Blog 4 Steps to Finding and Engaging With Your Perfect Patient By Ian Killen PT, DPT, 06.01.17 FacebookTwitterLinkedin When I started treating patients, I found certain types of patients (primarily youth athletes and patients with acute low back pain) boosted my energy. But, some patients drained my energy. Rather than try to force myself to be all things to all people, I started to understand that this wasn’t realistic – and that it’s important to admit this to yourself. I needed to find my niche. Who was the best patient for me? So, do you know who your perfect patient is? Does it align with your clinics unique services provided, where they live, or simply their goals? Understanding and defining this is important to your own happiness and the success of your practice. Who is your perfect patient? First, ask yourself these questions. Where do they like to shop? What activities are they involved with? Where do they live? What is their budget? What are their goals? Will your unique skills and services help them? It’s important to identify who you are looking for before you set out to market to them. It’s also important to understand that not everyone is a perfect patient for you. How does your perfect patient make decisions? Understanding that different types of patients make decisions differently will help you know where to find them and what will get them engaged. Let’s look at two different patients. Their decisions are made in many different ways. For example, an acute low back pain patient might be frantically looking for any way to relieve pain, and thus, make quick decisions. Youth athletes, on the other hand, are completely different and make very few decisions for themselves. Their parents generally make their healthcare decisions. So while your youth athletes may be your perfect patients, they are not the decision maker and your marketing tactics should reflect that. Looking for more information on identifying and engaging your ideal patient? Watch this on-demand webinar with industry leader, Jerry Durham, to learn how you can transform your customer experience.Watch Now Where do they go to get information? The most obvious answer to this is the Internet (which gives you even more reason to make sure your Google business listing is up to date). But where do they look? What keywords are they searching? Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for people to get their information from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. If you know this information you can more easily target your services to them and others like them. Have your front desk ask patients how they originally found your clinic. Log this information and then pull reports from your EMR to learn where the majority of your customers are coming from. Whether it’s Yelp, Facebook, yellow pages, or some other source, now you know where to focus your marketing efforts. How do you engage with your perfect patient? This is the most important step of all. The easiest way that I have discovered to engage with my potential patients is through Facebook advertising. It is one thing to have a business profile on Facebook, it is another to make Facebook work for you. My favorite thing about Facebook advertising is that I can see exactly who is seeing my ad and who is engaging with it. This way I can ensure my advertising is being targeted to the exact person I want to reach. I can pinpoint my message directly to a 40-year-old mother of two who is active in a youth sports league in my community. This is much better than a random billboard that you is targeted at no one in particular. Don’t know how to do this? Read this how to guide on using Facebook Advertising. There are other avenues that you can take such as Snapchat, which is more popular with teens and young adults, and Twitter. For me, I have found these to be less effective because my potential patients are not using these outlets as much (again, it’s important to understand where your ideal customer goes to find information). However, learning to expand your reach to multiple outlets provides more marketing channels to bring patients into the clinic. Lastly, more and more people are looking to YouTube for information. The most common intro phrase typed into YouTube is “how to” (fun fact, I recently learned how to re-wire an electric outlet by watching YouTube). A minute worth of video is said to be worth 1.8 million words, so incorporating it into your patient engagement plan provides you with a greater avenue to educate potential patients and prove that you are an expert in your field. Don’t forget to include your contact info and website link during a video so you can turn your viewers into patients and referral sources. Can you get your raving fans to share their experience? Your customer lifecycle starts with acquiring new patients and continues when they become raving fans who tell their friends and family about their experience. If you plan to ask your patients for more engagement and referrals, you need to be providing them with consistent engaging content relevant to your specialty and patients. Use videos, blogs, free tutorials, and seminars that you and your staff find interesting. Chances are if you find content engaging, your potential patients will as well. What tactics have you used in the past to find and engage potential patients? Let me know in the comments!