Clinical Marketing: What to Do With Your Patients Who Are “Missing in Action”

Can you guess the top 4 reasons why patients don’t return to a physician? (Hint: price/insurance isn’t one of them). #4 Bad experience (staff unhelpful, long wait times) #3 Bad treatment (the physician wasn’t able to give them the results they were looking for) #2 They switched physicians (one of your competitors lured them in with better marketing

And the #1 reason why patients don’t return to see you is: they FORGOT about you!

That’s right, the Number 1 reason people don’t return to a medical practice is because you just weren’t top-of-mind when they needed your services again.  Are you shocked that price doesn’t even feature in the top 4 reasons?  Most of us automatically think that if a client doesn’t return it must have been because we were too expensive, when actually it’s just because we didn’t do a great job with our marketing by reminding them that we’re here.  The great news is that it can be easily fixed!

Here are 2 key questions for you to consider in your clinical marketing:

  1. How often do you want patients to be treated by you again?
  1. When do you consider a patient to be lost?

For example, if you’re in aesthetic medicine and one of your patients stops coming in for their 2 month Botox appointment, you’d likely consider them “lost” after month 3.  If you were a real estate agent, you might want repeat business every 5 years (the average length of time for people to move).  If you own a grocery store you might consider a customer lost if you didn’t see them every week.  Figure out what the “lost patient” criteria is for your practice, and then and then set up a “lost patient direct mail campaign” to trigger as soon as they don’t return. The most effective is a 3-step sequential direct mail campaign that’s highly personalized. A very distant second is the same via email campaign (but anything is better than nothing).

Here’s the secret to getting your lost patients back and making your clinical marketing even more effective: unless you specifically invite your lost patients to return to you, most won’t because they’re too embarrassed!  You need to warmly invite them back.  Remember that keeping a patient who’s already been treated by you is at least 5 times easier than trying to attract a brand new patient.  So make every patient of yours count!  Get your staff to go back through files and medical records and send out a simple postcard campaign, containing a “we want you back” irresistible offer and deadline. Make them feel they’ve been greatly missed and welcome them back to the fold with open arms!