reviews! If someone selects, ‘I was thrilled with my visit today,” in the feedback form we discussed in step four, trigger a campaign to get their positive review out there!
Figure 2: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey)
Make it easy for them: specify exactly where you want them to post their review; consider sending them a link directly to the webpage where they can add it. The quicker and easier you make it for people, the more positive reviews you’ll get.
We’re getting close to the end, so hang in there: these next three steps are very interesting ones!
Figure 3: Encourage patients to place Google or any third party platform reviews.
Step 6: The next step is to send a content-oriented follow up sequence
Although putting this process together will require a little more of a time investment, it’s an excellent long-term strategy that will pay big dividends over time. Many healthcare professionals create a website, list themselves with Google Places, and call it a day.
But not you. You want to go above and beyond, because you know that’ll help your practice rise above the rest: you know that makes it more likely that you’ll be patients’ first choice.
How do you do this? I recommend creating ‘lead magnets’ for your website to attract potential patients or referring doctors. A ‘lead magnet’ offers your website visitors something valuable in exchange for their contact information.
They may have to provide their email address to access exclusive material that you provide: this could be anything from a small ebook or checklist through to videos and webinars.
Figure 4: General lead magnets can be “Top 10 Eyelid Surgery FAQs – What you really need to know before going under the knife” or “Webinar – How to look best at your age?
This provides a great way for your target audience to get to ‘know’ you; in today’s online marketing world, the email list is the new currency. After you provide your promised material, be sure to include a strong call to action at the end, encouraging patients or referring doctors to get in touch if they need help in your area of expertise, or any general questions.
Starting a blog as part of your website can also be a powerful tool for attracting your target audience. The options here are limited only by your imagination! You can use articles, audio clips, or videos to address any number of topics; you might simply use your posts to answer those questions that patients have asked you in person, like
- Does Sugar Damage Your Skin And Cause Wrinkles?
- “Is an electric tooth brush better?”
- “How to prevent bunions from getting worse – try these 6 steps”
- “How to fight facial aging – try these 6 options”
It’s important to remember, these posts don’t have to be long or in-depth! Their primary purpose is to connect with your patients and referral network, and to continue creating fresh content to improve your website’s credibility with search engines and help your site appear for a wider range of search queries.
Even better, these posts can be repurposed into a monthly (or even bi-weekly) information pack to be emailed out to your patients and referral network. Now your patients are getting extra value from your practice that sets you apart from the rest, and you can use this opportunity to inform both your patients and your referring practitioners.
By educating your network about optimal healthcare practices, and the benefits of different available procedures, your patients and referral network will be better placed to understand what’s on offer to them and how it can help them, making them more likely to schedule those procedures.
Then what? Well, these messages give you a very valuable chance to…
Step 7: Ask for referrals!
This is the most important marketing automation strategy for all healthcare professionals: remind your patients to recommend you! A strong relationship means they’ll want to spread the word about what a great job you’re doing, especially since people understand how important referrals are to small businesses.
If they appreciate you and your work, they’ll love the chance to help you out, and sometimes all people need is a reminder that their word would be helpful!
A simple, “and remember, my business relies on your recommendations!” is enough to cement in someone’s mind that they have the ability to help your practice through the power of their recommendation to others.
Step 8: Host Webinars & Create an Automated Webinar Marketing Funnel!
Webinars are a fantastic way to grow your practice. They work especially well for medical practices , providing prospective patients with more information to help them make decisions without consuming your valuable time.
An informative, well-presented webinar saves hours of presentations and networking. It is my favourite platform for our sales funnels for doctors and health professionals
Webinars provide a great way to connect with both your potential patients and referring doctors on a more personal level. Your passion for healthcare, and your interest in sharing your knowledge will help create meaningful intimate connections and building trust in you and your practice.
This allows you to attract potential patients, referring doctors, building rapport, engaging their interest, and building their trust… all without needing to meet them in person.
Unlike the challenges of live seminars, webinars provide vital flexibility for a time-poor professional community. Since they can be pre-recorded, webinars not only save you time but also benefit your audience, who can now watch your webinar when it suits their schedule.
As you can see, webinars are an incredibly powerful way to create an authoritative and trustworthy brand for you and your practice, establishing you as a trusted source for primary care physicians to refer their patients to and scale your referral base fast.
Actually, we are in the process of creating an online course teaching healthcare professionals on;
On the original, you had “for medical and healthcare practice and any premium services”, but if you’re targeting this at doctors, then I think you can simplify down to ‘medical practices’ which is easier and punchier.
The course teaches you how to generate new patients and referrals on auto pilot: once it’s up and running, there’s no further work required on your part for a while.
This is a brilliant way of systemising your marketing, keeping in consistent contact with your referral network, and leveraging your time, all while growing your practice. If you’d like to learn more about this course, check out the link below to hear from us when the course is released!
But that’s a lot, I hear you say. How on earth can I put into place all of these automated processes that are going to help my business? So I’ve compiled a list of my automation software recommendations:
- Active Campaign
All of these programs are incredibly helpful, and will help you make the leap into the automated marketing practices which will help you quickly and easily grow your business.
So, I have one last question for you! What are some other marketing automation ideas you’ve used that have been incredibly successful for your practice?
I’d love to hear back with your thoughts and discussions, so leave your comments below, and subscribe to our blog to become OMD insiders.
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I hope you enjoyed this article; I look forward to catching you next time!