Top Low-Cost Patient Acquisition & Marketing Strategies

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Blakely Roth | April 24, 2024

Physicians want fully booked schedules. Yet, with fierce competition in the healthcare industry and rising marketing and staffing costs — practices are struggling to increase patient acquisition at lower costs. 

Here are top-of-the-funnel patient acquisition and marketing strategies you can use to fill provider schedules, without breaking your bank! 

1. Patient Acquisition: How to See More Patients Every Day

No matter how much you invest in patient acquisition and marketing, it will be difficult to increase new patient volume without a simple way to convert interested consumers into booked patients. Online, 24/7 patient scheduling is key to increasing booking around the clock  without increasing staffing workloads (or costs!) 

See how the patient scheduling options you provide impact your ability to increase patient volumes.

Where you could be losing patients: Without an online scheduling platform, patients looking after hours have few options, they can call the next day, look elsewhere or decide they’re feeling well enough to postpone the booking altogether. Patients with pressing last-minute healthcare needs only have two options, call your practice or look elsewhere. In both scenarios, your practice will inevitably lose prospective and existing patients.  

How self-scheduling impacts acquisition: Shifting patient demands will further amplify your acquisition challenges, considering 82% of patients prefer a provider who offers online scheduling and 61% of patients have skipped doctor appointments altogether due to challenges associated with scheduling, including being directed to call to book. With most patients prioritizing online scheduling and the existing challenges around phone bookings, prospective and once-loyal patients will likely not want to call into your practice or wait on hold. Instead, they will find another provider who lets them book appointments with a few simple clicks. 

Therefore, the convenience of online scheduling is now imperative to accelerating patient acquisition and filling last-minute appointment slots, and that’s without added marketing costs! Online patient scheduling software can also help you book patients around-the-clock and reduce your annual missed revenue from abandoned bookings! 

Proven patient acquisition results: Practices with an online self-scheduling platform have increased new patients by 51%. Additionally, they’ve seen 45% of online bookings take place after hours, while 34% happen at the last minute. As a result, these high-growth practices are automatically filling more scheduling gaps, reducing staff work and seeing more patients every month, without even having to spend a dollar on marketing in the first place. 

What’s the hold up? Despite patient demands to make booking an appointment as easy as booking a flight, and the proven patient acquisition results, providers have been hesitant to implement online patient self-scheduling.  We’ve outlined why providers are concerned with patient self-scheduling and debunked their common misconceptions. Download the guide to see what the top 5 misconceptions are and how you can get your providers on board with this key patient acquisition tool. 

2. Free & Cost-Effective Marketing: How to Amplify Your Acquisition Efforts

Low-cost, high-impact marketing efforts can help you boost patient acquisition, without straining your budget. By combining a few cost-effective strategies, you can increase awareness for your practice and exceed your patient acquisition goals! Here are a few proven, free and low-cost tactics practices are using to see more patients than ever before.

  • Promote Premium Services via Self-Registration: Forward-thinking practices are using patient self-registration solutions to increase patient interest in premium services. Instead of spending ad dollars, or in addition to it, you may be able to capture interest in premium services from your existing patient base as well. Review the steps practices are using to successfully increase patient interest, bookings and revenue.  
  • Add Booking Links to Your Website: Add a “Schedule Now” button with a bright brand, color separate from the primary color, onto your website. Adding an easy-to-find scheduling option helps patients navigate to your online booking page, so they don’t get lost on your website and abandon their booking. Pro Tip: ensure the scheduling button stays present on a user’s screen regardless if a patient is scrolling or not. 
  • Avoid Passwords & Portals: Since “Easy of Access” is a top factor for 90% of patients when choosing a healthcare provider, any barriers to your scheduling process will negatively impact your patient acquisition and retention strategy. Ensure new and existing patients can book online, without having to create or use a password. 
  • Use Your Scheduling Page Strategically: Ensure all promotional ads and links go directly to this page to make it quick and easy for patients to follow through on their desire to schedule an appointment. Create website copy that provides additional explanation of what appointments and locations are available to schedule. Add a phone number at the bottom of the page for anyone who needs assistance, be careful not to have your phone number competing with your scheduling now link, or you may not see call volume drop at your expected rate. 
  • Leverage Google My Business (GMB): Since 97% of consumers search local businesses online, it’s essential for your practice to be on GMB. Not only will it help patients know where you are located, but it will also drive them to schedule an appointment with your practice, increasing your patient acquisition rates. To start, set up a Google account (using a business email). Search “Google My Business” or go to “www.google.com/business/” and click the “manage now” button. From there you can locate your practice name or address and start managing your digital presence. Use this free platform to improve your online presence and share information about the healthcare services you provide. Be sure to include a scheduling link on your GMB profile to streamline the appointment process for prospective patients. 
  • Engage on Social Media: Balance free social media posts with targeted paid advertisements to reach a broader audience without overspending. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are great platforms to target new patients and build awareness for online scheduling, premium services or other promotions you’re running. Posting on social media can also keep your practice top-of-mind for existing patients, who may need to book their next follow-up appointment. Bring in more patients, both new and existing, by updating your profile and sharing posts that drive patients to your scheduling page on a regular basis. 
  • Communicate with Existing Patients: Use email and text messages to encourage current patients to book their next appointments or explore additional services. Email and text communication meet your patients where they are, sending important messages to the devices they use every day. Use personable and tailored patient communications to build awareness for your online scheduling tool and even target specific patients to encourage bookings for premium services, expanding your patient lifetime value! 

Ready to Boost Patient Acquisition Without High Marketing Costs?

Embracing an online scheduling system is pivotal to increasing patient acquisition, without the high marketing costs. This approach not only caters to the modern patient’s expectations for convenience and accessibility but also positions your practice for sustainable growth. By implementing these low-cost marketing strategies and leveraging the power of online patient scheduling software, you can significantly enhance your patient acquisition rates while maintaining profitability. 

Leverage Clearwave Scheduling to put your patient acquisition on autopilot, ensuring your practice’s success in the competitive healthcare landscape. 

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