It’s estimated an average medical practice spends about 2-5% of their gross revenue on marketing per year to generate inbound leads. However, the vast majority of these leads are not ready to book when they initially reach out. They’re typically researching procedures and multiple practices as part of a decision process that could take a few months.
Without an effective lead-nurturing process that stays in touch with prospects and builds their trust over time, practices are missing a huge opportunity to maximize their marketing ROI.
So how can you do a better job of capturing more patients within the sales pipeline? Start with these 7 best practices:
1. Leverage Your CRM
Sure, you could use an Excel spreadsheet to track all leads. But that process can get cumbersome and lacks the sophistication of tracking and reporting. Using a CRM (contact/customer-relationship management) system to not only manage current patients, but also inbound leads, can provide the necessary automation and insights to make following-up easy and effective.
Even a basic system can be used to house prospect contact information, record all interactions a customer has had with your business and the outcome, as well as schedule reminders to reach back out.
2. Speed to Lead
Time is of the essence when it comes to following-up with patient inquiries. Consumers are increasingly making decisions “in the moment”, often out of an emotional need to solve a problem or to fulfill a desire right now. Contact quality rates decrease by 10x after the first 5 minutes of a prospect submitting a form.
That means, unless it’s after business hours, there should be an immediate response to inbound leads. As a general rule of thumb:
- All phone calls need to be answered within the first 2 rings
- All responses from contact forms on your website need to be followed up within 1 hour
3. Staff Accordingly
Because “speed to lead” is so important, staff needs to be able to prioritize lead follow-up and dedicate time accordingly. In fact, a main reason practices don’t have a consistent lead nurturing process, is that staff is not able to set aside time on a regular basis. Between managing patients in the office and other administrative tasks, following-up on interested prospects can fall to the bottom of the to-do list.
Ensure your staff not only has time to answer all calls and respond to web leads immediately, but is trained in handling inquiries effectively. They should be well-versed in handling common questions or concerns. They will also need time to log calls – adding any notes that may be helpful in personalizing future communication.
4. Collect the Essential Information
It’s important to gather important information for every inbound lead – especially in the event they don’t convert or end up booking an appointment. If a prospect declines to take action, odds are, their initial “no” may simply be a “not yet.”
When it’s a phone call, staff should focus on collecting the following right from the beginning:
- Prospect name: this can be used to personalize the conversation. Referring to someone by their name and saying thank you at the end, can instantly build rapport and trust.
- Phone number & email address: Gathering the patient’s contact information allows for personalized follow-up if the patient is not ready to book on the phone. In the event they don’t take action, having template emails that include valuable information should be sent immediately after the call as a starting point for the lead nurturing conversation.
- How they heard about the practice: This can be valuable in helping you determine which marketing efforts have been performing the best.
All of this information should be collected for an online contact form on your website. However, it’s recommended to also add:
- Preferred contact method (phone or email)
- Preferred time
These two pieces of information can enable a response that caters to the prospects availability and can help ensure that when your staff reaches out, they will actually get in contact on the first attempt.
5. Develop A Plan for When they Don’t Convert
A prospect may research a medical procedure for weeks or months before they book a consultation. That’s why it’s important to have a consistent lead-nurturing process that stays in touch with the prospect. A solid communication plan accomplishes 2 things:
- Provides valuable information and builds credibility: particularly in the elective medical space, content that can build trust and help a prospective patient overcome the common barriers to having a procedure can be hugely important in their decision process. Deliver content that addresses their cost concerns, fears of pain or outcome, or uncertainty safety. Include patient stories and before & after pictures as proof that your patients are satisfied with the quality of their results.
- Ensures your practice is top of mind: the elective medical space is highly competitive – with many practices competing to gain attention. If a prospect has reached out to you, you are part of the small group of other practices that are in their consideration set. If they choose not to book an appointment the first time they contact you, delivering consistent communication touch points over time helps keep your practice top of mind. This will keep you on their short list of practices when they are ready to take the next step.
Map out a series of touch points that include template emails and phone scripts over at least a 30-day period. You can use OptiCall’s Capture web lead response program process as a guide to help you develop your plan.
“OptiCall is not only very quick at responding to all the internet leads, they are really exceptional at closing them for a consultation.”
6. Track & Optimize Conversions
A well thought out lead nurturing plan matched with adequate staffing and training will no doubt increase the number of booked appointments. But tracking conversions with each touch point in the follow-up process can help you begin to see what is most effective at each stage and be able to optimize accordingly.
As mentioned, a CRM system should be able to track and organize this information into actionable data. From there, you can refine your process.
7. Outsource if Needed
You may still find it’s difficult to develop and consistently execute an effective lead nurturing plan, particularly with limited staffing and availability. In fact, that’s why more and more practices are choosing OptiCall’s Capture program to be able to get the full benefit of a proven lead nurturing plan without going through the trial-and-error process of doing it themselves, the extra expense of additional staff or investment into more CRM capabilities.
Capture uses a combination of automated and personalized outreach to deliver relevant content over time and according to a prospect’s preferred communication method. Our process helps your practice stay connected and significantly increases their likelihood of eventually booking an appointment.
Is Capture right for your practice? Complete the form below to request a consultation and free web lead assessment.