Every year, medical practices spend thousands of dollars on marketing their services to new patients. These efforts include a myriad of tactics like social media, SEO, pay-per-click, email marketing, and other paid advertising. The problem is, most of these practices focus solely on marketing, with little to no consideration placed on what comes after.

New leads mean nothing if they don’t convert to a paying patient. After all, this is the ultimate purpose of your advertising campaigns. Generating awareness is nice, but your marketing success is defined by how many of those leads actually generate revenue for your business.

Optimizing your marketing campaigns and lead response is essential to transforming your patient acquisition process into a powerful selling machine. Below are 4 key steps you can take today to improve the return on investment (ROI) of your advertising and maximize the value of your marketing leads.

Call Leads in Minutes

Perhaps the most critical component of converting leads into patients is response time. Do you know how long it takes your practice to follow up with a lead that has contacted your practice? According to MyMedLeads, the average medical practice takes around 9 hours to respond to form inquiries. Just imagine walking into a retail store and asking a salesperson about trying on a pair of shoes, only to have the sales rep tell you they’d be happy to help you with that… in 9 hours. Would you wait? Or, would you high tail it to the next closest shoe store?

The same concept applies with the inquiries your practice receives. You should be calling leads in minutes, not hours. According to research done by Harvard Business Review, the odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the 1st hour alone! On the flipside, the chances of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes are 100 times higher versus 30 minutes.

The concept of calling leads back faster isn’t a groundbreaking revelation. The reasons why faster response time works is self-evident. When you respond to leads right away, you are contacting them at their highest point of interest. If you respond in minutes, your practice is still “top-of-mind” and they may even still be on your website. If you wait hours, there’s a good chance they’ve already done further research, often on your competitors’ websites…

These stats should be encouraging to read for any practice that’s currently struggling with conversion rates. Of course, it’s understandable that calling leads back quickly is easier said than done when you’re running a busy practice. However, even small, incremental improvements in response times can yield noticeable results.

Track the Source of Your Leads

Getting high quality leads into the top layer of your sales funnel is essential to growing your patient base. Many practices make the mistake of defining a marketing campaign as a success if it produces “more leads” than other advertising channels. Converting visitors to leads is only half of the story – what happens after the conversion to a lead is just as important. You should be measuring the success of your ad campaigns based on “more leads that convert into revenue”.

The problem is, many practices don’t track this crucial bit of information, or in most cases – they simply don’t know how or lack the time and resources to do so. This is where your sales funnel becomes especially important. If you don’t use a sales funnel, don’t feel too bad, (68% of organizations don’t!) Practices that do however, have a huge advantage over their competitors.

Tracking the progression of potential patients through each step of your sales cycle provides rich insights into the quality of your leads and the sources that sent them. The further a lead moves down your sales funnel, the higher quality it is. Rather than focusing on the top of the funnel (lead volume), you should be evaluating leads toward the middle and bottom of the funnel (paying patients or scheduled consultations), to see where they’re coming from. Allocate more of your marketing budget to these lead sources in order to generate more revenue.

This process can be done manually by modifying your lead capture forms to include marketing source data, utilizing Google Analytics, and other tools. End-to-end tracking of lead sources can also be accomplished with CRM systems. MyMedLeads provides automatic lead source capture, sales funnel visualization, ROI tracking, and seamless scheduling into practice management software with revenue synchronization for a complete view of your marketing performance.

Follow up with Leads More Than Once 

Calling leads quickly is important, but so is persistence. According to Harvard Business Review, “71% of qualified leads are never followed up with” and of the leads that are followed up on, they’re only touched an average of “1.3 times”. Previous research has shown that making a second phone call can increase the chance of making a sale by 22%. Calling a lead once and leaving a voicemail no longer cuts it.

MyMedLeads recommends a total of at least 7 touches per lead before hanging up your hat (at least 3 of which should be outbound calls, manual texts, or emails). Automated messages are fine but should not be the only communication the lead receives from you. Never underestimate the power of “personal touch”. Sticking with a quality lead in a way that is courteous and demonstrates genuine interest in helping meet their needs is a must for any practice seeking to improve their conversion rates.

Nurture Leads That Are Not Yet Ready to Schedule

Many leads simply won’t be ready to schedule a consultation with your practice right away. This is why the top of the sales funnel is so wide. Many individuals are just price-checking or looking for information on a procedure they’re considering.

These individuals should not be disregarded. They have expressed interest in the services you offer, so indulge their curiosity. This is where lead nurturing comes in – targeted lead nurturing, to be exact. Research done by Kula Partners indicates that leads nurtured with targeted content produce an increase in sales opportunities of more than 20%, and personalized emails generate up to 6 times higher revenue per email than non-personalized emails do (Experian Email Marketing Study).

This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. Most email marketing services offer marketing automation, and you already possess the knowledge about your services and your patients’ needs. It’s worth it to take the time to craft lead nurturing emails for different segments of your audience. For instance, an aesthetic practice could create separate email series for leads interested in breast procedures, body contouring, surgical facial enhancement, and nonsurgical treatments like fillers or Botox. These emails can educate the prospective patient on their procedure of interest while helping them progress through the buyer’s journey by addressing common questions and concerns.

A little work upfront is worth it if it can recoup thousands of dollars of potentially lost revenue over the long haul.

Putting It into Action

Practices that are implementing these tactics are closing more patients than their competition. Simply being aware of these strategies, of course, does nothing. Putting them into practice is where the magic happens. To get the most out of your current marketing, you must understand, track, and optimize your patient acquisition process daily.

When a prospect finally does become a paying patient, your tracking should be able to tell you when and where they first encountered your practice. A quarterly evaluation of marketing ROI is recommended so that you can keep optimizing your campaigns, refining your messaging, and reallocating ad spend until your marketing strategy and sales pipeline is a well-oiled, revenue-producing machine!