Healthcare marketing is not always easy to navigate. Patient decision factors range from locational convenience, to hours and availability, all the way to personalized "concierge" treatment. In this highly competitive, continually evolving industry, any insight and understanding into patient behavior (both potential and repeat) is nothing but beneficial to a practice's success.
When patients are conducting healthcare research, they will use a variety of mediums when deciding on which destination suits their needs the best. These resources are located online (i.e., websites, review forums, social networks, etc.), as well as within the community (i.e., referrals, personal/peer perceptions, practice locations, etc.). Based on your marketing presence, your brand can, and should, be present in some form in both physical and digital awareness. So, with this broad spectrum of mediums and an array of patient needs, how can you tie value into your marketing presence? It all starts with a simple phone call.
Let's take some time to look at some call-tracking strategies that can help you better understand your audience and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.
As mentioned above, your practice's patients find you via a variety of mediums. With this in mind, it is important to be present where your patients are. It becomes difficult to track engagement, especially as your marketing coverage gets broader. A simple way to tie it all together is assigning unique numbers to each of your marketing mediums (or even each type of marketing material). When patients receive direct mail, view your Facebook page or even arrive on your website, they should have resources that get them in contact with you directly.
Providing phone numbers unique to each medium (or material) will distinguish where and how your audience is deciding to take their next steps to become patients. As campaigns and marketing efforts spend more time on specific platforms or in communities, preference trends should begin to emerge that will help inform ongoing marketing efforts and expose your most successful mediums.
Closely tied to tracking by source, your website and digital advertisements should have click-to-call tracking monitored. This can even work with traditional advertisements if you offer unique destination URLs to marketing recipients who opt to visit the website before calling, passing the unique number through to the website based on the URL entered in the search bar. The more comprehensive your marketing influence to call conversion lifecycle can be, the more specific your ongoing efforts can become.
If your practice goal is to earn more new patients, it is important to understand who actually calls most often. By segmenting new and repeat callers into two separate types of call conversions, you can begin to see which group is more prone to call. Focusing specifically on new patients, this tracking effort can be modified to even direct calls to specific members of your staff. If you have a team that is better equipped to talk about the practice with an inviting and informative brand voice, it could be better suited to handle these first-time calls. Your repeat callers could be directed to more familiar employees/staff members who have typically required information more readily available and are more efficient at navigating patient data.
By tracking call frequency, your practice should start to be able to identify how many calls it takes to become a patient. By keeping track of how many times an individual calls before stopping by the clinic, this should be reflected in your marketing campaigns, making sure you remain top of mind in the appropriate format until potential patients reach that point of decision.
Call whispers are a great internal tool that help those operating the call lines have a better idea of who is calling them before the conversation even begins. These whispers can inform the call-taker on information about the caller, such as call source, providing context to the content that convinced them to call. Keywords that the patient used to find the number can also be provided to inform the call-taker about the intent of the call. No personal information is passed through whispers, but the high-level information can provide a more personal touch to the phone call.
Your customer-relationship management (CRM) software should be your data flagship. Customer information helps inform your communication with patients, so it only makes sense to have communication inform your customer data. This does require more advanced programming, API development or technical integrations, but synchronizing the call data to your data warehouse can help close the gap further on the call-to-visit lifecycle, as well as improve your communications with patients based on previous interactions.
The basic perception of phones has certainly changed in the last 10 years, and we'll only continue to see the use and dependance of these devices increase as they become more and more integral to our day-to-day lives. It should go without saying that connecting the dots between the tool, which most people spend a majority of their time on, to your marketing efforts is an easy win (and really not that difficult). So, the next time the phone rings in your office, don't wonder where it came from or how they found you—use your call tracking data to help propel your practice and improve your patient experience.