14 Sep Patient Acquisition Vs. Retention: Which Is More Important For Healthcare Businesses?
Overview: Understand the core differences between patient acquisition and patient retention for your healthcare business!
Fostering a solid patient base is the core goal for medical practice providers and health businesses. So a standard plan requires both patient retention and patient acquisition. Health care business owners may be curious about which one is more essential – since both are intertwined. You can’t have patient retention without patient acquisition — and can’t have a viable business without patient retention.
Before you decide which one is more essential, you should have a marketing plan that addresses patient acquisition and retention beforehand.
Striking a Balance Between Patient Retention & Patient Acquisition:
Statistics state that acquiring a customer costs five times more than retaining one — so retention always consumes the lion’s share of the marketing budget. Marketers who lean more toward patient acquisition than creating loyalties argue that the 5x saving on the acquisition cost isn’t as automatic as it was years ago. Back then, sales were less personalized, and the marketers couldn’t forecast the future purchase patterns as easily.
With the fourth industrial revolution, the world has digitized – changing everything, including sales and marketing modules. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), predictive market insight has made it much easier to personalize sales and customer experiences. It also helps significantly in guiding the choices of a new customer.
Patient acquisition is the act of acquiring or adding new patients to a health service business. With this practice, the health providers look at patients as consumers and promote services with a more patient-centered approach.
On the other hand, patient retention is the art of retaining loyal existing patients. When managing existing patients, health care providers need to ensure that their services benefit patients’ needs and align with their expectations, often set by acquisition marketing tactics. It’s safe to say that the patient retention strategies are a referendum on the effectiveness of patient acquisition marketing.
Related Reading: How health care marketing works
How Acquisition and Retention Marketing Works:
Health care is undoubtedly a competitive market. Today, patients know the multiple choices available, so they research several options before opting for one. To stand out among such competition for acquiring patients, your marketing plan should offer insight and value as to why your practice is the best choice. In the case of retaining patients, marketing content should remind patients of the unparalleled care they receive from your service and should strive to build brand loyalty.
Online Marketing: Strategies for patient acquisition include promoting positive reviews about your service online. Since there are so many options available, patients or their attendants will double-check if your practice is listed among WebMD’s Choice Awards. Alongside this, advertising in marketing shouldn’t be taken for granted. If your marketing campaign is targeted, this will allow to reach patients whose current needs align with the services you provide.
With quality care for their immediate needs, patient referrals should be easy to come by. When your former or existing patients are asked for recommendations, the seamless care you provided will be the first thing they think of.
Educate your staff: Make sure that your staff is always available to meet the needs of and respond to the feedback from your patients. Also, explain the follow-up process and personalized approach to them – how to treat the patients as individuals. This patient-centric care is a compelling reason to choose a provider that is devoted and passionate about the services they offer.
The best part of these strategies is that following them will not only attract new patients but also give a patient reasons to stay with you.
Related Reading: 5 ways to train your health care staff
Back your messages with results: Maintaining loyalty is quite challenging due to the available options for patients. If your marketing message isn’t backed up by results, your efforts will likely be in vain. Providing top-notch care helps marketing since the strategies used for patient retention are always built on those for patient acquisition. Your slogan should reinforce why your service is best among others, and your record of patient care should make good on the promises made.
Related Reading: How to stand out in the health care industry
The Importance of Patient Retention:
Focusing on retaining a customer can help drive the profitability of that patient. Over time, they’ll bring more revenue, paying off on the investments you made to acquire and maintain the patient. Retaining a patient is more cost-effective than acquiring a new one. The higher the retention rate, the more successful your health care business will be.
Focus on trackable results: To make the best medical marketing decisions, you should track how much you’re spending on patient acquisition and the amount you’re paying to retain them. Monitoring your patients’ journey and marketing campaigns helps determine what’s working and what’s not.
With the proper strategies in place, patient retention will pay off in a big way, and a carefully-crafted budget is a big part of these strategies. When acquiring patients, figure out how much you’re willing to spend on each one to bring them into your business. Without proper tracking or checks and balance, it’ll be challenging to justify the long-term costs of patient retention.
Build relationships: The patients you’ve previously treated, and their loved ones, will develop expectations of the patient-centered experience when you provide thorough attention and comforting care. To retain or build a relationship, you must continue meeting those standards and investing in strong positive relationships. By using marketing — from email campaigns to social media — you can encourage patients to continue using your business for their health care needs.
The costs of such efforts are considerably lower than acquiring a new patient for your health care practice. Here’s why you should build better and long-term connections with the existing patient base:
Profitability: Patient retention offers a decent return on investment (or “ROI”). For instance, in the financial service industry, increasing retention by 5% produces more than a 25% increase in revenue – a fair deal, isn’t it?
Better sales prospects: The probability of your existing patients visiting your practice for healthcare services is 60%-70% – however, the likelihood of new patients choosing your practice is only 5%-20%.
Referrals: Patients who keep coming back to you have faith in you. Most of them won’t hesitate to recommend your services to their family members, friend groups, work colleagues, or neighbors, which leads your acquisition rate to scale without any extra cost.
Related Article: 3 referral marketing strategies to earn you more customers
Patient retention works wonders as you develop a bond and a solid relationship between you as a service provider and your patients. The loyal patient base you created knows your core values better than the ones coming in new. Since the existing customers trust you, they’ll happily come back again and again to make use of your services.
We favor providing value to existing customers who have proven loyal and valuable to your service. What do you think?