In 2022, the world seemed to finally re-open and life for many has started to move forward. But as we can all agree, it didn’t mean the challenges were over. As we look to 2023, we see the past couple of years living with the pandemic has had an impact on nearly everything – from the economy, to consumer spending, to the job market, and more. It’s prompted many practices to consider new growth opportunities, whether to provide certain functions in-house or outsource, and take a good look at where the industry is heading.
These trends are the reason we release our Medical Marketing Outlook each year. We hope the data we collect from practices nationwide can help medical practices evaluate the most effective ways to attract, engage, and convert more prospects into booked appointments.
We take a look at lead volume, conversion data, and marketing channel performance to reveal key trends and what to anticipate in 2023.
Let’s dive in.
2022 Lead Results
Lead Volume Declined
Total inbound activity from prospects, including phone calls and contact forms, was down from a year ago. We believe reasons could be:
- More options for spending. The pandemic tapering and the world opening back up has provided consumers with more options to spend. A somewhat “back to normal” has Consumers back to weighing more options when it comes to spending. Instead of having a medical procedure, they may choose to travel, shop, or move forward with a purchase they have been putting off.
- Inflation, with fear of a recession. With inflation at a 40-year high and rising prices on nearly everything including gas prices and daily necessities, many simply can’t afford a medical procedure. What’s more, a possible recession on the horizon has many sitting tight. At the same time, the extra cash Americans were getting from stimulus checks seems to be subsiding. High prices that aren’t being supported with stimulus, could have many unable to afford big purchases.
- Interest rate increases. Inflation has forced credit card companies to increase interest rates, making the option to finance more expensive. We have also seen terms for financing adjusting. What used to be a 0% interest rate for 12 months, now may be for only 6 months. Consumers who don’t readily have the money are less likely to turn to financing as another option.
Given the circumstances, price could be the key deciding factor for prospective patients when considering multiple practices. As such, practices that are seeing a decline in volume may benefit from temporary price reductions or running pricing promotions like 12 month 0% financing. This can make the procedure possible for patients who can’t otherwise afford it. Even for patients who can afford it, 0% financing can be an attractive incentive. While a practice may take a hit by reducing pricing or pay fees to the financing company, the additional volume of patients could make it worth their while.
Conversions Remained Steady
Despite the decrease in overall lead volume, we were happy to see conversions from inquiries to booked consultations remained strong at about 74%.
This indicates prospects who are showing interest are highly willing to take action and book a consultation.
It underscores the need to deliver an excellent first impression in order to maintain momentum in the sales process and minimize any friction to get a patient in the door.
2022 Marketing Channel Performance
Internet & Word of Mouth Remain the Top Channels
It’s never a surprise to us to see the top two marketing channels for driving inbound conversions continue to be Internet and Referrals.
A few years, we saw Internet surpass Referrals as the #1 driver. This year, Internet leads are still holding strong in the top spot, but took a 3% hit. At the same time, Referrals jumped 2.63%.
- You need to ensure prospects find you when they search for medical procedures online
- Your website needs detailed information that is easy to navigate, with plenty of ways a prospect can get in touch with you.
Yelp Still Dominates Social Media
Yelp remains by far the #1 social media platform for driving booked consultations. In recent years, Yelp had actually shown a decline in conversions. However, we saw a major jump in 2022, while its competitors like Facebook and Instagram fell further behind.
Additional statistics support the need for medical practices to make Yelp a priority:
- Yelp reviews are used by 45% of customers before they visit a business.*
- For every Yelp star, you can see a 9% increase in revenue.*
All this to say, reviews are golden. Ensure your reviews on third party sites like Yelp are current and positive. Actively respond to all reviews within 24 hours, either thanking patients for positive reviews or addressing negative reviews by directing them to your client services team.
You should have an effective patient referral program in place with reminders to rate their experience online and refer friends.
*Source: EnterpriseApps Today: Yelp Statistics 2022 Demographics, Users and Facts
But Don’t Forget, Engagement Matters (A Lot!)
We’ve talked a lot about what drives prospects to contact you. But what about the ones who haven’t reached out yet? Just because many marketing channels aren’t the highest at converting prospects to patients, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be ignored.
Awareness and engagement matter. The social media platform TikTok is a great example. While our data indicates prospects aren’t coming directly from TikTok, it doesn’t mean they aren’t actively learning or engaging with brands on that platform. In fact, TikTok has become a place where surgeons have developed a following by explaining some of the most popular procedures like face lifts, tummy tucks, nose jobs and Botox to their audience.
Medical experts have been creating short “snackable” videos on TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and others to help rectify misinformation, offer educational content catered to patient needs, and share their personality to help prospects get to know them. These strategies are a great way to differentiate your practice from others.
We always say the only real constant is change. But, time and time again, the most successful practices are the ones that master these four things:
1. Maximize the client experience
From the first impression to post-surgery, you will never go wrong if your priority is delivering the best patient experience. We would just add that it’s becoming just as important to focus on your digital experience as it is the human experience with customer service and within the office. Whether online or offline, the messaging, immediate response, and personalization should feel seamless.
2. Stay in touch
It’s not all about conversions. There are still about 25% of prospects that don’t convert to a booked appointment right away. Practices need to capture key information from every prospect – such as name, phone, email – in order to be able nurture those who aren’t ready to book. Our Capture Web Response program has a systematic, automatic, and proven process to stay in touch with prospects over time and has shown to significantly boost conversions who weren’t initially ready to book an appointment.
3. Agility and adaptability remain the two greatest super-powers
Practices continue to face uncertainty. Between the consumer, employee, and economic trends, running a business requires flexibility and the ability to outsource key functions.
Clients who have chosen to outsource their inbound phone calls with First Contact have been able to ensure they never miss a phone lead and they get that amazing client experience upfront while also allowing their onsite staff to focus on existing patients in the office. Our Capture Web Response can ensure every single inbound web lead gets an immediate response and if they aren’t ready to book, they are automatically put on a nurture program.
No matter what program you choose, you can customize to your needs – managing your fluctuations in volume at a lower cost by leaning on highly trained counselors who are set up to work remotely and are available during extended hours.
4. Let data find your blind spots
Data can be your best friend in helping you navigate all aspects of your business. Keeping a constant eye on a variety of key performance indicators and regularly reporting results is one of the best ways to ensure sustainable growth. Many practice owners we speak with each and every day think they know their business, but there are inevitably blind spots.
They’ve benefited from taking advantage of our Free Practice Assessment for objective, data-driven insights that can help identify areas of improvement.
What are you waiting for?
Request your free practice assessment below