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14 healthcare lead generation strategies that work

Alia Paavola
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Even if you have a loyal patient base, acquiring new patients is crucial to growing your medical or dental practice. This is where implementing proven healthcare lead generation strategies can help.

Healthcare lead generation is getting prospective patients interested in your medical services. It also involves the ultimate goal of converting them into paying patients. Lead generation strategies help build visibility, credibility, and interest from these prospective patients. When done well, your practice will see higher revenue in return.‍

Specifically, a study found that having solid lead generation strategies in place means more revenue. Specifically, some companies see up to 174 percent more revenue than their competitors.

Graphic of 174% more revenue
Companies see up to 174% more revenue when
solid lead generation strategies are in place.

And, without proper strategies in place, many prospective patients may simply pass up your practice and head to a competitor. Don't lose out on prospective patients and revenue. Instead, consider using one of our proven healthcare lead generation strategies.

14 healthcare lead generation strategies 

1. Make it easy for prospective patients to contact you

The best way to make it easy for prospective patients to contact you is by offering them many ways to reach out. This includes offering email, phone, text messaging, and form fills. Make sure this contact information is clear and easy to access wherever you have an online presence. This means having it on your website, review pages, and social media profiles.

Having a clear “contact us now” call to action on your online platforms is one great practice for making this step easy. A CTA is a prompt that encourages users to take a specific action when viewing your ad, website, or other promotional material. Most call-to-action copy is a request like “Buy Now” or “Contact Us Today.”  ‍When designing your website or online profiles, it is important to have a clear call to action. This encourages prospective patients to do something. Without a clear action step that fits user intent, it may be both the first and last time a person considers your healthcare practice.

Having clear CTAs will increase the click-through rate of your website and promotional materials. It will also direct potential patients to the action that is the best fit for them. Meaning that they will have an action to take whether they are first learning of your practice or ready to book a service.  

Here are a few examples of CTAs:

  • Contact Us Today
  • Schedule an Appointment 
  • Verify Your Insurance
  • Learn More About Our Services
  • Meet Our Physicians
  • Start With a Consultation 
  • Subscribe to Our Newsletter
  • Access Our Blog
  • See Our Free Symptom Checker
  • Try Our Free Cost Estimator

2. Respond to leads quickly

If a prospective patient fills out a lead capture form, you want to follow up with them quickly. That's because they are likely reaching out to multiple providers at the same time. Quickly responding to inbound leads increases the likelihood that they will choose your practice. It also sets the tone for the entire patient interaction.

A Harvard Business Review study found that your chances of qualifying inbound leads are 60 times higher if you respond to them within one hour.

Texting is an effective channel that your team can use to follow up with leads because it is quick, convenient, and personal. The average text response time is 90 seconds, making it a great rapid back-and-forth communication tool.

Here’s an example of a text you could use to follow up with a patient that filled out a lead form:

A text example of lead follow up
How a practice could follow up with a patient via text.

To see more sales follow-up text message templates you can use, click here

3. Use multiple forms of communication to follow up with leads

Generating a lead is just the starting point. You will also need to follow up with each lead to qualify them and build trust. Specifically, you want to understand how likely they are to become a paying patient. Plus, you'll want to help them understand why they should choose your practice.

Research suggests that only 2 percent of sales happen during the first point of contact with a lead. This shows the importance of having multiple touchpoints.

One best practice is to use multiple communication channels when following up and nurturing a lead. This will allow you to close more deals, meet customers where they are, and communicate using their preferred channel.

One strategy to help turn a lead into a paying patient is to use a combination of communication channels at first. For example, you could text a new lead to understand more about what they are looking for in a provider. Then schedule a time to speak with them about insurance over the phone. And then send them an email with a few physician profiles to look over.

The important thing to keep in mind is that all customers have a preferred method of communication. Whichever channel they respond to is likely the best one to continue using in your interactions.One important communication method we believe should be implemented is SMS. In fact, a study found that including SMS at some point in the sales process resulted in 47.7 percent more leads converting into customers.

To learn more about creating a streamlined communication strategy, read our blog. It is an omnichannel communication guide.

4. Build and manage your online presence 

Although healthcare is largely a face-to-face industry, the search for the right provider begins online. In fact, over 60 percent of consumers run a search before scheduling an appointment with a provider. As a result, it is imperative to establish an online presence.

It is a good practice to create a personal website, as well as business accounts on social media and review pages like Yelp, ZocDoc, and Google.

Creating an online presence on these mediums can help you build trust and create a positive first impression. Plus, it shows you are a modern healthcare provider that cares about your online reputation.

When it comes to adding a presence on social media, consider where prospective patients may be. For example, Facebook Groups are a popular place for patients to discuss medical conditions. While Instagram is a great place to showcase your practice’s culture or share a patient testimonial (with their consent, of course.)

One health system that leverages Instagram to showcase its credibility is St. Luke’s University Health Network. It is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The organization showcases relevant awards, raises awareness about certain conditions, and shares team updates.

Here’s an example of a recent post:

St. Luke's Instagram post announcing it was recognized as a top U.S. cardiology hospital.
St. Luke's Instagram post announcing it was named a top cardiovascular hospital in the U.S.

When it comes to managing your online presence, one best practice is to respond to negative patient reviews. You must do this in a HIPAA-compliant manner.  Doing this can make a big difference to the patient who left the review and prospective patients reading the review.

One study found that 45 percent of customers were more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews. Another study found 89 percent of consumers read businesses' responses to reviews.

Responding to a review shows prospective patients that you care and want to remedy any bad experience. There are a few things to keep in mind while responding to negative reviews:

  • Respond promptly 
  • Thank them for their feedback
  • Show empathy
  • Don’t share any personal health information
  • Take the conversation private
  • Keep it short
  • Remain calm

Here’s an example of a way you could respond to a negative review without exposing patient information:

“Thank you for your feedback. We’re sorry to hear that you had a negative experience at our practice. We strive to provide exceptional patient care and we’d love the opportunity to learn more and remedy this situation. We are committed to fixing this for future patients as well. Please call us at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or email us at”

5. Encourage patients to leave online reviews 

Patient reviews are one of the most effective ways to attract new leads and convince patients to choose you or your practice. In fact, 75 percent of Americans read online patient reviews before scheduling a medical appointment.

As a result, one major way to increase qualified leads is to encourage your existing and satisfied patients to leave reviews. Some of the common places you can ask patients to leave reviews are:

The best way to boost reviews is simply asking patients. You can ask a patient to leave a review in person, over the phone, or ask them post-visit via text. To learn more about best practices for asking customers to leave reviews via text, read our blog here.

6. Use paid search and other digital advertisements 

In most cases, a patient’s quest for a new provider begins with a question or a simple Google search. The search may be something like what are the top primary care physicians near me or who is the best cardiologist downtown? It could also be, which local dentists take Guardian insurance?

Since many patients turn to Google first, a strong paid search advertising strategy is a great way to boost visibility. This will encourage visitors to your site and boost inbound leads. Additionally, it allows you to easily scale up or down your lead volume based on your clinic’s capacity and budget.

With Google Ads, you choose targeted keywords and bid on them, based on the amount of money you want to spend per click. You should choose specific words or phrases that patients search for. It could also be search terms related to your medical practice, your physicians, or the services offered.

When a prospective patient conducts the search that contains your keywords, and you win the bid, your ad will appear on the first Google page. This greatly increases the potential of attracting new leads. ‍Until your medical or dental practice implements these campaigns on Google Ads, your competitors may win this traffic.

For example, a customer who searches for “primary care physician near me” in San Diego would see the following results. They would be more likely to click on one of the top four results than continue scrolling to the second page of Google.

A paid search result for "primary care physician" in San Diego.
Example of what a paid local search would look like to a patient.

In addition to using paid search, another great lead generation strategy is to use paid ads on social platforms. To get started with a paid social campaign, the first step is to understand where your prospective patients hang out. Do they frequent Facebook, Instagram, or other social platforms?

One benefit of social ads is that you can push a tailored message to a very specific audience. Facebook has a lookalike audience feature that can put your ads in front of the right prospective customers. It allows you to get ads to patients with similar behaviors and characteristics to your existing patient population.

Additionally, as part of your paid social media strategy, ensure that you are retargeting to amplify your reach. This will help you reengage potential leads. In other words, if someone clicked on your ad and went to your website, but never took action, you can make sure the ad is pushed to them again. Retargeted ads are important because they have a 10x better click-through rate than regular display ads.

7. Leverage SEO 

Another way your medical practice can boost visibility online is by using search engine optimization. This will allow you to better rank on search engines and boost the traffic you generate to your website organically.

While paid ads are great to boost visibility on search engines, SEO is a great way to lessen reliance on these paid ads. It also allows you to bring in traffic to your website from the searches patients conduct each and every day. Plus, being on the first page of Google greatly increases your reach as the first five organic results account for 67.6 percent of all clicks.‍

Overall, strong content planning, a user-friendly website, and high-quality content help you win with SEO.

8. Post high-quality, accessible content

Prospective patients search online to find answers to their pressing health questions. In fact, Google receives more than 1 billion health questions each day. As a result, one way to boost healthcare leads is by posting high-quality content that helps answer patient questions.

Regularly publishing high-quality content will let you become a trusted advisor on health topics. Plus, it will nudge patients to choose your practice for elective procedures and will increase traffic to your website. These together allow you to attract more leads.

One integrated healthcare system that has a great content strategy is Cleveland Clinic. The health system regularly publishes content on its blog for current and prospective patients. There is a wide range of high-quality content. The blog has tips to set boundaries in relationships and eight common reasons for dehydration. It also includes how to decide if a birth-control cleanse is right for you.

Cleveland Clinic's blog
A screenshot of Cleveland Clinic's blog.

In addition to posting high-quality, easily accessible content, consider creating gated content. This content can be accessed in exchange for submitting some form of contact information.

For example, offering a downloadable checklist or detailed guide in exchange for a patient’s email may be a good place to start.

Parsley Health, a medical clinic in West Hollywood, Calif., uses gated content to get email addresses.

Parsley Health's gated content
A screenshot of Parsley Health's gated content.

9. Offer patients a free tool

One great way to get more leads is to offer prospective patients a free online tool. This tool not only boosts initial lead capture, but it can also make prospective patients more committed and likely to use your practice. Some free tools are symptom checkers, health insurance verification, or price estimators.

For example, Dntl Bar, a dental clinic based in New York, lets patients verify if their insurance is accepted by using an insurance checker. The tool allows patients to quickly see if the organization accepts their insurance. It then directs patients to book an appointment if the insurance is accepted or consider a first-time patient discount if it is not accepted.

Dntl Bar's insurance checker.
An example of Dntl Bar's insurance checker.

Additionally, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, offers patients a free online symptom checker. The symptom checker allows patients to dig deeper into why they are experiencing a specific symptom and view possible causes. Mayo Clinic then recommends the next steps. Some steps include scheduling an appointment with a primary care provider within a week or heading to a local urgent care center. This free tool increases the visitors to the site, establishes them as a credible source, and may turn more website visitors into leads.

Mayo Clinic's symptom checker
An example of Mayo Clinic's symptom checker.

Another free tool that allows patients to make more informed decisions is a cost estimator. Several studies in recent years prove that patients want to know how much they are on the hook for when it comes to medical services. One survey found 75 percent of patients are looking up the cost of medical procedures online before heading to the doctor.

Here’s an example of a price estimator from Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, Calif.

Stanford Health Care's cost estimator
An example of Stanford Health Care's price estimator.

10. Send out local mailers

Healthcare is very local. As a result, another great way to boost awareness of your practice and generate more leads is to send residents in your service area direct mail.

Research from the Association of National Advertisers found that direct mail had significant returns. In particular, in 2021 advertisers saw an average ROI of 112 percent.

Mailers can come in many different forms. This includes magnets with your contact information to simple postcards or even heavy packages. These will help potential customers learn about your brand and generate more leads.

It is important to include your contact information, service type, and call to action in your mailer to generate the best ROI.

Here’s an example of a postcard mailer from Immediate Care of Oklahoma.

A postcard mailer from Immediate Care of Oklahoma
An example of a postcard mailer from Immediate Care of Oklahoma.

11. Sponsor local schools or sports teams

Another strategy to boost leads is to sponsor local schools, sports teams, or events in your service area. For example, a pediatrician or children’s dental practice could sponsor a grade school select soccer league or a local tournament.

Sponsoring local sports teams can help you get your practice name out there. That way the next time a patient or parent of a patient is looking for a particular medical service, they may think of you first. Additionally, it fosters goodwill and builds community trust. This is important in a trust-reliant business like healthcare.

A real-world example is from Orthopedic Spine Centers of the Rockies. The company supports several local sporting teams and programs, including a local bicycle racing team. The practice also offers St. Vrain Valley student-athletes a free clinic twice a week to help them manage injuries.

12. Network with local stakeholders in your area

Building an engaged community will help you grow your practice and generate new leads.

One way to build an engaged community is by networking with leaders in your service area. This can include hosting lunches, cocktail parties, or other meet-and-greets with community advocates. You should look to connect with key stakeholders, including new physicians and local business leaders.

Building trust with physicians in your community is a great practice as well, as it may lead to more patients being referred to you or your practice. According to data from Medscape, less than 10 percent of doctors refer to physicians they don’t know. Rather, “physicians refer to others in their local area who they know either personally or by reputation,” Dr. Eli Adashi, a professor with Brown University, told U.S. News & World Report.

As a result, consider getting to know doctors in your area to build your reputation. That way the next time a patient needs a particular service the physician will consider referring them to you and vice versa.

13. Nurture contacts through email marketing

Using email marketing is a great strategy to help generate leads and turn more interested patients into paying ones.

An email marketing campaign may start with offering a free download in exchange for an email address. From there, your practice could send that prospective patient a welcome message via email. From there, you'd want to nurture them with a series of emails that showcase your medical practice. The goal of the campaign is to turn these leads into paying customers.

In addition to using email to start a conversation, you can also use it to stay in touch with a lead or existing customers. This allows you to stay top-of-mind and reach patients when they are ready to book an appointment.

14. Host or participate in webinars 

Hosting or participating in educational webinars is a great way to boost leads to your practice. Prospective patients can sign up for the webinar, typically using an email, to learn more about a particular medical issue.

Hosting a webinar can help you establish authority, stand out from competitors and build rapport with the audience that tuned in. ‍

For example, Dr. Nicholas Westfall of Urological Associates of Western Colorado hosted a webinar in July. It was about signs, symptoms, and treatment options for benign prostatic hyperplasia and erectile dysfunction.

Webinar invite from Urological Associates of Western Colorado
A webinar invite from Dr. Nicholas Westfall.

The bottom line

Generating leads is a crucial step in growing any medical practice. The more prospects you attract, the more leads you will produce, and the more paying patients you will have. If you are looking to get new patients, consider implementing a few of the strategies on our list. And, if you’re interested in learning about how business texting can improve your medical practice, read our blog here.

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