Can healthcare marketing increase patient numbers?

How do you get your sales curve going up in your practice? It’s an important question, right?

Well, you need to look at the different parts of your marketing and sales process and think of it as a funnel. If you think about something that looks like a funnel, the people that are at the top of the funnel are the people that are the least likely to take an action.

Those are the people that we call leads. And then you need to move those leads through the funnel, through every stage of your process, down to the bottom of the funnel, where you pop somebody out as a patient.

So what would you like to do is call these the five steps to grow your practice. Every clinic needs or could benefit from looking at their clinic in this way. You will have an understanding of the metrics that drive your clinic and you really get an idea of where it is that you’re leaving money on the table.

Why getting more leads might not be what you NEED

A lot of clinics come to us looking for more leads, and that’s a really natural place to start.

You’re saying, “Well, my phone’s not ringing,” or, “I’m not really getting a lot out of my website.” So nothing’s happening here, so how do I kind of get that shaking?

But when you come to us and we look at that together, we realize, you are getting a sufficient number of leads that could generate enough business for your practice.

But what’s happening is, at the next level down, when you try to convert those leads to take the next step, a lot of them are falling through the cracks so the next level is a convert stage. You’re looking at converting somebody who’s coming from a lead stage and converting them into an appointment stage.

Why converting leads may be more important to you than getting more leads

So the convert stage is an area where you can really focus on growing your number of consultations and really increase your revenue in your practice.

Now, once you pop somebody down to the consultation phase, that stage is what happens at a consultation that allows somebody to take the next step to become a patient. That is a crucial stage in your practice as well, it’s often under-utilized, and you can really bump somebody from maybe 40% of the time of saying yes to becoming a patient. By increasing the customer service, you can have 60% to 80% saying yes to becoming a patient.

So, healthcare marketing can really drive up your numbers in this area.

How pricing can help you significantly increase your profits

The next stage is pricing. You can have many people coming through a lot of leads, a lot of conversions, and a lot of consultations. But if you’re not charging enough money at the end of the day, you might be just breaking even. And that’s not a good place to be as a clinic either. So, pricing is another key, key area where you might just bump up that price by 50, 100, 200 per eye. And all of a sudden, you’re starting to make a lot more profit in the practice.

Focusing on referrals to increase the value of every patient

And then finally, referrals. You can start to look at your referral rate and look at how many people are being produced off the back of every single patient that you generate.

So, the better your customer experience, the higher that number is going to be, and the more people you drive back up into the top of the funnel, making you a very cost-effective lead.

So healthcare marketing, when it’s looked at systemically and strategically, works very well.

Oftentimes, that’s not the case and you’ll find that you have a broken funnel and you’ve got fishes who you’re attracting to the top of your net at the top of the funnel, but you’ve got these little holes, all throughout your pipeline, your funnel, and they’re escaping, and you’re leaving money on the table.

So definitely take a look at your clinic through that lens of a funnel and see where you can fill in those holes and make sure you’re getting people coming all the way through the funnel and becoming happy patients.

Do you have leaky funnel syndrome? These are some symptoms and signs…

So, what we’re describing here is a really bad case of leaky funnel syndrome, right?

So you’ve probably heard of leaky gut syndrome? Well, it’s the same thing in your clinic, it’s leaky funnel syndrome.

So here’s what, let us describe this for you so that you can see where you can plug up these holes and actually cure this syndrome.

So, what you’re doing here is you’re putting a bunch of leads into the top of the funnel and how do they fall out of the funnel, right? How do they leak out?

Well, perhaps you haven’t put in proper calls to action on your website, your buttons aren’t there, you’re not giving people any value in exchange for clicking that button. Perhaps they aren’t seeing it or you’re not showing it enough or perhaps you’re not giving people an opportunity to do something that is a little bit lower investment than making a phone call or booking an online consult.

Perhaps you’re not offering them a lead magnet. Or perhaps people aren’t ready to come in and see you and want to make another type of investment, like say, for example, do an online consultation, or a virtual. Or perhaps they want to do a webinar.

So there are numerous things that can create leaks in the funnel at the top of the lead stage, where you’re losing leads that you otherwise could have converted down into the funnel.

You can also lose a lot of leads through the leaky funnel syndrome out of the phone calls.

So let’s say, for example, you’re not engaging your customers. You’re actually just answering questions instead of asking them. Or perhaps when somebody says, “How much is it?” You just basically tell them the price and then they hang up. These are all symptoms of leaky funnel syndrome, and you can address all these symptoms.

You can actually plug these leaks by having good training and having good people answer your phone who know how to do this properly.

Where else can you plug the leaks?

Well, you have another leak area in the consultation and the first appointment. So, you potentially could be losing patients there.

Maybe you’re late all the time. Maybe you’re not welcoming patients sufficiently well enough. Maybe you’re not engaging them emotionally sufficiently, or maybe you’re failing to close. Maybe you’re not asking for the order or you can’t overcome any objections.

So, that’s another way that people fall out of the funnel. More and more leaks.

Then finally, perhaps in your pricing, perhaps you’re not offering financing, you’re not offering a means of getting involved with just perhaps a deposit or perhaps you’re not able to sufficiently provide clarity about your price or justification for why you charge what you charge. So that’s another way that people could fall out of the funnel.

So you can see all these little different holes that people can fall out of. You’re doing the best you can, but you have all these holes that are creating a lot of damage in the body of your clinic because they’re all leaking out.

Finally, you have a whole bunch of happy patients out there who could potentially grow your practice through their ratings, reviews, and referrals, but you’re not asking any of them to do anything.

So you have hundreds of patients out there who would be more than happy to sing your praises, but they’re leaking out of the bucket because you’re not asking them, you’re not giving them opportunities, and you’re not rewarding them by thanking them for their reviews and ratings and referrals.

So loads and loads and loads of symptoms to leaky funnel syndrome. And you want to cure that quick because sometimes just plugging those holes is going to tremendously impact the health of your marketing and sales funnel.

How emotional sensitivity can help treat your leaky funnel syndrome

And one of the holes that you want to keep in your mind, and we’ve got a lot of resources on our blog about this, is emotionality.

Now, we’ve mentioned emotionality in the sales process, having emotion in the marketing process is the antidote to

  • checking boxes,
  • going through the motions,
  • acting as though it’s an exercise,
  • being too polite,
  • being too reserved,

These are some of the rookie mistakes we see with people who first start refractive marketing from outside the field.

So if you’ve got a team that’s maybe coming from other industries, they tend to treat healthcare marketing with a bit of a kid-glove system. So they sort of think, “Well, this is different.” We can’t use emotions in marketing this.

And the reality is that is the only way you’re going to really breakthrough and start to see your marketing system generate and start to take off and generate leads for you is by getting rid of the barriers and speaking directly to somebody’s heart and addressing the emotional concerns that they’re bringing to the table.

So we would say, does healthcare marketing work?

Yes. If it’s done with a system and if it’s done with true attention to the emotions of the avatar that you’re most wanting to reach.

(NOTE: Want to see how your practice marketing measures up against the best in class? Take this 5-minute quiz to see how you stack up in the 9 areas of practice marketing and get specific tips and advice on how you can improve your weak points and better leverage your strengths).

About the author


LiveseySolar’s mission is to double the size of 150 cataract and refractive surgery practices. Using our proven marketing frameworks and deep market knowledge, our customers can predictably and sustainably grow their practices so that they can enjoy a healthy balance between both worlds – a successful private practice and a happy life.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to double their sales, triple their profits, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK