10 Signs You’re Attracting the Wrong Patients

data and consulting physical therapy Apr 07, 2024
10 Signs You’re Attracting the Wrong Patients for Physical Therapists

Anyone who has spent time fishing knows the feeling of reeling in a whopper, only to discover it’s a tiny fish you’re legally obligated to throw back. Disappointing, right? 

The same can be true for patient marketing. You might be attracting patients, but are they the right ones for your practice?  After all, time spent attracting and treating patients who aren’t a good fit is time and resources wasted. 

Here are 10 signs you might be attracting the wrong kind of patients, and what you can do to reel in the right ones:

1. High Patient Dropout Rates: Patients leaving before completing treatment is a surefire sign something isn't quite right. It could be a mismatch between their needs and the services you offer. For example, if you specialize in sports medicine but find yourself treating a lot of patients with chronic back pain, it suggests your marketing might be reaching an audience seeking pain management rather than sports injury rehab.

Solution: Track your patient dropout rates and analyze the reasons behind them. Conduct exit interviews to understand why patients leave and use that information to refine your marketing message and target audience.

2. Struggling to Attract New Patients: If your marketing efforts are like crickets chirping in a soundproof room, it might not be reaching the right audience. Potential patients won't come knocking if they don't know you exist or if your services don't address their specific needs.

Solution: Diversify your marketing strategy. Don't rely solely on online ads. Consider attending local health fairs, partnering with gyms or athletic clubs, or sponsoring community sporting events.

3. Few or Negative Online Reviews: Patient feedback is like gold. It tells you what you're doing well and where you can improve. Few or negative online reviews suggest a need to improve the patient experience.

Solution: Encourage patients to leave reviews! Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Thank happy patients and address the concerns of those who had a negative experience. Show potential patients that you take feedback seriously and strive to continuously improve.

4. Low Patient Satisfaction Scores: Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are a metric used to gauge patient loyalty. Low scores suggest you need to improve the care you provide. Maybe it's long wait times, impersonal interactions, or a lack of communication.

Solution: Track your NPS scores and identify areas for improvement. Conduct patient satisfaction surveys to understand what aspects of your practice are falling short. Focus on building strong relationships with your patients, addressing their concerns promptly, and exceeding their expectations.

5. Subpar Patient Outcomes: Patient outcomes are more than just completing a treatment plan. It's about achieving lasting results and improving their quality of life. Track treatment results and identify areas where you can improve. Weak outcomes suggest a need to refine your treatment approach.

Solution: Invest in continuing education for yourself and your staff. Stay up-to-date on the latest treatment methods and technologies. Analyze your patient data to identify trends and adjust your treatment plans accordingly.

6. High Staff Turnover: Happy staff lead to happy patients. High turnover disrupts patient care and can indicate problems within the practice that impact both staff and patients.

Solution: Prioritize staff well-being. Offer competitive compensation and benefits, foster a positive work environment, and provide opportunities for professional growth. Engaged and happy staff are more likely to stay with your practice, leading to better continuity of care and a more positive patient experience.

7. Limited Patient Outreach: Don't just wait for patients to come to you. Get out in the community and connect with potential patients where they are.

Solution: Consider volunteering at health fairs or senior centers. Offer free educational workshops on topics relevant to your area of expertise. Partner with local businesses that cater to your ideal patient demographic.

8. Sole Reliance on Digital Marketing: While digital marketing is undeniably important, a well-rounded strategy should also include traditional methods like print media and referral marketing.

Solution: Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that utilizes a variety of channels. Don't neglect the power of letters or promote yourself in community magazines. Build strong relationships with referring physicians and other healthcare providers in your area.

9. No Ideal Patient Profile: Before marketing your practice, you need to understand your ideal patient. What are their needs, habits, and preferred information sources? Are they weekend warriors with sports injuries, or do you specialize in treating geriatric patients with mobility issues?

Solution: Create a detailed patient persona that outlines the demographics, goals, and challenges of your ideal patient. This will help you tailor your marketing message and choose the most effective marketing channels to reach them.

10. No Local SEO Strategy: Most healthcare searches begin online, and if your practice doesn't rank well in local search results (like Google My Business listings), you're missing out on a huge pool of potential patients. Someone searching for “physical therapy near me” won’t find you if your practice isn't optimized for local searches.

Solution: Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing. Ensure your practice name, address, and phone number are consistent across all online directories. Include relevant keywords and positive patient reviews on your website. Partner with a local SEO agency if needed to help you develop a comprehensive local search strategy.

By avoiding these pitfalls and implementing the suggested solutions, you can develop a marketing strategy that attracts the right kind of patients, keeps them engaged throughout their treatment journey, and helps your practice thrive. 

Remember, the key is to understand your ideal patient and tailor your approach to resonate with their specific needs and preferences. The right patients will appreciate your expertise, value the care you provide, and become loyal advocates for your practice.

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