The Web is a wonderful thing. It puts a wealth of information at consumers’ fingertips, introduces you to potential patients from around the world and can prompt them to contact your practice via phone or e-mail.
But there’s one thing the Web can’t do and that’s convert those people — “leads” in marketing parlance — into patients. As this infographic from MyMedLeads.com suggests, that final, crucial step is up to you and your staff:
Unfortunately, too many doctors consider an Internet lead “pre-qualified.” They assume that since the person reached out, they must already have made their final decision. The reality is that, in most cases, making an initial contact is only a sign of potential interest and rarely an indicator of actual intent.
The problem is compounded because Internet leads have an exceedingly short shelf life. Thanks to Wi-Fi and other high-speed networks, today’s online consumers expect near-instantaneous responses. And while it’s unfair to expect a busy doctor to respond to every inquiry immediately, it’s impossible to ignore the consequences of responding slowly or not at all.
After all, more likely than not those potential patients are also reaching out to other doctors and if you’re not responding to them, there’s a good chance someone else is.
1. Be quick about it
Examining data collected over three years, MyMedLeads found that the average practice took nine hours to respond to a form inquiry. Those that responded via phone within one hour, however, boosted their conversion rates by 31%; those that did so within 12 minutes, by 65%. Even if you can’t respond that fast, someone on your staff should make contact, thank the inquirer for their interest and determine how they can help.
2. Be persistent but not pesky
At RealSelf, one of the biggest complaints among community members is that doctors don’t respond to their inquiries. In fact, according to MyMedLeads, 29% of leads never get a single call back, a shocking statistic when you realize that practices that followed up at least three times had conversion rates that were 45% higher than those that only called once. The key is to be available — can we provide more information, schedule a visit, etc.? — not overbearing.
3. Be prepared for the long haul
Not everybody who contacts your practice is ready to take the plunge but that doesn’t mean they’ve given up altogether. Aesthetic consumers often take months or years to make a decision about procedures and providers so it’s worth maintaining contact via the occasional email, newsletter or event invitation. That way, when they’re ready, you’ll be ready for them.