How to get more patients: Fix your funnel. Get more patients out of your advertising spend.

Recently, Breakthrough Co-Founder Chad Madden and Customer Success Manager Daniel Mina hosted a webinar on the biggest marketing mistakes made in private practice physical therapy and chiropractic clinics. And how to get more patients by fixing a leaky funnel. 

The majority of practice owners — although they often don’t know it — are losing money spent on marketing. Usually, the culprit is not the marketing tactics themselves. The mistake is in not setting up and maintaining an ineffective follow-up process on marketing leads. This mistake creates a leaky funnel. 

What is a Leaky Funnel?

A leaky funnel is the secret killer of new patient opportunities. In a perfect world, when you get a new patient inquiry (whether through online advertising, referral, your website, etc), someone follows up with that lead by phone within several minutes of the patient inquiry coming through. The person handling this could be your front desk or office manager. If they’re adhering to best practices, they have a good conversation with the individual and follow up as many times as necessary (up to seven times) until that lead comes in for an initial patient evaluation. It’s then your clinician’s job to sign them up for a plan of care. 

The marketing funnel is how a marketing leads becomes a paying patient in a physical therapy or chiropractic clinic.

But what happens when this process is not followed closely? You start to get leads falling through the cracks — your funnel becomes leaky. While a lot of practice owners *think* this process is working perfectly for them, they lack the visibility to know that something is wrong. They end up missing out on a lot of patient opportunities. For most, something is going wrong at some step of that process and this creates a leaky funnel. We frequently see practices that don’t realize they have a problem!

The fact is, most practices generate  leads that never get followed up on. Some leads get followed up with too late, and some aren’t followed up with enough times. Ultimately, an ineffective follow-up process produces numerous drop-offs amongst would-be patients. 

What’s the Impact of a Leaky Funnel?

By now, you probably get the message: A leaky funnel is incredibly common and most practice owners don’t know it’s a problem. You could be losing out on dozens of patients each month and not even realize it. 

If you have a leaky funnel, you’re wasting money and getting a lower return on investment (ROI) on your marketing spend. Plus, you hurt your own brand reputation by not following patient inquiries all the way through to a plan of care. Those leads may go elsewhere to your competitors. Worse yet, those would-be patients of yours never get treated and their problem gets worse until they need surgery, injections, or pharmaceuticals. For the sake of your practice and the community you serve, it’s important to be able to identify and fix a leaky funnel. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Leaky Funnel? 

As a practice owner, it may not be obvious that you have a leaky funnel. It’s unlikely you get into the weeds around tracking leads and their follow-up. Most practice owners have poor visibility into metrics around lead follow-up. They’re usually not involved in lead follow-up on a day-to-basis. And if your team is working out of spreadsheets, it’s near impossible to pull out  learnings from the data. 

There are warning signs you can watch for to help identify a leaky funnel. Here are the warning signs to watch for, and helpful tips for fixing your leaks:

  • If the front desk or marketer seems busy and has a very hard time keeping up, then make sure you have a clear process for following up on leads. 
  • Alternatively, it may seem like things are in control, but if there’s no accountability for those who are following up on leads – or if you don’t measure this – then follow-up can often be delayed or skipped completely.
  • Best practices are for your marketer to follow up on a lead within a few minutes of lead creation by giving them a call.
  • Many leads that could be patients never convert if you only call leads a couple of times before giving up. Inefficient processes like these result in a lower ROI on your marketing spend.

How to Get More Patients: Fix Your Funnel! 

Most practices miss out on potential new patients by thinking their funnel ends when an individual in need responds to an ad. But conversing with potential patients, giving them workshops or assessments, and reviewing the results are also crucial steps toward enrolling patients or members.

Poor calling practices reduce the number of appointments scheduled from a given number of leads. Poor follow-up processes reduce the share of scheduled appointments that are kept. Some owners think email blasts are enough, but email is for driving patient interactions – not for sending people to the homepage of your website for the first time. 

What Your Staff Needs to Know

  1. Follow-up conversations turn interested individuals into actual leads.

    Do confirmation calls within five minutes of signup. If at first you don’t succeed at connecting, keep trying! Seven attempts is the power number, so aim for that. After 7 failed tries, connection becomes very unlikely. But hit ‘em hard in the first few days following their signup, and be sure to use multiple channels – like text, phone, email – for best results.

  2. Never say “If…” on a follow-up call.

    From hundreds of hours of call tracking data, we’ve identified a key trend that does NOT perform well. Ending on “If” statements. What we’re talking about are statements like: “If you’d like to schedule an appointment, just let me know.” At the point that “If” statements are used, a lead has typically already inquired about your practice and demonstrated interest. So instead of saying “If you’d like to come in,” you can assume they want to schedule an appointment. 

  3. Have Patient-Centric Follow-up Calls.

    What should you train your staff to say instead of ‘If’ statements? After a short introduction, ask your potential patients questions about them and their pain. What’s their health concern? How long has it been going on? What have they tried for treatment? Patient-centric conversations turn leads into patients; talking about how great your practice is doesn’t. After plenty of discovery questions, your caller can ask, “Do you want to get that taken care of?” “When’s a good time to start the healing process? We have time on Monday at 11am or after 3pm, what time works for you?” 

  4. Use Initial Evaluations and Free Screenings as a Conversion Mechanism.

    The goal: to raise awareness and increase patient respect for the treatment plan. A killer exam begins by asking what their pain is stopping them from doing. Next, consider their history, including whether they’ve had PT before. Then test, treat, and re-test their issue. Help them understand the cause of the problem in lay language. Afterwards, formulate a treatment plan agreement, along with a financial plan and schedule for their treatment. Track who among your staff is best at converting new patients at this stage, so you can work to get your whole team to that level.

How Breakthrough Can Help 

Breakthrough offers a complete, all-in-one Patient Demand Platform that empowers practice owners and their staff to:

  1.  Attract patient leads through proven, top-performing marketing campaigns 
  2. Track leads through the funnel and easily identify stages of the funnel that need improvement. Plus, access hundreds of hours of training content to help your staff more effectively turn leads into patients.
  3. Gain visibility through measurement and intuitive dashboards.  Do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. 

A patient demand platform is the simple, repeatable way to consistently grow your practice by attracting leads, converting patients, and measuring success.

How would you like to have a team of experts audit and fix your funnel to fill up your practice?  

Request a free consultation today.  

 

How to get more patients with Google advertising and YouTube ads. Physical therapy marketing to get more patients. Chiropractic marketing strategies to get more patients.

Do Google and YouTube Ads Work for Attracting Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Patients?

Whether you’re a private practice physical therapist or a chiropractic clinic owner, you need to get more patients coming into your practice on a consistent basis. Consistency is the key. The alternative — busy periods followed by significant slow-downs — is simply not sustainable. Whether caused by seasonality, macroeconomic conditions, or changes in your marketing, this type of rollercoaster scenario makes financial planning for the future nearly impossible. 

Online advertising can help bring stability to your practice by increasing demand for your services in your community. Regardless of how marketing savvy you are or aren’t, you can get started with Google advertising and YouTube ads to reach people in your community who need your help. These platforms offer some of the most effective marketing plays available to you today.

Getting Started with Online Advertising 

Advertising can be overwhelming at the beginning and does require some management and upkeep. You can reach a massive audience with the click of a button, but it will burn money very quickly if you aren’t careful with your targeting. 

In this article, we will share do’s and don’ts of online advertising to help you get started. We’ll go over why you might choose one platform over another. Our focus will be on two of the biggest advertising platforms: Google Ads and YouTube. They’re both owned by Google, and they leverage respectively the largest and second largest search engine in the world. 

Hundreds of millions of people visit these websites every day, and among them, those who need your services. Thus, knowing when and how to use these platforms will give your practice a consistent patient flow. That way, you can focus on growing your business, rather than hunting for patients.

How to Choose Your Advertising Platforms

Picking the right advertising platform is a challenge in itself. Choices abound, and all of them offer powerful features that make reaching the right people a breeze. 

What you want from an advertising platform is:

  • People who need your service
  • Targeting option that lets you connect to these people
  • Reach them when they are interested in buying from you

The first step in choose where to allocate your marketing efforts is understanding who uses these platforms, and how

Let’s take Facebook for example. It is very likely that at least some of the people on it need your service, if not now in the future. But most of them are scrolling their feeds looking for entertainment. They will see various ads during their scrolling, but they probably aren’t looking for a solution to their problem while on Facebook. 

These people might notice your clinic’s ad, and even take a mental note of it, but the chances of them scheduling an appointment through a Facebook ad are lower than other platforms. Unless you are doing retargeting advertising on Facebook, this audience will likely be less familiar with physical therapy or chiropractic care. 

In contrast, someone conducting a Google Search for ‘chiropractic care near me’ indicates a much stronger awareness level and demonstrates higher intent to move forward with care. 

YouTube is similar to Facebook in that people use it primarily for entertainment. But it has advantages, such as being video-based. Videos tend to be more memorable than image or text. 

All three platforms can be effective tools for advertising your practice. To learn more about Facebook advertising, check out our earlier post on Facebook Marketing Strategies.  

Read on to learn more about how to get more patients advertising on Google and YouTube.

Why Advertise on Google?

Google is the world’s biggest website. With 45.41 billion monthly visits (November 2021), you can expect basically the entire population to use it. Between 90% and 95% of online searches are done through Google. 

But the wide reach isn’t the main reason we suggest using Google Ads. What makes this platform so valuable is how you can target keywords that highlight a specific intent. For example, when a user types in the search bar “physical therapist near me” you know that—most of the time—they are looking for a PT to visit them.

Compare this with TV or Facebook advertising. You’re interrupting people’s activity (enjoying a movie or scrolling through their feed) to market your service. People who see these ads most likely don’t need your services at the moment, so you won’t see much new business as a result.

Not to say that these advertising methods don’t work, because they do; they just achieve different goals. 

With Google Ads you can reach the people who are looking to buy, and present them the solution they need. 

Why Advertise on YouTube?

YouTube is a completely different beast. It’s the world’s 2nd most used search engine, with over 126 million unique users just in the United States. 

Advertising your clinic on YouTube offers a unique set of advantages over other platforms:

  • Videos are more memorable than text or images
  • It’s cost-effective
  • People can see who is actually going to take care of them
  • People can get a feel for the experience they’ll get in your clinic

Advertising on YouTube is also more challenging than on other platforms. Good videos are harder to produce, but this is an advantage if you think about it. How many other clinics are willing to invest into video production? You have way lower competition on YouTube.

Common Advertising Mistakes 

Creating performing ad campaigns is a mix of art and science. It’s also quite complicated when you’re a beginner, but even beginners can start seeing results by knowing common pitfalls of online advertising.

The most common advertising mistake we see happen over and over is a lack of direction. We’ve seen clinics set campaigns that target everyone, and therefore they ended up targeting nobody. 

You need to know exactly who your ideal customer is, and how to best reach them. When you’re creating a campaign, do it with a specific target in mind. Targeting everyone will exponentially increase your costs and make you miss on a lot of clients. 

The second most common mistake we see is making the ads all about you/your service. People don’t really care about you or your clinic. They have a problem and want it solved as quickly as possible. Writing patient-centric copy is crucial to get people interested in your service. If you’re doing video ads, then start with a strong hook, don’t try to sell your service immediately.

Last, we see people who don’t test new ads regularly, or who give up too early. Your first few ads will most likely perform poorly, you need real world data to adjust your messaging and see what resonates with your patients. 

This might seem complicated at first, but creating an advertising campaign that gets you sales is easier than you think.  

How to Get More Patients: Online Advertising Best Practices

If you want to build a campaign that will grow your practice, you need to follow a few simple steps:

  • Spend a lot of time on keyword research: Keyword research is the most important step in creating online campaigns. Put yourself in your patients’ shoes. What would someone with their issues search on Google/YouTube? And of those searches, which ones are likely to bring you a sale? For example, if someone types “why does my back hurt” they’re most likely looking for exercises, not for a physical therapist. If, instead, they type “who can fix back pain” they’re way more likely to click on your ad.

 

  • Use geo-targeting: A person who lives far away from you is unlikely to come to your clinic. Keep the advertising targeted around you. Also think of what issue you’re dealing with. Someone with knee pain would rather get to the closest physician possible, and someone with shoulder pain would most likely avoid driving. 
  • Set up a sales funnel: Ads are only a small part of the customer journey. You can’t rely on them entirely. Make sure you have a system that takes people from not knowing you to becoming a loyal customer of yours. Your ads should get people to your clinic, and once they’re there, get them into an email/texting funnel. Another thing to consider is retargeting: not everyone who clicks on your ad will buy immediately, but if you keep poking at them, eventually they will. 
  • Tailor your messages for your ideal customers: You can’t please everyone. When you write your copy or video script, make sure it’s custom-made for your ideal customers. Don’t use generic ads like “We’re the best clinic in [location]”. Think about your customers: what do they need help with? Always create your ads with your ideal customer in mind.
  • If you follow all of these steps, you’ll create a strong marketing campaign that will bring in leads. But you must be careful, as Google’s ad guidelines are way more stringent when it comes to healthcare.

How to Avoid Setbacks and Ad Rejections

Google has a strict set of regulations regarding healthcare advertising. And every ad that doesn’t follow these regulations gets rejected, losing you money and visibility. 

Before publishing an ad, make sure it follows these guidelines. The main things to keep in mind are:

  • You aren’t allowed to hint at knowing the user has a certain medical condition, as it’s private data. Even if Google knows it, it can’t use it to target these people. Avoid asking things like “Hate your [condition]? Here’s how to treat it”.
  • You can’t promise results. Even if you are 100% certain your treatment will solve the user’s pain, you aren’t allowed to say it. You can say you’ll help them with managing pain, or with alleviating the symptoms, but 
  • Do not, under any circumstance, mention chronic medical conditions. Words like diabetes or cancer should never ever appear in your ads.

An important thing to note is that Google, unlike Facebook/Instagram, also scans your landing page (where users end up when they click your ad) in your ad’s evaluation. This applies to everything in your landing page, including testimonials. So, make sure your landing page also follows these guidelines.

How to Turn Advertising Leads Into More Patients

Once the right people have interacted with your ad online, they’ll schedule an appointment with your clinic. This is where your staff’s qualities have a chance to shine. People will get to your clinic, and interact with your front-office and doctors. 

You want your physicians to be top-notch and care for their patients. If a patient feels like they’ve received great treatment, they’ll gladly come back. They’ll also tell their relatives and friends about you. 

Want to create a constant patient flow through online advertising? Request a demo today to harness the power of online advertising and marketing automation.