You work hard to attract a new patient to your office only to have them drop out of care or resist becoming a wellness patient with regular maintenance care.
When your patient flow drops, you attempt to reactivate inactive patients.
The traditional method suggested by leading consultants is:
* Telephone Call
* Post Card/Letter Mailers
The effectiveness of these methods are debatable… it works for some, at some level but is not as effective as most expect.
Patient Reactivation Marketing (PRM)
Patient Reactivation Marketing is an important component of your INTERNAL marketing mix and for maximum effectiveness, you must have a written and structured plan.
PRM begins on the FIRST office visit. Most Chiropreneurs don’t begin the PRM process until a patient become INACTIVE. That’s the most difficult time to begin. The purpose of a solid PRM plan is to reduce the number of patients whom become INACTIVE for any number of reasons.
If your PVA is below 80, then you will have a HIGH number of inactive patients in your office. Often you will have more inactive patients than you do active ones.
Your PVA is a barometer on how effective you are in retaining patients, which will impact the number of inactive patients in your office. It all begins with the first, second, third…. office visit. In other words, your patient care protocol has a direct link to your patient retention or lack thereof.
During the program of care, you will either build trust, respect and confidence with the patient… or they will become inactive.
The components of building patient loyalty are:
1. Patient Communications, i.e., scripting.
2. Patient Education
3. Number of Referrals while under care.
4. Utilization of your services and products beyond chiropractic adjustments.
5. Consistent Marketing Communications, i.e., newsletter and special events.
6. Patient Loyalty Club to earn rewards.
7. Patient Recall Protocol
8. Supporting Patient’s Aliveness
Each of these components in your patient care protocol will stem the tide of patients voting with their feet and failing to return for care.
Once you have implemented the components above, you will have patients whom go inactive for in number of reasons. However, you can reactive these patients with a structured and consistent marketing plan.
The first rule: NEVER GIVE UP!
What I most often find is that after one or two attempts to reactivate a patient, the effort is abandon and the effort is aborted.
With the exception of those whom move away from your marketplace, those who die or those whom you no longer desire to serve, you should never stop marketing to your former active patients. The reason is simple: you never know when they may need your brand of chiropractic again. You cannot predict when they may have an automobile accident, get hurt on the job or a slip and fall at home. You must be foremost in the mind of your patient so they can instantly recall your brand of chiropractic.
But, beyond this, just because has chosen to drop our of care doesn’t not preclude them from referring others to your office!
Our of sight…. out of mind.
Here are some tactics you can use to maintain a connection:
1. Monthly Print Newsletter
2. Weekly electronic newsletter
3. Invitation to special events
4. Monthly Promotional Offers
5. Personal Contact
6. Dimensional Reactivation Mailer
7. Loyalty Incentive Offers
8. Anniversary Gift Card
The important consideration is that you have a planned and structured marketing strategy to reach out and stay connected.
Many Chiropreneurs make the mistake of giving up too soon… arguing that if they drop out of care and don’t respond to your reactivation messages, why waste money? Here’s why:
Because you do not know when they will need you or have someone to refer to you! Marketing is about consistency and spaced repetition. Who doesn’t know about McConald’s? So one would think that if someone wanted a fast burger, they would just go to the local McDonald’s and in minutes satisfy their hunger. If that were true then why do they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on t.v., radio, newspaper, magazines, billboard and mailers month-in and month out? Because they have no clue when the hunger-pain may hit you, so they want to be front and center when it does.
Let’s take an example: You “invest” $1.00 per month, per patient (active and inactive) with some form of marketing communications. You do this for five years, 60 months. Your total investment during the 60 months would be $60.
Now, during that 60 months of regular and consistent communications, what would have to happen for you to recapture your investment? Maybe a single office visit would do it! But, what if they have a new case in the next five years, or a friend, family member or co-worker needs a chiropractor. Remember, McDonald’s is selling 99 cent burger, you are marketing $50 office visit or $2,000 care plans! You have a huge edge over McDonald’s.
There are two kinds of mailers: flat and dimensional. Flat is a post card or letter in an envelope. It’s a flat piece of marketing. And, this is the typical format used by most Chiropreneurs who attempt patient reactivation. But, it is the lest effective.
Dimensional marketing is more like a:”package.” It has thickness which contributes to the curiosity factor…. important in creating readership and a response. When someone receives a post card or letter, they can quickly decide to read or trash. But, if they receive a “bulky” package, they are driven to OPEN and see what they received.
The mot important element in direct mail marketing is getting “opened,” and read.
Here are some dimensional mailers have used:
1. Sock Letter…. a bulky, bubble envelop with a letter and actual sock enclosed.
* Boomerang Letter… box with a letter and actual boomerang enclosed.
* Patient Chart Folder… an actual folder with patient “stuff” enclosed.
* Ceramic Mask Letter… a box with a ceramic mask and letter.
* Yo Yo Letter…. a box with a letter and yo-yo enclosed.
* Gift Card Letter… Box with a gift wrapped Gift Card and letter.
* Slinky Letter… a box with a slinky and letter enclosed.
Get the idea? Add some dimension to your patient reactivation efforts to improve your results.
It’s the Plan
Patient Reactivation Marketing is planned and structured and begins with the first visit and continues until the patient dies, moves away, patient request cessation of your communications or you refuse to serve the patient.
Take a look at your PVA and count how many INACTIVE patient records you have and you may uncover a huge marketing initiative that can change the dynamics of your practice.