- Every marketing initiative you invest in - whether online or offline - should be planned and implemented to track patient conversion and acquisition
- Map out conversion funnels for each campaign illustrating the different touchpoints people engage with on their road to booking an appointment
- Leverage your conversion data - along with your own patient value metrics - to calculate the ROI of each marketing campaign and use the data to inform future investments
Marketing remains a crucial investment for continued patient acquisition, safeguarding revenue streams, maintaining patient volume, and ensuring the long-term success of your clinic. Efficient campaigns will allow you to reach patients with news of newly offered services, engender loyalty and attract new patients. To make the most of your budget, it’s crucial that your marketing campaigns are efficient and effective.
Right now, maintaining visit volume is more important than ever and pocketbooks are stretched thin across the board. In our continued mission to provide the tools and resources needed to adapt in the wake of COVID-19 to convenient cares nationwide, Solv is sharing some tips and time-tested strategies for creating effective, efficient marketing campaigns.
Knowing how to define a target audience, develop relevant messaging, and place it accordingly comprise only one half of a well-implemented marketing strategy. Here are some ways to measure success and ensure your campaign is worth the investment.
Tracking Online Marketing
While measuring online marketing engagement is a little more complicated, it is just as necessary for measuring your success. You will need to invest in a web analytics service. The most widely adopted are Google and Adobe Analytics, but as our company is more familiar with the former, what follows is a rundown on a few of the most basic things you need to know.
UTMs are parameters added to the end of a URL allowing you to track campaigns, sources and other unique variables in your marketing efforts. Create campaign-specific UTMs and use the resulting URLs in your campaigns - in emails, paid ads, calls to action on your own website, redirected URLs and QR codes, and more. Engagement will then be trackable through your analytics service.
There are four UTM parameters relevant to the kind of marketing we’ve suggested.
- Source. UTM source will tell you where the user is coming from - a website click, a unique URL, etc.
- Campaign. UTM campaign is used to track the overarching topic of your campaign. Regardless of where a user is coming from, you will know they are interested in telemed, or a flu shot, etc.
- Medium. UTM medium is more customizable, but we suggest you use it to track the specific element on the page your new user interacted with.
- Content. UTM content can also be used to track a number of things. We use it to determine how specific variables in our campaigns are contributing to the interaction. For example, using UTM content, we can determine whether the word “appointment” or “visit” tracks better within a specific target audience, or whether the green button appeals more to a target audience than the blue one.
Below is an example of a URL tagged with all of the above UTMs. Each element allows easy tracking through Google Analytics or your chosen web analytics service.
Channel and Content Grouping
Within Google Analytics, you can sort by both channel and content. Channel groupings track groups of sources. This allows you to analyse site traffic and navigation grouped by where the users arrived from. Content grouping allows you to analyse site traffic grouped by landing page. You can create groups of pages on your website to achieve more general data - for instance, you can create a group of “location” or “blog” pages on your site to achieve a better analysis of site traffic and performance. In Google Analytics, per group, you can then gain insight into any number of trackable things - ranking in search engines, time on site, conversions, and more.
Google Analytics Events and Goals
Events and goals will provide you with highly detailed information about activity on your site.
Events are activities you designate on your site to be tracked. These can include:
- form completions, engagement with specific fields, or abandonment
- button clicks
- and more
Any highly specified activity performed on your site can be categorized as an event, allowing you to analyse anything from content preference, to site layout functionality, to blog read time. The possibilities are overwhelming.
Goals combine UTM codes and the completion of events. They allow you to answer complex questions about user activity, for example:
- Did users prefer the blue button or the yellow button?
- When arriving from our telemed campaign email, what percentage of the audience interacted with the page?
- What percentage completed the form?
While this creates an overwhelming number of trackable questions, don’t get too excited - choose a handful of meaningful goals to track rather than getting caught up in too many at once.
Tracking Offline Marketing
Beyond the basic “how did you hear about us” questions typically tacked on to intake forms, here are a few ways to measure the success of your offline marketing efforts.
Purchase a unique, campaign-specific URL and redirect it to a page on your site that tracks the source of the redirect using a UTM. Be sure the resulting landing page is campaign-specific and designed for the target audience initially identified for the campaign. It should also include an obvious, interactable call-to-action. The same result can be achieved using subdirectories within your existing site - simply append a page on your site with a custom, campaign-specific subdirectory, redirect the page and track via UTM.
If you’d like to get even more source data, create sub-directories within the purchased URL to track which of your physical marketing distributions initiated the interaction. For instance, designate the URL “flushotcampaign.com/school” for use on a flyer distributed exclusively through the local school district.
Read more about UTMs below.
Unique Phone Numbers
Purchase a few unique, trackable phone numbers. Assign these to different campaigns, or to different channels and sources within a campaign. When someone calls this number, you will be able to trace the source of the interaction and determine where they saw your number to establish metrics of successful ad placement. Be sure to compare the list of inbound numbers to historical patient data to determine whether the campaign is attracting new or returning patients.
To gather even more information, add a phone tree to this number. This allows you to learn anything from the intention of their call to their seniority at the clinic by simply asking the caller to press a few more numbers before reaching a staff member.
Promote your campaigns with specific redeemable offers. The possibilities for distribution are endless - a coupon, flyer, direct mailing, a newspaper ad, a QR code on a poster, park bench or shopping basket. Each visit stemming from a specific promotion will help ultimately determine which of your investments and placements is producing results.
Use the collected online and offline campaign engagement data to produce meaningful statistics that will ultimately determine whether your marketing efforts are resulting in patient acquisition.
Begin by using your collected data to calculate rates of conversion along the path the patient takes to arrive in your clinic. This path is referred to as a “marketing funnel.” Conversion is any action your audience takes along that funnel. This includes anything that causes an event - for example, a user clicks an email, navigates to a link or scans a QR code on a postcard.
Successful progress along the funnel indicates effective marketing. Each step along the funnel should be assigned a percentage of conversion and a percentage of attrition. This demonstrates which locations, mediums and content are proving successful. Your goal will be to maximize percentage conversion along each step of the funnel, ultimately resulting in the greatest acquisition rate. Evaluate the resulting statistics in light of your initial investment to calculate an ultimate return on investment.
To illustrate, say you sent out 1,000 postcards with a unique URL and QR code. Using Google Analytics, you find that of the 1,000 people who received it, 15 visited your website, 12 of them viewed your wait times, you gained six potential patients when 50% of them chose to book a service, but only 5 of them generated any revenue by showing up for their appointment.
Upon doing the math, you determine that your campaign resulted in a 0.5% acquisition rate. Seeing how the program cost you $750 to send, that means each of the 5 patients you acquired cost you $150. That's your acquisition cost.
To ultimately calculate return on investment, it’s important to look beyond the first appointment when comparing it against an ultimate acquisition cost. Simply running the numbers might tempt you to ditch the campaign - assuming your revenue per visit is in the $100-125 range, initially it appears to be a wash. But a patient’s total value is likely much higher, as they are much more likely to re-book with your clinic and are more amenable to future marketing.
Lifetime Value of a Patient
You will still need a number to determine whether the campaign was successful. Achieve this by calculating a lifetime patient value using average clinic statistics. Use your electronic medical records to calculate average patient visit revenue, visits per year, and patient lifetime.
From here, it’s simple math. For instance, with an average patient visit of $125, 2.5 visits a year, and an average patient lifetime of three years, you can approximate each acquired patient’s value at $937. A $150 cost of acquisition is then only 16% of your total revenue, a much more reasonable loss.
TIP: be sure to adjust your average patient value at least annually.
Measure, Adapt, Evolve
Monitoring campaign success ensures your campaign remains an efficient and effective investment. It can also reveal components to improve in your campaign, and inform decisions to adapt or abandon marketing efforts. Staying informed and continually adapting will increase acquisition rates and result in more successful future campaigns, allowing you to adapt to changing consumer demand and remain a step ahead of the competition.
Effective marketing ensures continued patient acquisition to safeguard revenue streams, maintain patient volume, and ensure the long-term success of your clinic. Don’t let your marketing efforts lapse in the face of a tight budget, and don’t forget to continuously monitor to ensure your campaigns are worth the investment.