How much does it cost to acquire a new functional medicine client? It can be as little as 0.51 cents to $240.00 depending on the service.
What does it take to have a successful marketing campaign? It takes planning, training your team, knowing what outcome you are looking to achieve, and a digital presence.
Do not miss these highlights:
02:49 Why is it so important to understand what it costs to bring a client into your practice?
04:37 Lifelong clients provide the best value to your practice - How to keep them?
11:01 Avoid driving your ads for the client to fill out a form, drive them to call your office instead. You don't need to have a built-in scheduling link.
12:39 How to make cancellation or no show rate extremely low.
14:19 The importance of tracking your financial data as well as tracking your clinical data.
16:55 Another way of tracking your progress is through what's called a CRM.
18:33 The first milestone that you want to try to accomplish is a 3% conversion rate and then grow from there.
20:26 Don't just run ads and think it's enough - You need to provide a lot of value to the channels and make a connection with a person.
22:16 In your ads, social posts, and YouTube videos use normal everyday language or in layman's terms - Speak to them in a way that describes what and how they're feeling in their language.
24:19 Reviews are incredibly important - Get a video testimonial or a video review whenever you possibly can.
25:34 When you drive people to your practice via a phone call, the person answering the phone needs to be the one that can answer the questions and schedule the appointment.
29:53 It's important to rank organically in the search engine - The higher you rank, the lower the cost of conversion to bring a client in.
Join Us in the FMBI Mastermind Group on Facebook. You can find the Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/5461914567153276/
Transcript for Episode #30:
You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and Practice Management. Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and he's eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry. Because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice with practical tools of how to manage money, taxes and patient care, she will discuss it all with you.
Welcome back to Functional MBI Podcast. Today I want to talk about client acquisition for functional medicine practitioners. Today's show is about the cost of acquisition. Now don't go running away just yet. It's not boring and even if you're a small business, this would work for you. Every business needs to know what it costs them to acquire a client. For most medical marketing services, the cost per client will fluctuate between $8 and $106 to get a new client into your practice, this is really a broad range. And I can tell you that this range can change even more. I've obtained clients in my practice for as little as 51 cents. Yes, you heard me right 51 cents. Now, we're not talking about how much you pay per click but how many times does someone have to land on your website, social page, or watch your video before they pick up the phone and call your office to schedule an appointment and actually show up for that appointment. We're talking about what the average cost to convert someone into scheduling an appointment, not just showing up on your website.
This is crucial to every small business. But especially crucial to anyone in the Functional Medicine world. You should have a plan to measure what acquiring a client means to your business. And it's a booked client, it's a client that actually shows up. So if you don't have a plan in mind, I want you to hop over to another episode I did with Zora Chase and she talks all about tracking your business success with marketing.
So, why is it so important to understand what it costs to bring a client in to your practice? Well, first off, you can't afford to spend $234 for a patient lead for a general visit for just a general physical or a meet and greet, you would lose money with that client. But if you have a high ticket service, such as a procedure that costs $4,000, that would make sense then to pay $234 to obtain that client, because the cost of acquiring that client is much less than the cost of the procedure for the clinic. So the first thing you want to do is set a budget or a limit of how much you want to spend to obtain a client for each service in your office. Now for some people, it's 10%. For some people, it's less than that the best way to get clients into your practice might be for a general visit. And then you could upsell them in the office on other high ticket services. I like this method because I can acquire a client for a lot less money. But yet I can have that client do other services in my practice that are more expensive. Now certainly if the client doesn't need that expensive procedure, you're not going to recommend it to them. But either way, it's a win because you obtained a client for a lot less money. And now it's your job to make sure that you hang on to that client for years and years to come. So that your return on investment compounds over the longevity of that client being your patient or being your client.
Now, lifelong clients provide the best value to your practice because you pay for them once and they come back over and over again. So in order to have a lifelong client, you need to make that client happy. You need to treat them well. And you need to make them feel like they're special. Now these Have the clients that you really want in your practice, and you really want to take care of them. Because these are your clients that are going to share your information with others. This is known as word of mouth marketing. And it's the best advertising you can ask for. It's like a walking testimonial. So you want to treat these clients really well, and reward them for bringing clients to you. Now, some providers are stingy about rewarding these clients. But I would tell you, don't be that way, go out of your way to reward these clients for bringing you new clients, because you obtained that client for free, basically. But you would not have obtained that client, if you didn't make this first patient happy with your service. So there's lots of ways that you can reward them, you can give them a discount on other services that you offer in your practice supplements or ancillary services that they don't typically do. You could buy them a gift card for someplace that they really like, I encourage people to keep the business in house, give them a discount on something they don't currently do with you, because they may love it and if they love it, you've just gotten another new client in your practice for a different service. And since this client loved you so much before and told people about you, they're going to tell people about this service as well. So make sure you really treat these clients well.
Now, when you look at the cost per click, that may be between 50 cents, or sometimes as much as $200. But the average is two to $2 to $14. Depending on the type of ad that you're running in your industry. If there's competition, what keywords are you trying to rank for. And if it's a call only ad or a text ad, sometimes those ads can get a little bit more pricey. Now, if you market something that doesn't have a lot of competition, but it's something people are looking for, you can get even lower costs per click. Now remember, a cost per click is not the acquisition of a client, the cost per click is death just that somebody clicked on your website. Whether or not they decided to proceed with you or not, is sometimes unknown. It should be trackable, and you want it to be trackable. If your agency that you're working for doesn't know how to track that, or they're not tracking, where people go on your website, how long they stay, what do they look at, you're missing out on a lot of great marketing information that could help you dial in your marketing and save you a ton of money and actually bring you clients that you want to work with that need your service. So the average conversion rate is generally between 2.4 and 7.6%. Google's average is 1%. Click through rate and 1% conversion rate. So when you start seeing averages like this, increasing, that's where you know, you're starting to speak the language of your client. And until this happens, you need to continue to adjust your ads each month until you dial that ad in properly and have it reached these benchmarks or even more. The last thing you want to do is run an ad for six months before you find out it isn't working and you've wasted 1000s of dollars in ads. This is where working with a good marketing team comes in super handy. You want your team to show you the numbers every single month. You want to compare those numbers to the number of clients you've seen in your practice. Have you seen more people or less people? Have you gotten more calls or less calls. This is the information you need to make sure your marketing campaigns are actually working for you.
In a medical practice, sometimes it's hard to actually attract new clients or more visits, because we don't have a robust CMR like other industries do. If there isn't a direct link from your ad to your clinic, phone or to your text. This is where it can get choppy and sometimes information and data gets lost. If you run an ad that attaches a specific phone number that comes into your office, this is called call tracking. Then you can see exactly where people are calling from which ad is performing better. If you have multiple practices, which location is drawing more business from that ad compared to another and this allows you to tweak your ads and dial them in so that each location or each facility that you are part of or even each service that you're marketing is actually doing what you want it to do.
You can also have a scheduling link that's direct into your ad. And the prospective client can schedule themselves. Many of you know about this, you can do this with professional things as well. If I want to meet with someone, they'll attach their calendar link to an email or to a LinkedIn post or a social post. And I can just schedule my time the way I want to. Now for me, I think it's a little bit risky doing that in a medical practice, because you don't know what the client's issues are. And they may not get enough time scheduled. And if you're like us, and you offer other services that you want your clients to do before they see you as a new patient, a lot of that gets lost, and it becomes more general and not personal. And I love to personalize the the experience that my clients get in the office. One thing that I don't recommend is that you drive your ads for the client to fill out a form, drive them to call your office instead. Because once somebody gets them on the phone, they can explain everything to them. A lot of people are uncomfortable giving their information in a form these days, and you're not going to capture the true essence of what's going on with that client in a form. It's kind of impersonal.
Now, you don't have to have a built in scheduling link. I don't I don't do that in my ads for the very reason that I just shared with you. But for high end services, we will use tracking phone numbers. Now I know you're asking yourself, why wouldn't you do this scheduling link? Well, it's like I just said, because we have to talk our patients through a lot of processes that happen in our office before they become a new patient. We like them to get a thermography we'd like them to get biofeedback. We'd like them to send their records to us if possible. And sometimes there's other things that we'll ask them to do before they come and see us as that new patient. This can take a lot of time and explanation on my staffs part to do this for the patient. And that's why we don't choose to have an active scheduling link in our ads, but phone numbers or text messages, absolutely. Emails, absolutely. That way we can capture that information and get the client everything that they need, before they see us for that first visit.
I think it's very social. And because we spend a lot of time talking to people on the phone before they schedule that appointment, our cancellation or no show rate is extremely low. Because we've explained everything the patient is going to experience on that first day on the phone before they schedule that appointment, they know exactly what they're going to get. And we want to make sure that they understand what's expected of them. And they understand what is expected of us what we're going to deliver to them. So this is really important for you, if you have a practice, that is treating chronic illness or is not just a one and done service, or not just something that you're going to hop on a sales strategy call with somebody, you need to have people that command your phones and talk to these clients and explain everything that's going to happen for them on that first visit.
Now, if you have a practice where it's just one or two services, and there's nothing extra that a client has to do before that first visit, maybe your first visit is really just gathering information to see if they're a good fit for your practice. Or maybe it's a free strategy call, that's completely different, then I would definitely put that calendar link in your ads so that you can fill up your calendar, and you can start screening clients and finding out if they're a good fit for you. And if you're a good fit for them. Now, even though we don't track some of this data in a calendar link, or sometimes a phone call, we track all of our clinic numbers. You've heard me talk about this before on shows where I think it's super important to track your financial data, as well as tracking your clinical data. So I've tracked all of this data for about 12 years. I know exactly how many new patients we've seen month to month, year to year and quarter to quarter for the last 12 years. I know how many follow up patients we've had. I know how many telehealth people we'd have. I know how much each one of my providers has bought into the practice individually, month to month, quarterly and annually. I love this data. And so do my marketing people. It helps them be able to see our history and see exactly how we're growing. And if what they're doing is growing our practice and raising our return on investment, because if it's not, then having a marketing team that can't bring you revenue is not a marketing team that's worth having. Because it's just a cost of doing business then. But it's not an investment in your business that drives traffic to you and brings client to you, which ultimately helps your bottom line.
The other thing I love to look at with this tracking data is slow times and busier times, every practice is going to have a time of year that's a little bit slower for them. For us, it's February, and then it's typically June, right when the kids get out of school, the rest of our months are really pretty consistent. Except for when I have practitioners that take time off. Now a lot of people like to take time off the exact same month of the exact same year. So that makes it easy for me to see that data. But if all of a sudden one of my practitioners decides to go to a special conference, or they want to take a different vacation, or maybe they take a longer vacation than they did last year, that's gonna skew your data. But I can account for all of that change in my tracking method. So I know exactly why my number shifted during a particular month. And I can easily see that it had nothing to do with the marketing, as it had more to do with not having providers available in my practice during a particular time. This is very useful information for you. Otherwise, you could get panicked about what's happening to your practice. So I encourage all of you to track your numbers. If you need a tracking device, you can go over to www.functionalmbi.com and download our tracking and our tracking measures for free.
Now, another way of tracking your progress is through what's called a CRM. This is a software program. An email system is similar to this, but it tracks your clients open rates and emails, and it tracks the leads from your ads. Now in a CRM, ultimately, all of your data would be in one place. So you could see email progress, ad campaigns, progress leads everything. In a medical practice, sometimes it's a little difficult to do that. But it is doable. And there are systems that work. Now, if you are automated, in your practice, where you have an EHR, or an EMR (Electronic Health Record, or an Electronic Medical Record) some of this record keeping is done for you already inside of your EHR. Unfortunately, what I've found with EHRs, and EMRs, is they have not built in anything for marketing. It's only for health care purposes. And I have spoken to so many of them, asking them and requesting them to build a CMR portion into the electronic health record. So we could track things and we could have data to make better business decisions. But for some reason, they're not interested. So if any of you know somebody who could build this into a CRM, or their EHR, please share this information with them. Because it's desperately needed in the medical field for us to build up to a business entity, and really be able to track our business the way other companies track their businesses.
Now, your first milestone that you want to try to accomplish is a 3% conversion rate, and then grow from there. You can grow beyond on this. And you can do this with top placement ads or paid advertising. When you do this, you really have to focus on a campaign strategy. Now you've all seen the top placement ads that I'm talking about. When you google search something, it's the first list that comes up and it says 'ad' next to it. That means somebody's putting money towards that, so that it gets to the top of the search engine, so that you see it. And you'll click on that before you'll click on anything else. That's organic traffic. Now, your marketing team will need to have everything in sync for a campaign strategy like this, ads, social media, email strategy, everything should be planned in advance, and everything should be consistent across the board with it. When you work with this type of strategy, it can be a little more expensive. So you really need to know the return on your investment or your ROI for the services, you're marketing. And you want to save this kind of campaign strategy for your more costly services in your practice. You don't necessarily want to run a big campaign strategy like this, just to get a general physical or just to get a sports physical, because it's too costly to run these kinds of ads for that type of return on investment. You always want to identify your goals before you run the campaign. What are you looking to accomplish? Is it revenue? Or is it number of new clients? Is it short term clients? Or is it long term clients? These are really important things. Because depending on what you want the outcome to be is how your marketing people are going to set your campaign strategy. They're different for different things.
When you're providing non-elective or alternative, and I just mean the word "different" when I say alternative than traditional services in medicine, you want to plan for this. You need to use AdWords, Bing, social media, social search engine optimization, or SEO, Metro listings, get your ad placement at the top of the search. This is really where it's important to have a presence on every single social channel. And in doing this, you need to provide a lot of value to these channels. Don't just run ads and think it's enough. Because it isn't. Information can be found everywhere. These days. It's the internet, your knowledge is not secret, it's everywhere. What you're trying to do on these channels is make a connection with a person, you want them to relate to you and say I think this person really understands me, and might be able to help me. Anyone can Google what tests to run for a thyroid function? Or how do I fix my leaky gut? What they can't do is the art of what we do in medicine. And that's putting all the pieces together in someone's history, and determining if this is actually their problem? Or is it something else? Or do you need to do one thing before you do the next thing? So that's why I say, Don't hoard your knowledge, share your knowledge, educate people, educated clients are better clients, they want to change they want to do what you want them to do. And sharing your knowledge makes you an expert in your field. And an expert in your field is who everybody wants to work with.
When people search for answers, they're using normal everyday language, layman's terms, not medical terms, people, please, we speak a foreign language to them. So in your ads, your social posts, your YouTube videos, you need to speak to them in a way that describes what and how they're feeling in their language in their knowledge base. This is not where you show them how smart you are, or how big of terms you know how to use and words. This isn't where we show off that we have a PhD or a doctorate in something. This is where you show them that you're like them, and you understand who they are, and what their concerns are. The better you get at explaining things at their level, the more successful you'll actually be. By being on these channels, you're creating brand awareness, so everything should be aligned. If you do a social post, and a YouTube video, or a video on your website, you should have the same similar video on YouTube or rumble. Everything should be consistent in your brand, your font, your colors, your language, your dress attire, keep it as simple as possible, and keep everything the same. So over time, people will recognize your brand and want to hear what you have to say. They may not remember your name, but they'll remember your look and feel. If you're always changing colors and design, it confuses people, and they don't know if they can trust you. And they don't know who you are until you start talking more. But that means you have to get them to click on your video or click on your post. It's so much simpler if they see brand recognition with you. Because when they see that they know you'll have something important to say. And then they'll click on that.
Reviews are incredibly important. You should try to get a video testimonial or a video review. Whenever you possibly can. Ask your best clients to shoot a video about their experience with you in your office. You should write the script for them and let them fill in the blanks. I would even have a teleprompter app on your phone where you can put in the script. They can fill in the blanks, and they can read from the teleprompter because so many people are nervous about giving a video testimonial. They're afraid that they're going to goof up they're afraid they're not going to do a good job. This way, everything is right in front of them. And they don't have to worry about what they need to say, or how they should say it. If possible, you want to try to get professional videos done to post on your website. But on your social media, it's kind of nice to have videos that are taken on the spot. Because people know they weren't planned that way. They weren't staged, they're real. And they're the clients you see all the time. When you drive people to your practice via a phone call, the person answering the phone needs to be the one that can answer the questions and schedule the appointment. This is crucial, because if you're sending them to someone who can't answer a question or isn't allowed to schedule the appointment, you're wasting everyone's time and money. Not to mention, it's a bad first impression. To this possible client and others, your receptionist is the face of your business. This is the first impression your new client has about you, and your business. And let me tell you, it can make or break your business. I have had bad receptionists from a time or two in my practice. And my Office clients told me that if they didn't like me so much, they wouldn't come back. I knew at that moment, I needed to fix my front office before I lost clients. And you need to heed the warnings of what your clients tell you because they're not afraid to tell you what works and what doesn't work in your practice. But you need to be open to listening to them, especially if you keep hearing the same message over and over and over again from multiple people. Because if you don't fix the problem, eventually, that client will leave your practice and go to someone else who has better control over their business and delivers better service. When you run a call campaign have enough people to available to answer the phone. If clients have to wait more than a minute for someone to answer the phone, they'll hang up. And they might not call back. Sometimes you get lucky. And they'll just keep calling. But that is rare unless they really need your service. If you have people fill out a form, you should follow up with a phone call, preferably within 24 hours, at the very least send an automated email to the client letting them know that you've received their form. And you're distributing it to the appropriate person who can help them and that person will call them back within the next 24 hours. People have a short attention span these days. And they're used to getting information and answers immediately. The idea here is to prevent them from going somewhere else where they can get a response immediately. So training your staff on marketing is key. If you know what the funnel is supposed to do, but you don't tell your staff, your marketing efforts are going to fail. They need to know what the outcome is for the funnel as well. We're trying to generate revenue with this funnel, or we're trying to book free sales calls. We're trying to increase our new patients in the practice. Your team needs to know what the objective is. So they know how to handle the client. If the goal is to bring in more revenue, but they're just booking new client appointments, that can bring in revenue at though at the long game. But at the short game, it may not work for you.
Teach your team exactly what you want them to say how to answer the questions when someone comes through the funnel. even do an example call with them. Show them the ad so that they know what it is. That is said in the ad that's attracting the clients, then they'll be able to weed out the clients that wouldn't be a good fit for you, as well as bringing you the clients that are a perfect fit. This way, it doesn't waste anyone's time, money or effort. You don't want to high call volume with little conversion calls. Don't bring money into the office. If you can't book them and get them to show up. You've just wasted time, money and energy. So think of your front desk as your salespeople. They're selling you they're selling the practice to these potential clients. And if they're good at it, you have lots of patients. If they're not so good at it, you'll be sitting around without clients wondering what's going on.
Now it's important to rank organically in the search engine. This is a longer game, but played well. It can cost you less in the future to obtain a client. You want your site ranking in the maps organically, you want a higher rank organically, so more people trust you. You want to rank organically. For your name procedures, you offer specialties that you're known for. The higher you rank, the lower the cost of conversion to bring a client in ranking organically for what people are searching for is done by SEO, (Search Engine Optimization). And you need to plan this well. And be cautious when you update your website. Don't let someone remove all your keywords that you're ranking for over the last several years. And it's easy for people to say they can rank you higher. But if it's not for what you need, or provide as a service, it's not worth it. You want to have someone that understands your business looking for the key words that are important to you. Many of these search engine optimization companies are going to ask you for a list of keywords, you may not know what they are. because unless you're looking for those services, you don't know how they're ranking. So you might have to do a little research on the backside as well before you can give this information to people. And I would encourage you to make sure you're having regular communication and meetings with your team that's doing keyword search optimization for you so they understand exactly what it is you do, how you do it and what you want to be known for. Otherwise, it's a waste for you.
Stand out to your clients send a birthday gift or given discount for their birthday month. If you know there's a life changing event in someone's life like a graduation, or anniversary, a marriage a birth or a death in the family. Send a little handwritten note or card, send flowers. This shows you care more about them and their life than just their business. Do a giveaway in your office for the most referrals that you get from somebody in one to two months time. Offer a discount on ancillary services in your off in your office as a reward for sharing the most social posts. These are great ways to engage your clients and get them to be part of your family. And keep them in your practice for their lifetime and your lifetime. Because it's more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to keep an existing client. The 10% off that you give somebody on a birthday gift is minimal to what the value is that they bring to you in a lifetime. So start looking at your practice differently. Start looking at where you can add these little tips and tricks into your practice to build a foundation to keep longevity in your practice and to start growing your practice with SEO, Google ads, pay per click social media or a big campaign that can really grow your practice in the short term and the long term. I hope this has been helpful. If you need any other business advice, please hop over to Functional MBI. Check us out. We have lots of information and tools for you and happy to help with anything that you need to grow your integrative functional medicine practice.
Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others. post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. To catch all the latest from me. You can follow me on Facebook at FMBI, join our free group where we support one another and share our struggles. Thanks again and I'll see you next time.