Growing your hearing care practice requires more than delivering expert care and exceptional customer service. You also have to find new patients.
That is easier said than done, of course, but there are proven methods for expanding your patient roster. You can market your practice in countless ways, including via email and advertisements in print, online, or on radio and TV. You might also choose to focus on referrals from patients and other healthcare professionals.
Whether you are actively marketing your practice or generating referrals, don’t underestimate the power of networking with other business owners and service providers. The quantity and quality of new-patient leads these contacts can generate could prove to be an invaluable resource.
Marketing and Referrals
When Loleata “Lolly” Wigall, MS, CCC-A, FAAA, launched her first marketing campaign more than 25 years ago, the president of Wilmington, Mass-based Atlantic Audiology Inc was working on a shoestring budget. But she has been able to attract scores of new patients by writing and distributing press releases and a newspaper column, building and mining an email database, and promoting her practice by hosting a local cable TV talk show.
Wigall also began promoting her practice to physicians in her area, faxing them with alerts to remind them that every patient over 50 should take a baseline hearing test.
“If my goal is to be educational, informative, and known for providing the best service, why wouldn’t I send the fax to every physician I can add to my database?” Wigall explained in an article she penned for The Hearing Review.
In 2015, the owners of Professional Hearing Services (PHS) in St. Joseph, Mich, learned that almost two-thirds of the new patients they attracted in the prior year were referred by existing patients. Further analysis proved that the cost to add a new patient via referral was only 10% of the cost to add a new patient through any other marketing effort.
By focusing on referrals and tracking their sources, PHS was able to build a comprehensive program that added new patients, rewarded the patients and healthcare providers who referred them, and boosted the company’s bottom line. Their data showed that patients recruited to the practice by a personal recommendation spent $300 more per hearing aid than patients drawn by advertising.
Other Businesses and Service Providers
It’s clear that well-planned and -executed marketing and referral campaigns can help attract new patients to your hearing care practice, but you may wish to consider a third source: partnering with other businesses and service providers that can expand your practice’s suite of services and augment its value proposition.
One example is CareCredit, a health, wellness and personal care credit card provider that has partnered with more than 195,000 healthcare providers and retailers nationwide. Patients can use CareCredit to finance hearing care and the purchase of hearing aids.
By ensuring more patients can work the cost of visits and the technology you provide into their monthly budgets, CareCredit can help convince them to follow your recommended course of treatment — and not turn to over-the-counter personal sound amplification devices (PSAPs), postpone treatment, or worse, ignore the problem altogether.
You might also find that partnering with CareCredit can take your marketing campaigns and referral programs to the next level. Hearing care practitioners who partner with CareCredit get access to a proprietary marketing kit designed to help you promote the fact that your patients have access to financing options your competitors might not be able to provide.
Perhaps more importantly, patients who take advantage of the benefits of CareCredit will be more likely to return for future appointments and upgrade their devices on schedule. They may even be more likely to recommend your practice to friends and relatives who need your care and attention but are concerned about the cost.
Growing your patient roster is the fastest and most effective way to grow your practice. Harness the power of marketing, referrals and business partners and service providers to ensure you never miss an opportunity to treat a patient in need.
Image credits: CareCredit; © Nyul | Dreamstime.com