Referrals and Repeat Customers: The Other Side of the Healthcare Sales Funnel

Healthcare marketing always faces unique challenges, and now more so than ever, as we face a recession due to a pandemic and related crises.

There’s a silver lining, though. You can continue to grow your healthcare business, and your existing clients can help. By expanding your sales funnel into a sales hourglass, your customers can continue to stabilize your business and see you through the ups and downs.

Here’s how you can make it happen.

Make Customers Aware

Customers need to know you’re there, especially when life gets difficult and the future looks uncertain. Keep yourself and your business in front of them by taking steps to raise brand awareness, including:

  • Advertising: Get the word out with paid search advertising through platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and more.
  • SEO: Optimize your paid search and organic search campaigns with keywords your current, loyal customers actually use.
  • Calling or Emailing: Call people or drop them an email to check in. Let them know you’re available to help and there to serve during this challenging time.
  • Direct Mail: You’d be surprised how effective a card, letter, or handwritten note can be when it comes to keeping business going. Just be sure to add personal touches, and keep your tone clear and sincere.
  • Video: It’s reassuring to see someone’s face and hear their voice. Video offers a way to do that readily without overspending, overstretching your resources, or posing a safety risk.

Keep Customers Engaged

Brand awareness is only the first phase of building out your sales hourglass. Your engagement is critical to engage your customers, and you can take steps to increase rates of engagement by making the most of your existing marketing channels.

  • Opt-ins: Use simple opt-in forms to capture email addresses so you can share special offers, news, and other happenings via email newsletters.
  • Social: Keep social channels up and running and continue posting content regularly. As always, interact with people who like, comment on, and share your social media posts.
  • Cookies and Retargeting: Use cookies and retargeting to tailor the online customer experience for each visitor.
  • Appointments and Offers: Stay available for appointments (even if they have to be by phone or video for a while). If there are some enthusiastic “hand-raisers” who jump on board for these meaningful conversations, let them know you value their time with an offer.

Keep Customers Active

Taking action means making purchases. But your work doesn’t end when someone makes a repeat purchase. Be sure you have workflows in place that get you valuable insights about your customers:

  • Track purchase activity for every customer in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
  • Thank every customer for every purchase or service, every time.
  • Provide strategic opportunities for them to write a review.

Retain Customers

Leads cost a lot of money to generate out of whole cloth. But when you nurture leads in a way that means greater customer retention, your marketing ROI improves. Doing that means making efforts to build trust and uphold integrity:

  • Do Good Work: Doing what you do, and doing it well, is always the best way to keep your customers and make them loyal advocates for your brand and your team.
  • Don’t Be A Stranger: Find ways to check in and maintain a “human element.” This is always a great way to build trust, but especially when times are tough.

Offer Customers Additional Services

It’s important not to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your expectations of your customers. They want to grow and scale their business, too. Can you do that by offering them additional services? Guide that conversation with some core values:

  • Empathy: Be empathetic toward their evolving challenges and offer solutions to rising and changing needs.
  • Vision: During your check-ins and meetings, ask what is new and upcoming for your clients and customers. Help them envision growth and success, and offer ways you can help them get there.

Ask Customers for Referrals

When you do your work to the highest standards, your customers become advocates for your business. They could be a great referral source for you, which could be critical to stabilizing your business during an otherwise unstable time. Need some ideas? The HealthcareSEM team has some tips:

  • Ask for referrals as part of your email marketing.
  • Add “refer a friend” content to your landing pages.
  • Add value for people who refer new customers with finder’s fees or other special offers.
  • Send a thank you gift for referrals: gift cards, plants or flowers, or their favorite treat. Get creative!

One thing is clear, if you’re dedicated and driven to be there for your customers and clients, they’ll help you turn your sales funnel into an hourglass as you continue to grow and evolve your businesses together, no matter what comes your way.

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