Did you know that 44% of businesses claim they put more effort toward customer acquisition than customer retention? Only 18% of businesses state they’re focused on their current customers. If you happen to be part of the former 44%, you could be making a costly marketing mistake that keeps your aesthetics clinic on the sales hamster wheel, constantly spending more to draw in more. But does it really pay off? Considering a 5% increase in customer retention may afford a 25–95% improvement in profits, your marketing strategy may require some refocusing.
Discover our top tips for maintaining your patient base long-term, so you can spend less on acquiring new patients.
Don’t spend your valuable time (and money!) investing five to 25-times more of your marketing budget in acquiring new patients if it doesn’t pay off. Knowing your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is key to determining the effectiveness of any marketing strategy. Start by summing up the cost of all marketing efforts that aim to convince prospective patients to invest in your clinic’s products or services, including promoting consultations, within a defined period (consider three months or a couple of quarters at least). Then, divide the total by the number of new patients who committed to a treatment service or plan during that time. The outcome is your average CAC. If the number is quite high, you may be able to better invest your marketing dollars and reduce your CAC while still growing your patient base with a retention-focused strategy.
With the right marketing strategies, ramping up your patient retention strategy can help to improve your clinic’s online presence through an increase of online reviews, as well as your on-the-ground marketing strategy via word of mouth, and personal recommendations or referrals. Essentially, these strategies help to both acquire and maintain patients.
So what specific strategies can you employ to improve patient retention?
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods for customer retention with an average 61% of millennials opening each correspondence. However, it’s important to offer patients content that is valuable to them, and not just spam. Utilize your database of patient emails strategically to announce new services, follow up with patients who haven’t been in for a while, and invite patients to an in-clinic event or offer a targeted promotion, whichever is most appropriate to your clinic’s branding strategy. Ensure to always include a call-to-action link, such as a page where patients can book a consultation for that exciting new service or an RSVP link to special events and promotions.
In this strategy, you should also prefer personalization to better cater to each patient’s needs. Use an email marketing provider that will allow you to insert patients’ first names at the beginning of each correspondence to better address the individual. We also recommend dividing long email lists into defined, smaller lists based on categories like similar ages, types of treatments, budgets, or even perhaps the year they first signed on. This will provide you with more marketing options that better target each patient’s interest to improve patient satisfaction.
Depending on your clinic’s branding strategy, loyalty programs can take on many different shapes and forms. You may offer a VIP status to long-term patients, putting them at the top of the guest list for special events and giving them exclusive access to test or sample any new product offerings or services. Alternatively, you may introduce a loyalty program that offers discounted rates for spa services alongside aesthetic treatments, reduced-cost maintenance appointments (where you can gage their interest in other services), or promotions that reward patients who sign up for a long-term treatment plan. You may also introduce a membership plan that offers discounts on all services for a small monthly fee, which is great for retaining patients who require recurring treatments or are considering adding spa services to their regular appointment list.
Of course, not all promotions will help to retain your ideal patients, so tailor these strategies to your clinic’s branding plan for best results. As well, always avoid undercutting your services too much while still offering an adequate incentive for your ideal patients.
The service-profit chain of any business draws a direct link from profitability to customer loyalty to employee empowerment and productivity. Satisfied and happy employees can have a major impact on a patient’s experiences within your clinic, so it’s important to treat staff well so they can always offer 100% to each and every patient while feeling fulfilled in their roles.
Tap into your employees’ top skills to strengthen your business and improve patient experiences. Ask employees what they would improve and be sure to listen to their feedback, as they will each have a different and valuable perspective. You may also consider rewarding employees who are named in online reviews or surveys for their helpfulness, positive attitude, or the like.
On a different note, establishing a social media strategy that connects patients to employees can be invaluable in developing strong patient-practice relationships. Consider having non-camera-shy employees post to Instagram Stories or pop up on Facebook Live to allow your loyal followers to connect with them outside of the clinic. This will help to keep your clinic top of mind for past patients who decide to seek out further treatments.
Renew past or current patients’ interest in clinic offerings by keeping them abreast of new services or products. When bringing on a new device or product line, you want to lock in treatments to ensure a higher return on investment (ROI) from the get-go. This can be the perfect excuse to invite current and past patients in for an evening of refreshments and small bites to show both your appreciation for them and your excitement for the new treatment or product. Depending on what new product or service you’re offering, this may also afford the best opportunity for patients to test out or sample it. An event like this can also offer staff the opportunity to mingle with patients and patients the opportunity to chat with each other about their favorite treatments, positively improving relationships with patients while promoting word of mouth to those who are already sold on previous experiences in your clinic.
Looking to add a new service to your offering to improve patient interest? Discover what Venus Concept has to offer by contacting an expert today.